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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Michael Palin's longest journey of them all
Michael Palin's "Full Circle" trip involved traveling all of the way around the Pacific Ocean. He (and his film crew) started at the Bering Strait in Alaska and then traveled down the Asian side of the Pacific, crossed over to Cape Horn, and traveled up through South and North America, returning to Alaska.
The trip covered 50,000 miles through 17 countries in...
Published on 30 Jan 2006 by Rennie Petersen

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The book does not match up to the TV programme
The companion to the TV series of the same name does not add much that was not seen on the screen. In fact despite the many glossy photos, the atmosphere which was ably captured on television has not been transferred to print. The book takes the form of a diary of the former Python's travels around the Pacific Rim, and details his and the crew's experiences. The TV...
Published on 21 Nov 1998


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Michael Palin's longest journey of them all, 30 Jan 2006
By 
Rennie Petersen (Copenhagen, Denmark) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Michael Palin's "Full Circle" trip involved traveling all of the way around the Pacific Ocean. He (and his film crew) started at the Bering Strait in Alaska and then traveled down the Asian side of the Pacific, crossed over to Cape Horn, and traveled up through South and North America, returning to Alaska.
The trip covered 50,000 miles through 17 countries in ten months. Specifically, these countries were visited: USA (Alaska), Russia (Siberia), Japan, S. Korea (entry to N. Korea was denied), China, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, USA (California and Washington), Canada (British Columbia) and back to Alaska again.
This trip, like the other ones done by Michael Palin for the BBC, was filmed for viewing as a television mini-series. (This version is available on DVD.) Afterwards, Michael Palin and Basil Pao (the stills photographer in the filming crew) created this book as an alternative record of the trip.
The book is richly illustrated with Basil Pao's beautiful photographs. Michael Palin's text is wonderful because he has a way of finding interesting places and people and of describing them with warmth and humor.
The diversity of the many countries and places is amazing. Artic wilderness, tropics, deserts, cramped cities, huge rivers, high mountains, etc., etc. There are many high points along the way, the most exciting being when Michael Palin had to lasso a camel while standing in the back of a pickup truck that was going over bumps and around bends at break-neck speed!
At the same time, Michael Palin does not shy back from visiting and describing the thought-provoking places along his journey. The Russian Gulag in Siberia, Hiroshima and the remembrance of the atomic bomb, the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea and the border between Mexico and the United States are all discussed with unusual insight.
This book easily deserves five stars. Except for the audio version, that is.
The nice thing about the audio version is that Michael Palin reads the book himself, and he does a great job as a reader. But the audio version does not include Basil Pao's beautiful photographs, of course, and worst of all, it's abridged. My dislike of abridged audio books results in me giving the audio book version only three stars.
Rennie Petersen
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars full circle michael palin, 19 Oct 2009
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This review is from: Full Circle (Paperback)
yet another great book from mr palin. i have read his previous books ,pole to pole,sahara,himalayas and around the world in 80 days. this book is on par with his previous books. well worth reading whether you are a seasoned traveller or just want a good book to read. i read this book in a couple of days.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The book does not match up to the TV programme, 21 Nov 1998
By A Customer
The companion to the TV series of the same name does not add much that was not seen on the screen. In fact despite the many glossy photos, the atmosphere which was ably captured on television has not been transferred to print. The book takes the form of a diary of the former Python's travels around the Pacific Rim, and details his and the crew's experiences. The TV series worked well as it highlighted the cultural diversity of the area and the spectacular, but these are elements which can not be converted to book form without a far more in depth commentary which was not possible for an author who typically spent two days in each city. I would recommend buying the video rather than the book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, 26 Oct 1999
By A Customer
Full Circle opened my eyes to the activities surrounding the Pacific Rim. Although I had seen the series, the book took me back to the places visited with vivid descriptions and personal touches added by the author. One of the aspects I enjoyed the most was the insight to other cultures, far removed from our own. Traces of homesickness were more apparent in the book than on the programme, which added to the sense of travel and adventure. An educating read for both those who have visited the countries mentioned and those, who like me travel by the armchair to foreign lands.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Makes you wish you were there, 8 May 2014
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This review is from: Full Circle (Kindle Edition)
Michael's narrative is entertaining and informative and you feel that he is also being entertained and informed on his amazing journey to seldom visited places of the world. A pleasant distraction from the daily grind.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fleshes out the TV series nicely, 6 April 2014
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Mr. C. Bath (Sussex, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Full Circle (Paperback)
I am a massive fan of Palin’s travel series’ and Pole to Pole and 80 Days hold a legendary status for me as the two most intense and original of his adventures in both book and TV format. When I first watched Full Circle, I was a little disappointed by the lack of intensity and frequent skipping between places and unexplained jumps (such as from Java to Australia). However, the book is great in that it feels much closer to the completeness and depth of Palin’s first two adventures than the TV series does. By the end, you are hugely impressed by the scale of the journey Palin and the crew take.

This is because the book allows far better and more detailed explanation and gives you plenty of info about his surroundings: the hotel room, frankness about how he was feeling at the time and explanation of how and why he got to the next place (if he jumped a long distance, it was usually due to having to fly and for good reason). This means you are not left (as in the TV series) baffled and disappointed, with the sense of adventure and intensity of the journey being lost, when you suddenly move on to somewhere miles away without enough sense of journey or adventure.

As with Pole to Pole and 80 Days, what I also like about this book now is that as time passes it becomes ever more fascinating and has already become a period piece. 18 years later you can are able to look back (quite a long way in fact in 2014) at a snapshot of the Pacific Rim in 1996; early post-Soviet Russia for instance and mid-90s China as it embraced capitalism, when the Yangtze Gorges were yet to be submerged and most city people still rode bicycles. His journey through Japan, Korea and China is a definite highlight, as well as the particularly enjoyable passage where he makes the rather eccentric Railcar journey to La Paz in Bolivia. The only major criticism of the adventure would be the jump from Cartagena in Colombia straight to Mexico City (surely the Panama Canal was important enough to visit as the connector between Atlantic and Pacific), which therefore misses out most of Central America. However by the time he got through South America I think Michael was on his last legs after such a long journey!

As ever with Palin’s adventures, the book makes a great accompaniment to the DVD, with great photos helping further and in this case manages to alleviate some of the frustration of the TV series only having 10 episodes to fit it all into!
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5.0 out of 5 stars book, 5 Feb 2014
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Give me a chance I have not had time to read it yet,i can only go by the tv prog. ! !
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4.0 out of 5 stars I ♥ Michael Palin, 1 Jun 2013
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I have this book on audio book and paperback as i like to listen to Mr Palin's voice to fall asleep. I love his work and his is my favorite of his tv shows. The book is really good and i do enjoy it, however i feel it is a little rushed and could have been a lot longer.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Full Circle by Michael Palin, 8 Mar 2013
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Having enjoyed Michael Palin's novel, The Truth, Full Circle was my next choice of book. I saw some of the television series of Mr Palin's Pacific Rim travels. What comes across in the book, far more than from the television programmes, is the hardship and the duration of the trip, the toughness and the bravery of the whole crew, the distance from home and families for them all, and the constant packing of bags and endless travel that often lasted for many, many hours between stages of the journey. In reading, there is more time to assess these facts than there is in a program lasting about an hour wherein perhaps two or three countries passed through are covered. Mr Palin does not moan about these things!!! Rather, he sees the funny side of almost every personal incovenience and had me laughing every few paragraphs or so with his amazing sense of the ridiculous. The team has savoured/endured so many experiences. How lucky we are that the author can write it all for posterity with such a light, entertaining skill. My lasting cherished pick of the prose is his description of his own getting out of a bunk bed which was so close to the one above that he got out lying flat, and after a few minutes "inserted" himself back into it. Every time I see a letter-box that will come to mind. Thank you Mr Palin for a whole lot of interest and laughter.
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5.0 out of 5 stars As good as ever, 2 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Full Circle (Kindle Edition)
How could Michael Palin books not be very good. Seen every episode, now read every book. Fantastic. When is the next adventure after Brazil???
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Full Circle: A Pacific Journey with Michael Palin
Full Circle: A Pacific Journey with Michael Palin by Michael Palin (Paperback - 17 Jun 1999)
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