3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Vintage Palin, indeed!, 25 May 2008
This is arguably Michael Palin's masterpiece and could well be his swansong. There are few travel writers who are endowed with the descriptive prowess of Palin and his ability to see the funny side in the most mundane of situations.
"New Europe" sets new standards in travel writing, offering a healthy blend of irony and cynicism, and maintaining a fair balance between reality and imagination. Palin comes across as a seasoned traveller - cum - narrator, who is capable of adapting to the most austere of conditions and enjoying a conversation with people from all walks of life and ethnic backgrounds. His descriptions of the meetings with the Mayor of Tirana and the Romanian shepherd - turned - millionaire convey a palpable frisson and are not readily forgotten.
In addition, the book contains a large number of well - chosen high - quality photos with equally engaging captions. It is only natural that the author should appear in many of them for, after all, this journey is part of his life.
Unlike the TV series, the book does justice to Eastern Europe, although the odd slight bias is inevitable. Furthermore, some of Palin's quintessentially English peculiarities, including his fascination with steam - engines, may have been misconstrued as prejudice by some East European readers.
Overall, this is an excellent book which has firmly established Palin as one of the most eminent present - day travel writers. I would strongly recommend it to anyone who has enjoyed Palin's previous works or, indeed, anyone who wants to learn more about East European countries and their rich cultural heritage.