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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best travel diary I have read
Full Tilt is the most engaging of all Dervla Murphy's travel books. Whilst her travels, in the most unlikely and inconvenient places, are always captivating, her sheer delight with Afghanistan and Pakistan and their people lifts this above the others. One wants to set off on one's own bicycle at once and head straight for all the places she so effortlessly brings to...
Published on 6 July 1999

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars disappointing
Quite boring and not a lot of fun to read
Published 6 days ago by Amazon Customer


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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best travel diary I have read, 6 July 1999
By A Customer
Full Tilt is the most engaging of all Dervla Murphy's travel books. Whilst her travels, in the most unlikely and inconvenient places, are always captivating, her sheer delight with Afghanistan and Pakistan and their people lifts this above the others. One wants to set off on one's own bicycle at once and head straight for all the places she so effortlessly brings to life. Definately not a book to miss, read it once and it will stay in your heart for ever.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars enchanting, 29 Mar 2010
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This is a very fine piece of writing and a very interesting travelogue. Her bravery and single mindedness is inspirational. Her encounters are fascinating and compelling and recounted without hype or over dramatisation. I strongly disagree with one reviewer here that says she was naive in her observations of local customs and politics. Quite the opposite, she showed an empathy and understanding quite rare among travelers in foreign lands.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The finest cycle travel book there is, 18 Feb 2004
By 
I. Viehoff "iviehoff" (Chalfont St Giles, England) - See all my reviews
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Dervla travelled from Dunkirk to Delhi on a three-speed roadster. Across Afghanistan. In the 60s. Unable even to mend a puncture. With a large supply of cigarettes. And a gun. Bitten by a wolf in Yugoslavia. When the road was rough in Iran, she cycled in the river bed instead. An blow with an Afghan rifle butt broke her ribs...
In comparison to this, anyone other (even her own) cycle trip just pales into ordinariness. The material is sufficiently extraordinary that the plain diary style is an adequate vehicle. The observations and empathy for the peoples and places make this a great travel book, not just the greatest cycle travel book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "On my tenth birthday a bicycle and an atlas coincided as presents and a few days later I decided to cycle to India.", 13 Mar 2011
This review is from: Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle (Paperback)
So begins Dervla Murphy's first published book. Astonishingly, 21 years after making this decision, she did cycle from Ireland to India via Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, and this book is the record of that journey.
The chapters about Afghanistan are the highlight -- she loves the country so much that she describes herself as "Afghanatical". This is in 1963, before the hippie trail, before the Mujaheddin, before the Taliban (at one stage she visits the Bamain Buddhas), and so can be seen as almost a historical document; but the sheer energy and excitement is timeless.
Some minor complaints: the journey through Europe and Iran felt hurried, and the end seems abrupt. If you want to find out what happened next, see Tibetan Foothold by the same author.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars inspirational, 22 April 2010
i read this book expecting it to be rather dry, but found it to be an entertaining, very personal account. just as the blurb says, dervla is a true traveller and it seems does so always with good spirits and endless curiosity. not just for cycling fans.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Travel diary of a gutsy lady!, 31 July 2008
By 
Wynne Kelly "Kellydoll" (Coventry, UK) - See all my reviews
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I read this when it was first published and her bravado and guts filled me with admiration. The lands she travelled in seemed so exotic and far away - although they soon became part of the Hippy Trail of the late 60s and 70s.

On re-reading it my admiration for her courage is undiminished - but I was soon struck my just how much the world has changed. Some of the countries she travelled through (albeit with some difficulties) have since become impossible for any independent traveller. The cold war conflict between the USSR and USA were being played out in Afghanistan but who could have guessed the tragedy that lay ahead for the Afghans? I had forgotten the episode visiting the Buddhas at Bamian - a sight no-one will ever see again as these were destroyed by the Taliban a few years ago. She writes of both Afghanistan and Pakistan with great affection but is much less kind to Iran and India.....

She is well able to cope with the simplicity on offer. Her description of a Grade A hotel in Herat was wonderful: "It has an Eastern lavatory but with flush attached (when I pulled the string the whole apparatus collapsed and I was drenched in rusty water!) and there is also a holder for lavatory paper on the wall which makes one feel that if one stayed here long enough it might have paper too some day."

I do have problems with writers who make sweeping negative statements about a whole people. About the Kashmiris she said "The people are in general the most moronic I've met since Persia..." Also "The standard of intelligence of the average village school-teacher is incredibly low" - this was stated after 26 days in Pakistan!

And I wonder if she would still agree with her statement re literacy: "We have yet to prove that universal literacy as we know it advances the mass of the people in any worth-while direction"

As a traveller she obviously relates well to the people she meets along the way. However she is not clear about the number of invitations and introductions she arranged before she set out. How many travellers end up dining with the President of Pakistan?

Loved the list of kit at the end - today surely this would be fleeces and Gore-Tex!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing descriptions of Afghanistan in the 60s, 2 Dec 2013
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This is really one of the most interesting books I've ever read, and Dervla Murphy at her best (which is saying something of such a wonderful storyteller). The only thing I had reservations about was the apparent reflections that people living as subsistence farmers in the Himalayas were better off without education, but this was, also, obviously meant as a way of saying that we have a lot to learn from their way of life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars its a must !!!, 19 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle (Paperback)
an excellent read from start to finish,Derva writes from the heart and with honesty....
am now on the ukimwi road , its a close second.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for the armchair traveller, 5 Sep 2013
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Political, religious, social students as well as cycle routers, enthusiasts and armchair travellers can get an insight from this book.
Written from the notes made enroute, mainly after entering Asia, this book gives a inside view to the people of the middle east and the difference between politics and religious beliefs in a simple yet expedient way.
Although the journey was made in 1963 much of what is contained in the travelogue is as relevant today as it was then and helps to understand what is happening in the middle east.
A first class read and a great book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very interesting read, 25 July 2013
By 
Magda "Magda" (Dublin, Ireland) - See all my reviews
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I enjoyed the book in the main, as I went along wondering how on earth the writer could face the challenge of being attacked by wolves, rude border guards (only on occasion), dreadful extremes of temperature, attempted assaults, glaciers, floods, starvation, dirt, near death over precipices in bone-shaking vehicles or on foot, and innumerable fleas, bugs and all other parasites available in this world, and still seem to enjoy the experiences.
The uniqueness of the writer's character goes some way towards explanation. What she got out of it is not totally clear.
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Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle
Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle by Dervla Murphy (Paperback - 1 Mar 2010)
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