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SMILE WHEN YOU’RE LYING by Chuck Thompson

SMILE WHEN YOU’RE LYING

Confessions of a Rogue Travel Writer

By Chuck Thompson

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-8050-8209-8
Publisher: Henry Holt

An aggressively funny account of the world from an acerbic, energetic professional traveler who tells it like he sees it and has no reservations about sharing his stockpile of outrageous (mis)adventures and advice.

Thompson spent one year at the helm of Travelocity magazine before being let go, an experience that has clearly left a bitter taste in his mouth. Reacting against the glossy optimism of mainstream travel writing, he reveals the underbelly of the tourism industry, offering unabashed reports on his rollicking and sometimes gross experiences in the 35 countries he has visited. His honesty about the lack of authenticity in the travel business is refreshing, and some of the first- and secondhand accounts make for the same sort of transfixing spectacle as a car crash. Instead of merely focusing on the shockingly bad, he imbues his writing with a satisfying blend of self-deprecating humor and no-nonsense intelligence, underscored by suggestions for readers such as “Stop Feeling So Entitled” and “Hang Up on Morons.” Thompson has little tolerance for the superficial, or for marking off checklists of supposed requisites for visitors—he devotes a chapter to explaining why Chinatown, in any city, should be avoided. At his best, this Thompson will remind readers of Hunter S.—provocative and thoroughly engaging, with a manic liveliness. Though the book is hampered by a scattershot structure, Thompson has a talent for viewing both the pedestrian and the extreme with a twisted understanding and sense of humor.

A fierce, frank skewering of the travel business and media.