Tony Wheeler's Dark Lands (Lonely Planet Travel Literature) Paperback – 16 Aug 2013
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Top Customer Reviews
Too bad his writing comes across as more than a bit dull. His aim in this book is interesting enough. He wants to visit and write about troubled countries, places on the map that generally reach the news headlines in the most negative ways and try to paint more varied portraits of them. To me this automatically means interesting reading. Not only do I get the chance to read first hand stuff about places I can't or dare not visit myself (or get updates on a couple of places where I actually did go), but it's also delivered by an authority on travel and travel writing.
So how come Tony doesn't deliver the goods?
My main objection is that I feel that Wheeler is cheating. I was hoping he would do the same thing he did when first setting out to write his first Lonely Planet guide, just book a ticket and go. But most of his "adventures" are pre-planned. Travelling through a country with a number of hosts, old acquaintances, guides, private drivers and even military guides feels more like superficial news reporting than true armchair travel to me. Most of his journeys are booked in beforehand, same goes with his accomodation, and in Zimbabwe he's even flown in his old chum's private plane to an exclusive safari lodge. Believe me, that's not Zimbabwe as I remember it.
In quite a few of his countries, like Colombia, he rattles off all the main tourist sights, a church here, a museum there, before hasting on to the next town on his agenda.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
A most excellent read !
Nauru for example; after two days on the island waiting for an onward flight to Kiribati, I would rather describe the island as a tragic example of chronic financial mismanagement.
However, I do agree with his assessment of the island of Bougainville. (Part of Papua New Guinea, though,if you look at a map, part of the Solomon Islands.) Definitely one of the Dark Lands, given the troubles he and I both encountered trying to get to Yamamoto's downed bomber.
As a regular visitor and, briefly a resident, Zimbabwe would, in my opinion be a shoo in for a Dark Land. But, much to my surprise, Mr. Wheeler's chapter on Zimbabwe opened my eyes to small improvements that might, just might, prove to be the proverbial 'light at the end of the tunnel.'
Let's hope so. That tragically mismanaged country richly deserves its day in the sunshine!
Lonely Planet Tony Wheeler's Dark Lands 1st Ed.