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The Gringo Trail: A Darkly Comic Road Trip Through South America [Kindle Edition]

Mark Mann
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £9.99
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Book Description

‘… there I was in the middle of Bogotá, coked up to my eyeballs, in a hallway holding two machetes, while some drunk Colombians argued about whether or not to blow up a bar with a live hand grenade…’

Asia has the hippie trail. South America has the gringo trail. Mark Mann and his girlfriend Melissa set off to explore the ancient monuments, mountains and rainforests of South America. But for their friend Mark, South America meant only one thing: drugs.

Sad, funny and shocking, The Gringo Trail is an On the Road for the Lonely Planet generation – a darkly comic road-trip and a revealing journey through South America’s turbulent history.

Drama and discovery. Culture and cocaine. Fact is stranger than fiction…

Product Description


'... not for the faint hearted... an uncompromising account of
drugs on the road... a tumultuous trip through... South America'
-- St Christopher's Inn youth hostel website

'An entertaining and informative read.' -- Cambrian News, March 27 2008

It's a terrifically raw account, refusing to glamourise the trip... [captures] the essence of backpacking so perfectly. -- Andrew Lawless, Three Monkeys Online

St Christopher's Inn youth hostel website

'... not for the faint hearted... an uncompromising account of
drugs on the road... a tumultuous trip through... South America'

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 511 KB
  • Print Length: 338 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B001PBJ7RU
  • Publisher: Summersdale Publishers Ltd; 3 edition (27 Aug. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00413QMTU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #91,234 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bit of a let down. 2 Nov. 2010
After reading the rave reviews, I had high hopes - especially as I have previously spent time in South America. I felt sure it would be gripping. However, I found the book to be weird, and wondered why the characters were trekking around hostels and taking drugs as they neared their 30s. Didn't have the care free tone a book about travelling and all the experiences that come with travelling around S.American should have (in my mind) because, as a reader, I couldn't help wondering why the characters were so aimless and immature. It seemed sad.

The writing style was not one that drew me in and, although the book picked up near the end when interesting events unfurled, I wouldn't read it again. The female character wasn't fleshed out much and I found I didn't really care what happened to the three protagonists. The fact there was very little dialogue didn't help. A big disappointment sadly.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars :) 8 Jan. 2002
By A Customer
Although I've only recently become interested in travel literature, in comparison to some other novels in the genre I've read I wouldn't call this a 'must read'.
Basically, I wasn't really sure about the books purpose - was it trying to give a true insight into South America, past and present, or just tell us something about the Lonely Planet generation? Both, I suspect, but the outcome isn't entirely convincing. I have to admit, bits were dead funny and I liked Mark Mann's kinda offbeat style of writing, but by the end I couldn't help getting annoyed with these politically correct, middle-class gringos. However, I would still recommend the book for a couple of hours of escapism.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Easily readable. 4 Jun. 2001
The Gringo Trail, or should the title be "The Gringo Trip" as Mark Mann relays his various drug induced trip(s) around South America? Trips also of emotional discovery with his developing close friendship with Melissa... The disturbing tension felt between the author and Mark are co-ordinated with the comical search for the buried dope. As the pages turn by and they become more at ease, Mark's images of the locations, its people and history produced a very readable book. It served more as a memory-jogger, than as a guide. I questioned the real aim of the travellers. Was it an attempt to escape conformity of England by going to South America, or, to produce a first-hand account and directory of the effects of the drugs available? Although I enjoyed the book, it is very easy to read and the vocabulary flowed, I can't help wondering whether the book would have been written had the [...] events at Arrecifies not occurred.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Unlike other travelogues I have read, this one has a very punchy story. Not a book for the faint hearted, but I suppose South American backpacking never is. The characters (Mark No.2 and Melissa)are seriously "larger then life" although Mann himself is the mundane comparison with which most of us would associate. Mann is a talented story-teller, who has researched the South American history well, He approaches it from a somewhat cynical, anti-capitalist perspective, which would not be everyone's cup of tea. But regardless of your politics, the story reaches out and grabs you by the throat. A great big rollercoaster of geographical, and self exploration (mostly drug enhanced) that spirals towards an all too real,nightmare conclusion. I fought with my wife over whose turn it was to read the book, and she had nightmares afterwards. There must be safer ways to explore South America, but they wouldn't make quite so compulsive a read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Worth a read but don't pay Amazon price for it! 2 Jan. 2013
I picked this book up on a whim from a local discount book store. Having spent a small amount of time in South America I thought it would be fun to read, and as I want to travel the continent more extensively I thought I might find some inspiration. Mark Mann writes very informatively, and "chunks" the book into short, concise sections which makes this ideal for the casual reader (it's also good for the more hardened, "sit down and finish it in a day" kind of person like my sister as it gives her regular snack breaks). The descriptions are fantastic, the prose flows and the added educational aspects are well woven into the story. I enjoyed accompanying Mark and his friends through Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Columbia. I laughed along with them when they experienced setbacks on the road, linguistic challenges in the cafes and overstuffed hostels. But I rate them as acquaintances, not friends, so I didn't really care when things went wrong for them. Even so, I would recommend this book as a travelling companion or as a bit of escapism when you're stuck at home, dreaming of adventures. Just don't go looking for luxury inside!
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By A Customer
The book is heavily advertised as a laddish, drugs laden, travelogue. Thank God, "The Gringo Trail" is much more than that, the drugs part being outweighed by interesting and humourous insights into today's Latin American reality. The tragic final events give even more flesh to this beefed-up "The Beach". My main reservations about the book concern the lectures in 70s third-worldism that constantly emerge throughout the book: OK, the Conquistadores were bad guys, OK, US multinationals are plundering LA's natural resources, but if the author judged such earth-shattering pieces of information ought to be included in the book, he could have chosen more updated materials (than, say, 1987 World Bank reports), written by someone with a slightly sharper analysis... And, one last thing: even though, at the end, Mark Mann [moans] about journalists mis-spelling foreign names, two thirds of the foreign words cited in the book are mis-spelled, be they Spanish, French or Italian. Otherwise, a pretty readable book that made two boring days in Tbilisi, Georgia, pass very quickly.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by Rebecca Marsh
1.0 out of 5 stars The 'book' received was a 'sampler' which I found out ...
The 'book' received was a 'sampler' which I found out is a quarter of the actual book so not as described
Published 3 months ago by David Watkins
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A well written book and great for ideas for places to visit, Arrecifes sounds like paradise.
Published 4 months ago by Mr Christopher Pinkstone
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 4 months ago by richard griffiths
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
a witty and exciting journey
Published 6 months ago by Roy
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Arrived quickly and in perfect condition. Finished with in a week - hilarious.
Published 7 months ago by alex mcaulay
5.0 out of 5 stars Fab Story!
Great read!!
Published 7 months ago by Mingus Johnston
3.0 out of 5 stars Easy read
Easy entertaining read. Nothing demanding but keeps you page turning. Recommended for lazy days needing to be filled. Some interesting facts of south American history.
Published 12 months ago by Natasha Tuffley
4.0 out of 5 stars informative, charming and intreging
after travelling south America myself, I've turned to travel books to help me relive the incredible country, this book succeeded in doing this well, characters talked about that I... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Daizy Barker
3.0 out of 5 stars Didnt 'grab' me
The book is ok but doesn't grab me. Not as exciting as I thought it would be. Found it hard to finish and took me at least half the book to get into it.
Published 13 months ago by Missy_W
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