- Also check our best rated Travel Book reviews
Travels with a Tangerine: A Journey in the Footnotes of Ibn Battutah Paperback – 15 Mar 2012
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Thomas Cook/Daily Telegraph Travel Book Award is not handed out lightly, and is almost invariably given to travel writing of a rare order. Tim Mackintosh-Smith is a very worthy recipient, and Travels with a Tangerine will no doubt inspire (as did his earlier Yemen) comparisons to the giants of writing about the Arabic world, from Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom to Wilfred Thesiger.
Travels with a Tangerine is subtitled A Journey in the Footnotes of Ibn Battutah, and finds Mackintosh-Smith utilising his impressive knowledge of Arabic studies in a fascinating journey to find the real Arabia. For the past 17 years (when not travelling), he has lived in the Yemeni capital San'a, and this invaluable background has made him the perfect guide to the exotic landscapes of Arabia. Here, the author travels in the footsteps of a ghost. Ibn Battutah was the greatest traveller of the pre-mechanical age, setting out in 1325 from his native Tangier on a pilgrimage to Mecca. His journey took 29 years, and he visited most of the known world, travelling three times the distance that Marco Polo covered. Mackintosh-Smith set out to write a "trailer" or continuation of the original writings, and this utterly fascinating book covers the first stage in the Moroccan's bizarre and dangerous journey (brigands were only one of the dangers he faced). The destinations include a quaint Islamic Butlin's in the Egyptian desert, the shores of the Cimmerian Bosphoros and some of the most impressive cities of medieval Islam. All the details of his journey are conjured up with maximum vividness, from buffalo milk puddings and fishbone houses to the legendary dancing dervishes. The writing, always spare and elegant, makes this a highly compelling read for either the adventurer or the armchair traveller. --Barry Forshaw --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
'A brilliant, erudite and entertaining literary coup' (Time)
'Battutah couldn't enjoy a better champion . . . This is a considerable book, mind-broadening, not only in the way that it revives the history of a remarkable traveller, but also for its representation of modern Islam as tolerant, hospitable, humorous and cultured' (The Times)
'Sometimes, as [Mackintosh-Smith] travels from Cairo to the Crimea, across deserts, into assassins' strongholds, it seems that Ibn Battutah is just a swish of a robe ahead' (Independent)
'A fluent Arabist who has lived in Yemen for the best part of two decades, Mackintosh-Smith is an accomplished etymologist who delights in his field of research and shares Ibn Battutah's roving intellectual curiosity, if not his boundless sexual appetite . . . Travels with a Tangerine has all the makings of a classic' (The Spectator)
'Mackintosh-Smith is an intrepid and determined traveller, with an uncanny instinct for right turnings and the necessary conviction to pursue them . . . Mixing archaic language . . . with a twenty-first-century sensibility, fogeyism with an appetite for fun, food and a good smoke, he slips effortlessly between our world and that of the fourteenth century. In so doing, he has created a gripping and accomplished travel book' (Sunday Times)
'With the Travels of IB (as he affectionately thinks of him) in hand, Mackintosh-Smith here follows his predecessor's trail as far as the Crimea, seeking what remains of the sights Battutah saw, skilfully evoking those that have vanished, all the while remaining alert to the deep connections between modern Muslim society and the past. The result is an immensely engaging book' (Daily Telegraph)
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
When I determinedly sat down to read it, I realised what I'd been missing as this is travel writing at its absolutely superb best. In it the author - an Arabist and longterm Yemeni resident - seeks to follow the travels of 14th century Moroccan traveller Ibn Battutah, a man who over twenty-nine years visited "over forty countries on the modern map, travelling some 75,000 miles by horse, mule, camel, ox-wagon, junk, dhow, raft and on foot."
With Battutah's 'Travels' ever in hand, the author re-discovers shrines, mosques and churches and finds similarities - and vast differences - in the lifestyle of the people he meets on the way.
This, the first volume, covers Morocco, Egypt, Syria, Oman, Turkey and the Crimea.
Mr Mackintosh-Smith writes wonderful descriptions, both witty and intelligent; he peppers his work with tales taken from Battutah and elsewhere; he draws us in to his one-man archaeological efforts as he seeks to identify places mentioned in the work. And the reader experiences a thrill as he conclusively identifies somewhere, where Battutah himself would have stood so long ago.
This is a wonderful read and I hope to go on and read the other two volumes.
This writer knows his Arabic, he knows his history and he also knows his ancient literature. This might make him the life and soul of any party consisting of dry Oxford-based academics, but a perfect travel companion he's most certainly not. I must confess I left Tim and his IB behind when they left Egypt. By then I had forced myself through way too many pages full of old quotes, visits to old sites where IB may and may not have visited and learned precious little about the modern societies Macintosh-Smith travels through. All the people he meets are deemed irrelevant if they can't contribute anything to the story of Ibn Battuta. He even skipped following his old friend's route across Algeria, Tunisia and Libya overland, but chose to fly instead.
I love travel writing when it makes a new place come alive. Even when it means wiping the dust off renowned travellers who have been dead for centuries. Furthermore I'd love to learn more about regions such as North Africa and the Middle East. I'm planning my own expedition in the near future.
So maybe I'm just shallow? Simply not intellectual enough to enjoy the finer points in Macintosh Smith's writing? Maybe I'm somehow handicapped by the fact that English is not my native language and haven't studied ancient history for years? Might very well be, and in that case I apologize to all the learned people who understood it and appreciated it better than I did, but honestly - this is the only book I can remember that made it impossible to stay awake for more than 10 pages at the time.
Beautiful travel writing from a master of wry and sympathetic observation. I also heartily recommend 'Travels in Dictionary Land'.
It makes you realise too how much travel took place, whether intentionally or by people displacements in the first millenium.
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Most recent customer reviews