THE LONGEST WALK: An Odyssey of the Human Spirit by George Meegan

THE LONGEST WALK: An Odyssey of the Human Spirit

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A young Englishman's sturdily cheery tale of his 19,019-mile walk from the tip of South America to the Arctic Ocean. Meegan is something of a throwback to the grand old days of highly individual English adventurers. A merchant seaman, he'd dreamed of making his ""longest walk"" since the age of 17. In 1977, along with girlfriend Yoshiko, he began in barren Tierra del Fuego--and immediately encountered a bandit, who was finally frightened off by Yoshiko's fractured Spanish. Yoshiko left the walk deep in Argentina (after their marriage and her pregnancy), but Meegan forged ahead. Nearly three-quarters of the book is devoted to his adventures in South and Central America: he was attacked by a Colombian guide who went crazy in the jungle, and Meegan nearly went crazy himself trying to work through morasses of bureaucracy as he moved from country to country (he was almost kicked out of Ecuador for losing his temper with a comic-opera corporal). The most interesting part of his journey took him through Nicaragua just after Somoza's ouster--a battered battleground with hostile, suspicious people who became friendlier when they realized he wasn't American. The North American part of his trip went more smoothly--helped along by a near-miraculous New York publisher's advance--and in 1983, six years after he began, Meegan dipped his hands in the Arctic Ocean, having made the longest continuous walk in history. Fairly standard of its type (and the prose is a bit. . .pedestrian). Still, inspirational and quite engaging in parts.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1987
Publisher: Dodd, Mead