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The Road to McCarthy [Hardcover]

Pete McCarthy
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

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Book Description

18 July 2002
Setting off from Ireland, Pete McCarthy takes us on a wonderful journey around the weird and wonderful Irish communities of the world. In his own inimitable style, Pete recounts his adventures and escapades as, in Morocco he meets the head of Clan McCarthy, and then goes on to visit the renowned Irish peoples of New York. He journeys to the southern hemisphere and then back again to the United States before ending up in a small town called McCarthy in Alaska. Will he encounter enough McCarthy's Bars, as he continues to obey the eighth rule of travel: 'never pass a pub with your name on it'? This is a funny, affectionate look at the Irish communities of the world.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Lir; First Edition edition (18 July 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340766069
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340766064
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.2 x 4.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 793,207 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

The amazing success of McCarthy's Bar put Pete McCarthy securely into the upper echelons of modern travel writers. His skills were many: an uncanny knack for evoking the ambience of the often bizarre and unlikely places he visited; insights into human behaviour that range from the sardonic to the insightful, and (best of all) a fractured sense of humour that made reading the book in public dangerous if you didn't want to embarrass yourself by spontaneously laughing out loud. There were those who feared that his new book The Road to McCarthy would not match its predecessor for quirky and idiosyncratic charm, but a few pages of the first chapter quickly puts paid to the nay-sayers.

Over a few pints, McCarthy unwisely decides to investigate mythical stories of his own clan history. Were the McCarthys a nomadic tribe who travelled from North Africa in the mists of pre-history? This none-too-serious attempt to anatomise worldwide Irish connections results in an outrageously entertaining odyssey. From the Fried Breakfast Zone of Belfast airport, McCarthy journeys to Morocco and Gibraltar and finds that the Casbah in Tangier doesn't have too many historical traces of a hereditary Gaelic Chief. Despite attacks from ornamental monkeys and ill-tempered geese, he ploughs through the fleshpots of the island of Montserrat in the Caribbean in his fruitless search (where the only Celts he encounters are worse-for-drink Glasgow Celtic supporters); and then, in the secluded Alaskan township of McCarthy (where else?) with its populace of just 18 bewildered citizens, he comes across a final revelation. This is absolutely hilarious stuff, every bit as entertaining as McCarthy's Bar--and that's no blarney.--Barry Forshaw


'Cordial, happy-go-lucky, a bit vague, cowardly yet with an inimitable sense of adventure; a disarming, likeable travelling companion.' -- The Sunday Times 20020721 'The new book is just as quirky as McCARTHY'S BAR and even funnier ... it's full of extraordinary encounters, insightful glimpses of the places he visits and humorous comments on human behaviour, not least his own.' -- Victoria Hislop, Sunday Telegraph 20020721 Praise for MCCARTHY'S BAR: 'McCarthy is a hilariously funny writer' -- The Times 20020721 'McCarthy mines a rich seam of humour as he finds himself on the receiving end of some warm but unsophisticated hospitality. But then, he could probably make a phone book funny.' -- Independent on Sunday 20020721 'Don't panic - this is not the same story you hear from every tourist you meet ... This book will make you laugh out loud through recognition and embarrassment' -- Irish News 20020721 'One of the funniest writers around. If you were asked to choose the ideal travelling companion, you would put Pete McCarthy near the top of your list. But if he doesn't happen to be available, MCCARTHY'S BAR is the next best thing' -- Yorkshire Evening Post 20020721 'A riveting piece of storytelling' -- Observer 20020721

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The journey (and the laughter) continue ... 20 July 2002
"Relentless pursuit of the non-existent by the clueless armed with the unworkable is bound to turn up something sooner or later" writes Pete McCarthy in his second book. He certainly is not clueless and what he turns up is definitely worth the detour - a detour that has us follow him Tangiers via Macquarie to Montserrat.
Full of witty observations, wonderful anecdotes, hilarious characters, "The Road to McCarthy" is a dangerous read if you're sitting on your own in a public place: you may well pass for a nutter, choking with laughter for no apparent reason. There you are: you have been warned !
And to end in McCarthy's words: "Travel can be full of surprises. Sometimes they're not even the surprises you expect."
All that remains is to re-read "McCarthy's Bar" while we wait for his next travel logbook.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All roads lead to McCarthy 5 Mar 2003
It seems that you either like Pete McCarthy or you don't. Since The Road to McCarthy is pretty much volume two of McCarthy's Bar, it won't be too difficult for most of us to decide whether we want to read it.
This time around, McCarthy's lengthy pub crawls, sticky ferry trips and sporadic reflections on roots, religion and the heritage industry cover a wider area of the world map. Otherwise, it's really more of the same.
And that's fine by me. I love McCarthy's writing. I find it wry, witty, self-deprecating and deceptively sharp. And yes, it does make me laugh out loud on the bus. But beneath the blokey banter there are genuine and surprisingly subtle insights into some of the big issues facing twenty first century westerners.
For McCarthy, these are mostly to do with working out a sense of belonging in an increasingly dislocated, commercialised and globalising culture. Neither fully English nor fully Irish, and not truly at home in either place, it's not surprising that he uses travel writing to pursue his theme.
McCarthy is particularly good on the human need to build some kind of sensible narrative around our lives. Pointing out that no-one wants to live their life as experimental drama, he puts up quite a defence for the exploding interest in genealogy and the quest for a family story, which many of us have learnt to dismiss with a sophisticated sneer. He certainly pushed me to rethink that one.
Maybe it's an age thing - I probably wouldn't have felt this when I was twenty five - but I'm quite happy to give McCarthy's favourite themes a second go. And if they are surrounded by some entertaining but perceptive and thought provoking descriptions of his life and times in New York, Tasmania and several points in between, then that's fine too.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars McCarthy visits Europe, Afirica and America!! 11 Jun 2003
The Road to McCarthy is one of my favourite travel books. Pete manages to fit in Europe, Africa and North America in one book as well as Monserrat which adds interest to the book for those who like to see a bit of contrast in travel writing. This time the book is centred around Pete travelling the world in search of the McCarthy clan similar to in McCarthy’s bar but on a world scale thou don’t worry the book is not repetitive or a rehash of McCarthy’s bar. I think this book is very funny and informative in a cultural and historic way. There are a few jokes that you may be at an advantage to reading McCarthy’s bar first but not so many as to put the reader at a disadvantage if this is your first Pete McCarthy book. The book is well written and is full of action and adventure from roaming round the streets of Tangier being lead by a local guide (nail biting for the reader too!!) to flying into the remote town of McCarthy in Alaska this book never fails to be exciting.
Fun, Exciting, fans of McCarthy’s bar will not be disappointed.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Road to McCarthy is paved with gold 2 July 2004
It was always going to be difficult for Pete McCarthy to match the runaway success he had with the wonderful McCarthy's Bar. I was fully prepared for disappointment upon opening the second book, and am therefore pleased to announce that it is nothing short of brilliant. Fans of the author will be aware of his fondness for obscure places and unwavering ability to land himself in ridiculous and often bizarre situations.
The Road to McCarthy is similar to its predecessor in the sense that it once again follows Pete on his quest for identity: He explores his roots - just as he did last time around - and stumbles upon the history of the McCarthy clan, and the supposed McCarthy Mor. Sounds unusual - far-fetched even? That's because it is. Far from tainiting the feel of the book however, it adds a mysterious quality and sees the author trekking the globe in a highly unusual detective adventure. McCarthy frequently reprises his role of teacher and historian as he lapses into fact mode, interspersed with tales of the unusual people and places he encounters on his travels. So entertaining are the accounts of events he has witnessed or conversations he has taken part in, that I frequently found myself asking 'how does he FIND these people?' The answer is simple; they flock to him. He is a magnet for strange personalities, and thank God he is because I haven't enjoyed a book this much in a long time.
The author journeys further afield in this book than the last, with his adventure taking him to Montserrat, Montana and Tasmania. It was the section set in the latter that I found the most interesting, with its often moving documentation of convict settlements upon the Australian island. It's certainly eye-opening, and I frequently found myself staring at the words in disbelief.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This book embarrassed me.
I tried to read the book in a railway carriage full of commuters. As I got into the book I began to smile, then chuckle and then laugh uncontrollably. Read more
Published 2 months ago by J. W. Hodgson
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Excellent read from beginning to end - it has a laugh on every page, typical Pete McCarthy observational dry wit
Published 2 months ago by William Price
5.0 out of 5 stars A fabulous read with humour throughout.
This book is a fabulous read throughout and shows the true talent of Pete McCarthy. If you are on a plane going anywhere you will empathise with his opening chapter regardless of... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Malc B
4.0 out of 5 stars Pete's second book on Irish origins
This was a great read from cover to cover. Did I think it was as good as his first book ? Not such a compelling read but still well worth the read. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Mike Lawrence
4.0 out of 5 stars Pete McCarthy Is Always A Good Read
There is great humour and insight in this book; which is what you'd expect to find. Since Pete is no longer around, his words are even more precious. Read more
Published 12 months ago by I Rate
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Funny
Published 14 months ago by Donal
5.0 out of 5 stars a fantastic tale
I laughed from start to finish. Thanks to the person who recommended it to me, I will read it over and over.
Published 14 months ago by Brian
5.0 out of 5 stars What a writer !!!!!
McCarthy is a fabulously funny writer and this book is full of laughter, irony, and excellent lessons in antipodean history. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Mr. K. Robinson
5.0 out of 5 stars Usual service
I ordered these books on a standard delivery expecting three to four days but they arrived in two days. Exceptional service from the post as well as Amazon.
Published on 23 Oct 2011 by Mr. Peter Orpin
5.0 out of 5 stars What more could you want from a book...?
The most entertaining read that you will find on this planet. You feel as if you are a personal audience with Pete McCarthy and the tangents to his conversational thoughts are... Read more
Published on 7 Jan 2011 by Lisa
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