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The Gringo Trail: A Darkly Comic Road Trip Through South America by [Mann, Mark]
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The Gringo Trail: A Darkly Comic Road Trip Through South America Kindle Edition

3.7 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews

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Kindle Edition, 27 Aug 2010
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Length: 338 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

'... not for the faint hearted... an uncompromising account of
drugs on the road... a tumultuous trip through... South America'
-- St Christopher's Inn youth hostel website

'An entertaining and informative read.' -- Cambrian News, March 27 2008

It's a terrifically raw account, refusing to glamourise the trip... [captures] the essence of backpacking so perfectly. -- Andrew Lawless, Three Monkeys Online

St Christopher's Inn youth hostel website

'... not for the faint hearted... an uncompromising account of
drugs on the road... a tumultuous trip through... South America'

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 675 KB
  • Print Length: 338 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1849530637
  • Publisher: Summersdale Publishers Ltd; 3 edition (27 Aug. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00413QMTU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #179,982 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: 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.
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Format: Paperback
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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There is - sad to say - a section of the long-term backpacking community whose urge to experience the world is dominated by a desire to take as many and as varied drugs as possible. This book reflects that side of backpacker culture in an unapologetic way and it starts from page one. The book is as much a drug diary as a travel diary. So why, you might ask (if you knew - which of course you don't) do I read this book every few years even though I think it's not very well written and deeply unsatisfying? Well the simple fact is that it's a trip down memory lane for me because I was at college in Oxford with Mark Mann and Mark West.

The Gringo Trail was published in 1999 and over the years has gained a reputation as a bit of a backpacker-classic, being likened to such classics as Alex Garland's 'The Beach' and (stretching the imagination even more) Jack Kerouac's 'On the Road'. If you travel in South America, sooner or later you'll find a battered copy in the hands of a fellow traveller and be told that you 'really must read it'. It is an account of the narrator's trip around Andean South America in the late 1990s. He and his travel companions bus their way around Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Columbia - meeting some strange locals, staying in some bad cheap hotels, hanging out with lots of other travellers, making some (sometimes) interesting points about ecology and politics but mostly taking lots of drugs - some of them easily recognised as the stuff they could have found back home and others of a much more exotic and psychedelic nature. They camp in some wild and glorious places, get into a few scrapes and generally do the sort of things backpackers do all over the world.

For me the book has one big problem. It's really not clear what it's supposed to be.
Read more ›
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
i enjoyed this and don't get the criticism ther book received from some reviewers. If you are planing a trip to south america or just enjoy travelling it is well worth a read. It's not too heavy for the most part and has plenty of humour throughout. Drugs are only a small part of the book in my opinion, yes there is quite a bit of drug use, but no more I would say than is used by many travellers to this part of the world. What the book does have besides is some great descriptions of the places and people visited along the journey, some genuinely interesting characters and enough history and facts to give you some background but without getting boring.
i would recommend. It has certainly inspired me to travel to this part of the world.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was easy to read, and I enjoyed reminiscing about my own travels in South America. There was much less darkness and drug-fueled excess than I was expecting from the blurb. There was a strange slightly jarring mix of styles, with the factual passages and footnotes seeming out of place. I most enjoyed reading about the author's sometimes strained relationships with his travel companions and these definitely rang true. The end of the book is the best part by far, thought-provoking and genuinely moving.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book instantly stands apart from the better known South American travel books.
Mark Mann is less of a journalist traveling to gather material for a book, and he is far more in tune with the economic and environmental problems in South America.
The first section of the book where they travel around Equador Peru and Bolivia is essential reading if your heading there or have been there, theres lots of comic situations that are all too easily recognised.
The highs and lows of backpacking are wonderfully spelled out and the three main charcters are engaging, with a little pre-trip history to flesh them out.
The second half of the book, slowly changes to move towards the events which have been variously foretold earlier, and this mainly happens in Columbia, and the last pasrt of columbia, indded did remind me very much of the Beach, although Alex Garland did it better, in this respect.
Lots of thoughtful and inspiring material, a must have for the Andean adventurer.
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