An uneven collection of pieces that extend and expand the typical notion of travel writing.
The subtitle proclaims these “True Travel Tales from Great Fiction Writers,” though the contents raise some issues. All of the included writers have written some fiction, but many are known as well (or even more) for their journalism, including Jan Morris, who has earned her reputation primarily as a travel writer (yet here writes of an imaginary destination). Some of the authors write not as travelers, but as immigrants who have made adjustments to a different home or adults who have made a homecoming. Others write of places where no traveler would likely visit—e.g., the cellblock of San Quentin, explored by Joyce Carol Oates in the longest and most emotionally powerful piece. Yet, cumulatively, they reinforce the assertion of Bryce Courtenay (“Australia’s top-selling novelist”) that “[g]ood travel is returning home a slightly bigger part of everyone and not quite the same person as when you set out.” His essay, more of a trend piece than an illumination of a destination, is about how “personal adventure travel has come of age. For a great many of us, our travel mindset has largely changed from seeing to doing and from observing to participating.” The most affectingly literary of the inclusions is by Britain’s Stephen Kelman, on a reporting trip to India, where he realized that “the world is as weird and sad and beautiful as I would have it be, and that my place in it is as inevitable as the wind in the trees.” Other notable contributors include Isabel Allende, Kurt Andersen, Pico Iyer, Alexander McCall Smith and Frances Mayes.
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)