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3.6 out of 5 stars34
3.6 out of 5 stars
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on 21 September 2011
This was written in the 1890s by the splendidly-named American travel writer Maturin Murray Ballou. His description of Valletta in particular is still valuable, and his longish sections on the Knights of St John and the Turkish sieges are still valuable potted history.
Watch though as he goes off on long rants against the Catholic Church and we suddenly find ourselves in Mexico or Italy and then - we're back in the room!
Very entertaining to those of us who have visited Malta, and I'll be taking this with me when we next go so that I can read (aloud) some of the fruitier sections. Well worth your time: this is the type of find that makes the Kindle such a marvellous thing.
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on 27 December 2013
I ordered this to read on my first trip to Malta. As it was published in 1893 I had no real expectations but as it was a free Kindle book I had absolutely nothing to lose. I loved it and it was great to read about places that I was planning to visit or that I had visited & to reflect on how they have changed, if at all they have. I found some bits quite humorous and laughed out loud a couple of times - no political correctness in the 19th century! The authors comments and observations about religion and war are thought provoking and perhaps highlight just how little things have changed over the last 110 years. Ballou has clearly researched the subjects discussed and often compares & contrasts these with experence he has had in other countries. He covers architecture, religion, vegetation, culture, war, The Knights of St John, history etc. and I quite liked his writing style (although there was some repetition) and this book is a good read if you want to explore travel journalism styles from a bygone era. Ballou has published many and I am tempted to read another to see how it compares. Go on, if you are planning a trip to Malta or you just like reading about European history give it a go. It is a light read and what do you have to lose?
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on 19 August 2011
For me a fantastic book, even though a former Royal navy man, many interesting facts in this book have made me more ready for our visit in September. Fantastic read, great information, more importantly thought provoking. Recommended read for all
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on 5 December 2013
Having been impressed by some of the reviews on Amazon, I read this book during a recent short visit to Malta. It contains a great amount of detail which is surprisingly relevant today. More importantly there are many perceptive insights into the history and culture, and a great deal of humour. Of course it reflects the values and prejudices of the late 19th century, but it also has an honesty, untrammelled by political correctness. I learned more about Malta from this book than from the recent guides which I had bought, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
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I was looking forward to reading this from an historic perspective as it was written in 1893. It was a real disappointment as the author seemed to be incapable of staying on topic and kept comparing Malta to his home country (USA) and then going off on tangents to discuss China and Gibralta. It also moved from climate to history and just about anything else he fancied talking about.

My main problem with the book was his self opinionated stances on certain topics and in particular his attacks on the Catholic Church.
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on 20 March 2015
I ordered this book to find out about the prehistoric temples of Malta, and to get an overview of Malta's later history. I hadn't realized the book was written in the 1800's and so consequently didn't mention the temples that had only been explored in the early 1900's, or Malta's involvement in the war. Disappointed, I had a quick flick through, but it looked quite a dry read, with no illustrations so I sent my copy back and ordered D Trump's book on prehistory and temples instead.
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on 14 December 2012
Written over a hundred years ago it give a good insight into Victorian Malta. Unfortunately the protestant author is very critical of Roman Catholicism, which borders almost on being offensive,but then that was the attitude of the time. Historically, some of the information is suspect but then probably stems from prevailing ideas of the time. The book is still interesting and worth a read if one can get over patronising attitude of the author towards the Maltese people at the time.
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on 1 May 2014
While written almost 120 years ago this book takes you on a journey through the island's history in such a captivating style that it is impossible to stop reading. The places you visit come to live literally and you feel transported back in time. I strongly recommend to start reading prior to your trip to Malta as this will improve your experience of this fabulous island.
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on 30 November 2014
An informative book but very much a book written in another time when political correctness had not been invented and from that perspective it was unusual and a little humorous.Nevertheless well written by a man who clearly had his own agenda.Not a book about Malta to read in isolation.There are better books about Malta out there now.
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on 27 January 2013
Brilliant historical account, ideal for anyone interested in this wonderful country!
Brilliant historical account, ideal for anyone interestBrilliant historical account, ideal for anyone interested in this wonderful country!ed in this wonderful country!
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