An impressively detailed, spunky thrill ride steeped in wanderlust, renewal, and the excitement of the great outdoors.

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HARLEY TRACKS

ACROSS VIETNAM TO THE WALL

A free-spirited Army veteran tours Southeast Asia to honor fallen Vietnam War soldiers in this debut memoir. 

In 2008, avid motorcyclist and writer Rinowski began what would become an epic, life-changing, four-year solo pilgrimage across Vietnam to commemorate the American soldiers who died in the war. With an entertaining blend of vivid details and congenial prose, the Minnesota-born author traces a particular affinity for adventurous road trips back to his youth, when lifelong appreciations for “the spirit of freedom, the good nature in people, and the Harley Davidson” began, enduring to this day. Purchasing his first bike in 1975 was just the beginning of a series of free-wheeling expeditions and escapades that broadened his respect for human kindness, created new and cherished memories to share, and satisfied his wanderlust. The book is chockablock with entertaining anecdotes about his struggles after losing a job, selling his bike, and trying to recapture a sense of the life he had before his employment woes settled in. He recounts stories of a 1997 move to the Far East, where he searched for opportunities and personal enrichment but ultimately felt life in China overwhelmed him. He fell ill with meningitis while in Hong Kong, then spontaneously accepted a family member’s offer of money to buy another motorcycle and start again. The author writes lucidly about a 2008 project management job constructing golf courses in Hanoi that sadly ended yet inspired him to realize a long-held goal of trekking unencumbered across Vietnam. Traversing over 40,000 miles around Vietnam—visiting now-familiar sights, village families, and stretches of roadway—Rinowski realized that the most important aspect of his travels was not the destination but the journey itself. “Chance, fortune, and curiosity led me more than an itinerary,” he writes poetically. “I immersed in each with bliss and joy.” Through oppressive heat, chilling drizzles, and chronic lower back pain, the author persevered and enjoyed the motorcycle odyssey while garnering quite a reputation for his renowned “Fat Boy” bike. Rinowski’s sense of place is astoundingly striking, and readers will be able to visualize the many locales through prose that shimmers with authenticity and frank descriptions. Despite a language barrier that he worked hard to surmount and warnings to be wary of riding alone, the author soldiered on, and his wonderment at the people and places he saw is palpable in the pages of his engrossing memoir. From sweltering summers in Hanoi to Vietnam’s Dak Lak mountains to hairpin turns descending toward the Lamayuru Buddhist colony in India, his travels are breathless and exhilarating yet also poignant, as when he returns to American soil in 2013 to pay tribute at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Several sections of gorgeous, uncredited color photographs not only bring Rinowski’s expansive trip to vibrant life, but also spotlight the many people (of various ages and ethnicities) he befriended along the way. Suffused with immense pride and self-confidence, the author exhibits great daring and vigor within a rousing travelogue that’s appealing, historically astute, crisply written, and a terrific guide on how to cover long distances by motorcycle. The book is ideal for armchair adventurers, travel enthusiasts, and members of the military.   

An impressively detailed, spunky thrill ride steeped in wanderlust, renewal, and the excitement of the great outdoors.

Pub Date: Dec. 7, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9882838-6-2

Page Count: 263

Publisher: Tracks Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 6, 2019

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

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").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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