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Around the World in 80 Treasures Poster
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A truly fascinating experience for the reader. This book is a treasure in itself. (THE SUN) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Dan Cruickshank travels through 36 countries in four and a half months to tell the story of civilisation through the world's greatest treasures. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
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And what a good choice it was to make the purchase! Cruickshank's writing style is quite something to behold when you first encounter it - it's between first- and third-person, past and present narrative, personal and social comment - and crucially it teems with the excitement he clearly has for his endeavor.
The pictures are stunning, but more stunning is the story Cruickshank tells. The story of the treasures and the story of his journey combine to provide a story about life - his conclusion that 'there is a universal religion' offers a fantastic conglomeration of expression and content which pervades the book as a whole.
Highlights include the Giants of Tula, Dan's obsession with eating insects, Petra, The Acropolis, the Taj Mahal and my personal favourite Lepis Magna, in which he manages to bring to life the city both on the page and in the mind of the reader. This is what is truly stunning and moving about the book - the story of the world's past is quite clearly the story of man's struggle to find meaning - to square the circle as Dan puts it - in his own existence, and his treasures and journey explore this to its fullest.
So don't even worry if you disagree with the inclusion of the colt, the death masks, the volkswagen and other such non-architectural treasures, because each one is chosen for its part in the wider story of history, and serves its purpose admirably.
One gripe. I have a lot of time for Dan Cruickshank. Some are irritated by his whispery soft delivery and some find his foppishly elegant appearance off-putting. Personally I like both. But nevertheless he soon started to get on my nerves as I journeyed through the 248 pages of text. These 248 contain some 233 photographs, and before counting I would have said that DC appears on nearly half of them. In fact he doesn't, he appears on `just' 53 of them. But it feels like lots more. Why so many? What is more, mostly he is looking direct into camera, like the worst of holiday snaps. Including a human figure can be justified in some cases by the need for an indicator of scale, or sometimes to give some human interest. But why always DC? The production team was made up of 5 other people whom it would have been interesting to meet, and these were often joined by a local `fixer', of whom DC sometimes gives colourful descriptions, leading to the hope (always dashed) of a photo of this person on the next page. This aspect sadly reduced the impact for me of this otherwise very enjoyable and different travelogue.
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