COUPS AND COCAINE: Two Journeys in South America by Anthony Daniels

COUPS AND COCAINE: Two Journeys in South America

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Highly unattractive record by an ex-psychiatrist of his trips to Latin America. Although he has practiced medicine abroad, Daniels goes to Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay et al. with no humanitarian mandate. Instead, he merely finds these countries ""never dull"" and ""the perfect antidote to numbing routine."" As might be expected, with this attitude, the narrative seems a trivializing series of complaints about rude waiters and evil-smelling rivers. Among the chilly observations about people met are many jokes involving Nazis--taken here as a prime subject for humor. Daniels quotes an ""old joke about Nazi Germany"" about lack of political justice, and goes so far as to make a smarmy insulting joke to an American priest, suggesting that the Father looks like Heinrich Himmler. Of course, in the few pages left over for each country, little of value is achieved in drawing helpful portraits or presenting telling details. Daniels' visit to Peru is the diametrical opposite of those undertaken by other physicians on personal missions of mercy. By contrast, Daniels is more worried about ""unspeakable"" servants and adopts an all-pervasive tone of querulous whine. American readers in particular will be offended by the self-satisfied insults to Floridians in the first pages of the book, and a cheap shot of a joke about ""Dakron, Ohio."" In the worst tradition of snob travel writing. Cross it off the itinerary.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1987
Publisher: Overlook--dist. by Viking