5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
I actually liked it.... quite a bit!, 2 Jan. 2009
I read some of the negative (1 and 2 star) reviews before I bought this, as a friend of mine suggested they can tell you much more about a book than the glowing 5 star reviews. He was spot on. The only thing is, the negative reviews of this book, very nearly put me off. But, as I managed to find a cheap, 2nd hand copy, I decided to risk it, and I was pleasantly surprised by what I found.
I found a guy, who doesn't want to go to the Republics, just for the sake of laughing at or mocking these people, he wants to see what makes them tick. Base level travelling. Maybe it's like 'base jumping' or something. The book's not perfect, but it made me want to read more, and for me, that's very good.
I didn't know about a couple of these republics, shame on historian me. But then again, the Russians really did get around during the Soviet period. So much territory to cover.
It's a fairly easy read, but with substance; heart. Something for those of you who aren't just interested in pretty pictures or coffee table books from Travel Writers. This guy's also lived in Moscow for quite a few years, which frankly scares me more than these Republics. My own dream is to go to Kamchatka; I saw a guy pulling a huge fish out of a stream on TV, with his bare hands. That I want to see.
Love it or hate it. Kalder has his own style. He's flippant at times, but not as shallow as some reviewers would paint him. He has more soul that most snap happy travellers you see around these days. He gets himself 'in' there. As drab as the reality may be - yes, sometimes it really is just drab. But it's real.