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4.4 out of 5 stars
25
4.4 out of 5 stars
Magic Bus: On the Hippie Trail from Istanbul to India
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on 23 May 2017
Great condition
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on 5 September 2006
Many books have been written about the sixties, but Rory Macleans "Magic Bus" is the first to my knowledge which describes the journey many thousands of us made in those tumultuous years, overland from Istanbul to Kathmandu. The author retraces the route, describing with accuracy and humour the old haunts that many of us knew so well. From the Pudding Shop in the shadow of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, the Amir Kabir in Tehran, the cafes on Chicken Street in Kabul, the magnificient statues of Buddha in Bamyian tragically destroyed by the Taliban, to the dope filled dives of Freak Street in Kathmandu. For me the book brought the memories flooding back as I am sure it would for others familiar with the "hippy trail" But the book is not just for those who made that journey in the sixties and seventies, it's a fascinating travelogue in its own right, a piece of our cultural and social history, and a wonderful description of an era and a journey which will never be repeated in quite the same way. A five star read.
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on 15 July 2006
Thanks to Rory Maclean the bus still runs, and I was able to catch it a generation and a half after the departure of the original Intrepids to the once-wild East. That East that was the world of dreams for a tired Europe whose kids desparately needed vision and freshness, for whom there was nothing at home that could hold the imagination, and whose parents' lives had been consumed and formed in the horror of war, the collapse of empire, incredible technological changes and the struggle to hang onto something familiar.

Rory Maclean balances the sentiment of the original journeys, thousands of them, gained by a brave attempt to trace their route under very changed, and more dangerous circumstances than they once were, with an updated perspective on the trail as it appears today. Those early travellers were gullible, naive and inexperienced. They were also passionate and committed to a new world of real relations - and of pleasure.

It may be that the passage of those early hippies laid something of the foundations for the present tensions and unhealthy religious and political conditions. Yet this too will pass. Maclean's account, meanwhile, consists in the main of encounters along the way with a brilliant Afghan rug of characters, from the ancient hippie soulmate he meets in Turkey to the Iranian city guide who opens his mind behind closed doors, the Englishman who converted to Islam in Pakistan and created for himself a spiritual path from the land and the people and the ecstasy of the meeting. Old hippies, musicians, their admirers along the way, NGO employees who wished they had been part of it... they are all here. And in each case there is a true encounter, a meeting of minds - surely the purpose of all travel, then and now and henceforth.

For anybody who did not travel on the first trail, this is a superb synthesis of many strands that gives a good picture of how it was. For anybody who has visions of a closer world and a new paradigm for living, this account shows much of what was achieved before, and some of the mistakes, and inspires one to try again. For those who did travel the Trail, I doubt that they will have much to argue with Maclean about.
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on 5 July 2006
This book is beautifully written, extremely well researched and very engaging. It is evident that in researching his book Rory Maclean has recently travelled the hippie trail, and presumeably done so at some personal risk in certain regions which are not very safe. Indeed, given that some of the regions MacLean visited are currently inaccessible, his book is all the more fascinating and compelling. The book is a remarkable account of a very special era in the 20th century and will appeal to those who experienced the hippie trail first hand and those who wished they had! I support the very positive professional editorial reviews written about Magic Bus (see the Amazon website), and would recommend it to anyone young or old who wishes to capture or recapture the adventure, enthusiasm and spirit of the 1960s and 1970s.
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on 27 June 2006
A few years ago, Rory Maclean retraced the steps of the Intrepids, adventurous travellers who journeyed from Europe to India in the 1960s and 1970s. He visited many of the same shops and sites as before and interviewed numerous Intrepids and locals who helped them along the way.

This is a fascinating and hugely entertaining story which covers some incredible countries, including a newly post-Taleban Afghanistan.

Highly recommended!
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on 3 July 2007
Many books have been written about the sixties, but Rory Macleans "Magic

Bus" is the first to my knowledge which describes the journey many thousands of us made in those tumultuous years, overland from Istanbul to Kathmandu.

The author retraces the route, describing with accuracy and humour the old

haunts that many of us knew so well. From the Pudding Shop in the shadow of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, the Amir Kabir in Tehran, the cafes on Chicken Street in Kabul, the magnificient statues of Buddha in Bamyian tragically destroyed by the Taliban, to the dope filled dives of Freak Street in Kathmandu. For me the book brought the memories flooding back as I am sure it would for others familiar with the "hippy trail" But the book is not just for those who made that journey in the sixties and seventies, it's a fascinating travelogue in its own right, a piece of our cultural and social history, and a wonderful description of an era and a journey which will never be repeated in quite the same way. A five star read
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on 20 May 2009
I found this book very interesting to begin with - the author went into great detail about his earlier locations but towards the end it seemed as if he kind of lost interest and just wanted to be home again as it seemed to speed up quite a bit. Some of the destinations I was looking foward to reading about, he seemed to arrive and leave again very quickly leaving me frustrated as I had been looking forward to his arrival throughout the journey. Overall a good read though
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on 14 July 2007
It is an understatement to say that I have devoured "Magic Bus" !
A Frenchman (so sorry for my broken English !) in my fifties now, the book took me back to my twenties.
In 1973 I made it to Varanasi (then Banaras) with two friends in a battered old Peugeot 404 station wagon in three weeks time. I am still very much influenced by this era, its culture and its extraordinary musical creativity.
I haver rediscovered all that in "Magic Bus" thanks to Rory MacLean who is a travel-writer of the calibre of Nicolas Bouvier.
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on 2 July 2007
This book, honest and warm, is powerful in its attention to the small details of human characters that fill us with laughter and with sorrow. In each chapter, as we move across the world from West to East, we find a character in whom we identify a small part of ourselves. With this ability to find the humanity amidst the differences, the disasters and the changes, Rory Maclean binds people, religions and nations together, scaling the decades and the distance. It is an essential book at a time when unity in our world is needed more than anything.
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on 27 August 2006
It is an understatement to say that I have devoured "Magic Bus" !

A Frenchman (so sorry for my broken English !) in my fifties now, the book took me back to my twenties.

In 1973 I made it to Varanasi (then Banaras) with two friends in a battered old Peugeot 404 station wagon in three weeks time. I am still very much influenced by this era, its culture and its extraordinary musical creativity.

I haver rediscovered all that in "Magic Bus" thanks to Rory MacLean who is a travel-writer of the calibre of Nicolas Bouvier.
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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