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digs his own grave
on 5 October 2011
As others have pointed out, Dimbleby's manifest lack of enthusiasm for the subject matter (and overwhelming enthusiasm for himself) contaminates the book. I really don't think that someone who is not even prepared to learn Cyrillic is the ideal choice for a trip across Russia, and this really does show.
That does not mean that the book is a complete waste of time, but I'm not convinced that its occasional redeeming features are enough to offset the constant whining and navel-gazing by its author. Russia is a passionate country and it needs to be addressed by a passionate writer.
And spare a thought for Dimbleby's (no doubt long suffering) interpreter, who doesn't get a mention in the entire book!