Customer Reviews


57 Reviews
5 star:
 (23)
4 star:
 (11)
3 star:
 (12)
2 star:
 (6)
1 star:
 (5)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down, and a big kick in the tail.
Unlike other travelogues I have read, this one has a very punchy story. Not a book for the faint hearted, but I suppose South American backpacking never is. The characters (Mark No.2 and Melissa)are seriously "larger then life" although Mann himself is the mundane comparison with which most of us would associate. Mann is a talented story-teller, who has...
Published on 6 Aug 1999

versus
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bit of a let down.
After reading the rave reviews, I had high hopes - especially as I have previously spent time in South America. I felt sure it would be gripping. However, I found the book to be weird, and wondered why the characters were trekking around hostels and taking drugs as they neared their 30s. Didn't have the care free tone a book about travelling and all the experiences that...
Published on 2 Nov 2010 by Book lover


‹ Previous | 1 26 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bit of a let down., 2 Nov 2010
After reading the rave reviews, I had high hopes - especially as I have previously spent time in South America. I felt sure it would be gripping. However, I found the book to be weird, and wondered why the characters were trekking around hostels and taking drugs as they neared their 30s. Didn't have the care free tone a book about travelling and all the experiences that come with travelling around S.American should have (in my mind) because, as a reader, I couldn't help wondering why the characters were so aimless and immature. It seemed sad.

The writing style was not one that drew me in and, although the book picked up near the end when interesting events unfurled, I wouldn't read it again. The female character wasn't fleshed out much and I found I didn't really care what happened to the three protagonists. The fact there was very little dialogue didn't help. A big disappointment sadly.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars :), 8 Jan 2002
By A Customer
Although I've only recently become interested in travel literature, in comparison to some other novels in the genre I've read I wouldn't call this a 'must read'.
Basically, I wasn't really sure about the books purpose - was it trying to give a true insight into South America, past and present, or just tell us something about the Lonely Planet generation? Both, I suspect, but the outcome isn't entirely convincing. I have to admit, bits were dead funny and I liked Mark Mann's kinda offbeat style of writing, but by the end I couldn't help getting annoyed with these politically correct, middle-class gringos. However, I would still recommend the book for a couple of hours of escapism.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down, and a big kick in the tail., 6 Aug 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Gringo Trail (Paperback)
Unlike other travelogues I have read, this one has a very punchy story. Not a book for the faint hearted, but I suppose South American backpacking never is. The characters (Mark No.2 and Melissa)are seriously "larger then life" although Mann himself is the mundane comparison with which most of us would associate. Mann is a talented story-teller, who has researched the South American history well, He approaches it from a somewhat cynical, anti-capitalist perspective, which would not be everyone's cup of tea. But regardless of your politics, the story reaches out and grabs you by the throat. A great big rollercoaster of geographical, and self exploration (mostly drug enhanced) that spirals towards an all too real,nightmare conclusion. I fought with my wife over whose turn it was to read the book, and she had nightmares afterwards. There must be safer ways to explore South America, but they wouldn't make quite so compulsive a read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Easily readable., 4 Jun 2001
By 
The Gringo Trail, or should the title be "The Gringo Trip" as Mark Mann relays his various drug induced trip(s) around South America? Trips also of emotional discovery with his developing close friendship with Melissa... The disturbing tension felt between the author and Mark are co-ordinated with the comical search for the buried dope. As the pages turn by and they become more at ease, Mark's images of the locations, its people and history produced a very readable book. It served more as a memory-jogger, than as a guide. I questioned the real aim of the travellers. Was it an attempt to escape conformity of England by going to South America, or, to produce a first-hand account and directory of the effects of the drugs available? Although I enjoyed the book, it is very easy to read and the vocabulary flowed, I can't help wondering whether the book would have been written had the [...] events at Arrecifies not occurred.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars A politically correct "The Beach" spiced up by good humour, 17 Jun 2001
By A Customer
The book is heavily advertised as a laddish, drugs laden, travelogue. Thank God, "The Gringo Trail" is much more than that, the drugs part being outweighed by interesting and humourous insights into today's Latin American reality. The tragic final events give even more flesh to this beefed-up "The Beach". My main reservations about the book concern the lectures in 70s third-worldism that constantly emerge throughout the book: OK, the Conquistadores were bad guys, OK, US multinationals are plundering LA's natural resources, but if the author judged such earth-shattering pieces of information ought to be included in the book, he could have chosen more updated materials (than, say, 1987 World Bank reports), written by someone with a slightly sharper analysis... And, one last thing: even though, at the end, Mark Mann [moans] about journalists mis-spelling foreign names, two thirds of the foreign words cited in the book are mis-spelled, be they Spanish, French or Italian. Otherwise, a pretty readable book that made two boring days in Tbilisi, Georgia, pass very quickly.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A quick, entertaining read, 13 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
With an interest in travelling to South America in the coming years, I was looking for a book that was quick to read, light-hearted and would give me a first hand account of some of tourist trail without the over-describing quality of a Tolkien novel. This book was just that. It did feel a bit rushed in places but I think that it gives a good account of the trip of a lifetime, which I genuinely could not stop reading.

There's a good blend of the party-scene and the calls of nature, which gives the reader an overall feel of what the region is like. Its not the best written book. The style can be a rushed in places and its filled with quite brief and random historical facts, which could have been expanded on a bit more. Often scenes will end quite abruptly, leaving me craving for a bit more action. I also found that it dragged quite a bit towards the end, with the writer somewhat unwilling to move on from the beach life at Arrecife.

Overall, the book serves its purpose: providing a brief description of events taking place during a wild trip, without being too serious.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and intelligent, 21 Jan 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A well-written story of a South American trip; I'm impressed that he could remember the details after taking so many mind-bending substances on the journey. The frequent anti-capitalist rants, reminiscent of one-sided student politics, became a bit tedious but his descriptions of the people he met en-route, locals and back-packers, are really entertaining. Well worth reading.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Gringo Trail just didn't hit the mark, man, 12 May 2003
By 
Matt (London, UK) - See all my reviews
I must admit I had to read this in one sitting. Not for the fact that I liked it, but unfortunetly I have a habit of once starting a book, no matter how bad, I have to finish it. And I needed to finish this one pretty quickly. I did like Marks love of the continent, but that wasn't enough to keep the story together. It was almost like reading my sisters diary when a child, but without the secrets, gossip and intrigue. And that’s all this was - a diary, speckled with historical snip bits. The trouble with diaries that are published as stories is they lack the beginning, middle and end needed to satisfy the reader. To be fair, I could have forgiven him for missing the first two out. The Gringo Trail is a collection of experiences that fail to deliver on their promises of excitement and discovery, and makes you end up wishing Mark had made it up instead. Which I’m sure he is very capable of doing. Some true stories are well worth telling, and this is one of them... but more in the pub than published sense.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A South American trip., 28 Dec 2005
A moderately engaging travellers tale. However, I fail to see the point of sitting on a beautiful beach for a month, taking a lot of drugs. When this is coupled with the authors rather superior attitude to backpacking it can be somewhat nauseating. Perhaps offloading his irritating travelling companions in the first week might have helped. Some interesting descriptions of Colombia and a smattering of errors in the text, which keep the reader feeling superior as they spot them, ease the passage and kept me on board until the end.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable!, 8 Aug 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Gringo Trail (Paperback)
The Gringo Trail, although essentialy a travel guide, was to me, an eye-opening, jaw dropping story that gave me insights into the character and personalities of 3 fascinating and eccentric young backpackers. The descriptions of the South American landscapes, as brilliant, vivid and colourful as they are, were not what kept my attention. It was the unbelievable tales of these 3 main characters that made me walk through a crowded Oxford Circus with my head buried in the pages. This book is the amazing, chilling and surreal story that it is, because every description, every thought, action and quote is based purely on fact. It really is mind blowing!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 26 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Gringo Trail
The Gringo Trail by Mark Mann (Paperback - 2 Aug 2002)
Used & New from: £0.02
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews