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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!!
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...
Published on 11 Jun 2003 by Ben Groves

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Long and rambling but funny
This is the long and rambling tale of Pete's search to try and trace the McCarthy clan's history to places as remote as Alaska, Montserrat, Morocco & Tasmania.
He does more sitting around in bars drinking and talking nonsense than actually uncovering anything significant, making his quest a very poor excuse for a storyline. But his humourous observances of the...
Published on 3 Dec 2007 by Chelli


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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
This review is from: The Road to McCarthy (Paperback)
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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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The journey (and the laughter) continue ..., 20 July 2002
This review is from: The Road to McCarthy (Hardcover)
"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
This review is from: The Road to McCarthy (Hardcover)
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. Even if most of his life and times there are spent in scummy bars. Again.
But then, you may have experienced McCarthy's Bar as nothing more than a crass catalogue of repetitive drinking sessions in the company of a dull and irritating bore, whose main pastime is taking swipes at the English, the Irish and any other available nationality. In that case, The Road to McCarthy will probably seem like a cynical and lazy attempt to sell the same book twice.
You pay your money (or not) and you make your choice . . .
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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
This review is from: The Road to McCarthy (Paperback)
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. The treatment of the prisoners - many sent there for stealing just a hankerchief or a loaf of bread - was shocking. It is exactly this storytelling technique that gained my respect for the author. One moment I was laughing alound at the absurdity of a situation, and the next saddened by his descriptions of these historic events.
It is rare for a sequel to surpass its predecessor in terms of entertainment value, but The Road to McCarthy does just that. It is a warm, witty and marvellously entertaining read, which is at the same time educational. Whether or not Mr McCarthy draws any conclusions from his experiences I really couldn't say. One thing is for certain however; I can't wait to see what he's got in store for book number three.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Could he do it again?, 1 Sep 2002
By 
James Rhodes (Naples, FL) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Road to McCarthy (Hardcover)
After loving McCarthy's Bar, I approached The Road to McCarthy with some trepidation. Could he do it again? McCarthy had shared so many personal, deeply felt moments in the first book that, I had to wonder what he had left to tell us.
Quite a lot, as it turns out. The Road to McCarthy may lack the emotional content of McCarthy's Bar, but it most respects it's MORE -- funnier, rowdier (a word that may not have previously been applied to Pete McCarthy, but I stand by it), and, of course, longer, since this time he literally takes us around the world -- well, half-way 'round, at any rate.
Highly recommended, especially if you're a Bill Bryson fan. Here's a chance to broaden your horizons.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Irreverent, hilarious, and vastly entertaining, 31 Jan 2004
By 
Joseph Haschka (Glendale, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Road to McCarthy (Paperback)
My favorite travel essayist - until now - has been Bill Bryson of Iowa (NOTES FROM A SMALL ISLAND, NEITHER HERE NOR THERE, IN A SUNBURNED COUNTRY, A WALK IN THE WOODS). Sorry, Bill. Stand aside for Pete McCarthy.
Author McCarthy was born in England of a Protestant English father and a Catholic Irish mother. This leads to a guilt-ridden, divided allegiance, especially when the big football match involves England vs. Ireland. However, in THE ROAD TO MCCARTHY, Pete's maternal side predominates as he takes us on an irreverent tour of Gibraltar, Tangiers, New York City, Tasmania, Montserrat, Montana and McCarthy, Alaska in search of far-flung evidence of Ireland and his clan's roots.
Why such disparate destinations you might ask? Well, Tangiers is home to the quasi-official chief of Clan McCarthy. And Gibraltar is just on the other side of the strait, so why not visit? The Big Apple hosts the world's biggest St. Patrick's Day Parade. Tasmania, off Australia's southeast corner, was the brutal island prison to which Irish separatists were sent in the mid-nineteenth century, including one Thomas Francis Meagher, who subsequently escaped to become a Union general in the American Civil War and, briefly, Governor of Montana, the present day home of the head of the North American Clan McCarthy Association. The Caribbean island of Montserrat, the southern half of which is closed off because of active vulcanism, is the British colony to which destitute Irish men and women were once sent as slaves. And isolated McCarthy, AL (population 20) was named for a rugged copper miner who drowned in a local river in 1910.
Following the threads of Ireland and Clan McCarthy seems just an excuse as Pete regales the reader with observations about his immediate surroundings and the world in general. Like Bryson, his perspective filters through an offbeat sense of humor. But, while Bryson's is gentle and only slightly askew, McCarthy's is truly bent and with a sharper edge. For instance, when commenting on the current state of the British rail system:
"Most stations aren't manned these days because it isn't cost-effective, so there's no one to collect the tickets, or the sick (i.e. vomit). Official policy is to rely on gradual dispersal by rook or magpie, unless they strike lucky and someone slips and mops it up with the back of their overcoat."
He can also be charmingly self-deprecating, as when advised in Alaska as to the proper response if meeting an aggressive black bear (fight back) or a grizzly (play dead).
"... it would be foolish not to consider what you would do if confronted by one; but try as I may, I can't see myself coming up with much besides the weeping and the incontinence."
THE ROAD TO MCCARTHY is a compendium of laughs that I couldn't put down.
Finally, in all places except Alaska, Pete discovers that one can watch reruns of the American comedy "Cheers" on the telly. This is good to know should I ever wash up onto the steps of a seedy Tangiers hotel.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The quest continues, 1 Sep 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: The Road to McCarthy (Hardcover)
Passport, pen, paper, people and places!!
It must be so good to be able to say 'Been there, done that, designed the T-Shirt and WROTE the book!!'
Here McCarthy uses his travel expertise, his comic wit, and his unquenchable thirst for information of all things 'McCarthy' and Irish.
Place yourself trustingly in his hands as he takes you with him in his search to the far flung reaches of the globe. Follow the trail of the displaced and deported and the resulting effect in the most unexpected places!! From the streets and back alleys of Tangier, to the wilds of Alaska, McCarthy will have you hanging on his every word.
The humour of McCarthy's Bar is so very evident, but will sting you with the depth of his emotion and reaction to the plight and suffering of the Young Irelanders in Van Diemens Land.
Onto to Montserrat, where the locals with Irish names speak with a mixture of Caribbean and Irish dialect and St. Patricks Day is celebrated by wearing of shamrocks made from lime leaves!!
From Montana to Alaska, his journey continues. Read it!!
McCarthy has done it again. With his colourful descriptions and eye for the absurd.
Follow him!! Trust him, he will not let you down!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Long and rambling but funny, 3 Dec 2007
By 
This review is from: The Road to McCarthy (Paperback)
This is the long and rambling tale of Pete's search to try and trace the McCarthy clan's history to places as remote as Alaska, Montserrat, Morocco & Tasmania.
He does more sitting around in bars drinking and talking nonsense than actually uncovering anything significant, making his quest a very poor excuse for a storyline. But his humourous observances of the everyday and the absurd keep you turning the pages and I would probably read another of his books.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Road to McCarthy, 24 Aug 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: The Road to McCarthy (Hardcover)
Loved It!! Having never heard if Pete McCarthy before I read his hilarious McCarthy's Bar...He writes as I think he might speak, from the heart.
Have now read The Road to McCarthy, his latest ramble about his ramblings and my craving for his word is insatiable.
...Whilst still in the genre of his previous book, this book has some more serious moments
Here we find him travelling to the far reaches of the globe, from New York to Tasmania via Morocco and Monserrat and on to Alaska, following the footsteps of the immigrant and the deported. Within, we still find McCarthy, the people magnet, who manages to find himself witnessing, or in the company of, the most absurd, dubious and funny characters. The McCarthy knack of summarising each with a nick name is at it's most excellent.
But be prepared. With the laughter, he will take you on an emotional rollercoaster. From his marching in the St Patrick's Day Parade in New York, to his reaction to the sufferings of the deportees to the penal colony of Van Demens Land. This is quite heavy and I felt for him. Then to St Patricks day celebrations on the volcanic Caribbean island of Montserrat with its mix of Rasta and Irish!
The champion people watcher and teller of tales has done it again!
An excellent tale told with feeling and totally spiced with the McCarthy sense of the absurd!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha!, 14 Aug 2003
This review is from: The Road to McCarthy (Hardcover)
This book, while it does not have the 'laugh-a-paragraph' quality of McCarthy's Bar, this is mainly because it actually has a point. I am not in any way putting down M.B., but THTM has included sympathy, empathy and frustration amongsth other emotions. If you are simply looking for a good laugh about some guy getting drunk, then this is not for you. If you are looking for a book matching the humour of McCarthy's debut, but including thoughts and feelings, then you will certainly rate this book as highly as I.
p.s. I recently saw Pete at my local theatre: a real treat. Not only is it fascinating to hear him reading his own work, but he lets you in n some other, occasionally unpublishable, gems.
5 star!
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The Road to McCarthy
The Road to McCarthy by Pete Mccarthy (Paperback - 3 Mar 2003)
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