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The Best American Travel Writing 2004 (Best American Travel Writing)by Pico Iyer
Synopses & Reviews
Since its inception in 1915, the Best American series has become the premier annual showcase for the country's finest short fiction and nonfiction. For each volume, a series editor reads pieces from hundreds of periodicals, then selects between fifty and a hundred outstanding works. That selection is pared down to twenty or so very best pieces by a guest editor who is widely recognized as a leading writer in his or her field. This unique system has helped make the Best American series the most respected — and most popular — of its kind.
The Best American Travel Writing 2004 transports readers from Patagonia to Ivory Coast to small-town Vermont. Readers are treated to car and truck trips across America, can fall in lust in the South Pacific, and go into the heart of the Congo to rescue gorillas. This year's volume is edited by Pico Iyer, who writes in his fascinating introduction, Restlessness is part of the American way. It's part of what brought many of the rest of us to America. The Best American Travel Writing 2004 displays American restlessness at its most tantalizing and entertaining.
"This dizzying collection proves that travel writing goes far beyond the romance and adventure most readers associate with the genre. It might better be called 'the state of the world 2004,' and although it does include a few romantic and escapist adventures (two in Patagonia and one on a South Sea island), the overall tone is disturbingly somber. Skiing in gorgeous Kashmiri mountains requires entering a war zone. Afghanistan is doing its best to attract tourists, despite warlords, damaged bridges and land mines. Abidjan, Ivory Coast, once a prosperous cosmopolis, has degenerated into Third World poverty, and its youth have rejected tradition and emulate U.S. 'gangstas.' Mark Jenkins's ambition to hike the Stillwell Road across India, Burma and China becomes a humbling realization of his own arrogance in light of the devastating reality of life for the Burmese. Mountain gorillas, threatened with extinction by the civil war in Congo, embody peace as the humans brutally slaughter each other. The collection also includes compelling cultural musings: multiculturalism in Brazil; what the 'endangered species' status of local radio in the U.S. means for cultural diversity; America's changing relationship with Europe. And there are a few light moments: riding the high-tech Segway around Paris; a spoof on a screenwriter's family vacation. Iyer's picks for 2004 reveal the huge diversity of life today." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"26 excellent articles....The selections are lively reads, and Iyer's introduction, which places travel writing in its context, is a welcome bonus." Library Journal
A celebration of adventure and curiosity, The Best American Travel Writing 2004 transports readers from Patagonia to the Ivory Coast to small-town Vermont. Travel by car and truck across America; fall in lust in the South Paciﬁc; go into the heart of the Congo to rescue gorillas. "Restlessness is part of the American way," Iyer writes in his introduction. "It"s part of what brought many of the rest of us to America." This year"s volume displays American restlessness at its ﬁnest and most tantalizing.
A celebration of adventure and curiosity, this compilation transports readersfrom Patagonia to the Ivory Coast to small-town Vermont.
About the Author
Jason Wilson is a prolific travel writer, having published numerous travel essays in such publications as HEMISPHERES, THE WASHINGTON POST, TRAVEL &LEISURE, THE NEW YORK TIMES, P.O.V., NEW ENGLAND REVIEW, THE TIMES PICAYUNE, FLIGHT, CONTINENTAL, AMERICAN WAY, TRIP, THE PHILADELPHIA CITY PAPER, among many other prestigious publications. His travel writing has also earned him three Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Awards for both "Best Magazine Article on a U.S. Destination" and "Best Magazine Article on a Foreign Destination," three Society of Professional Journalists Awards for Magazine Feature Writing, a Garden State Association of Black Journalists Award, and has been selected as "Notable Essay" in THE BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS 1997, 1998, and 1999. Mr. Wilson was also the founder of the now-defunct, but well-loved travel journal, GRAND TOUR, which THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER called, "A travel journal with two kinds of writing: good and better," and which THE WASHINGTON POST called, "A fine new magazine...creating a new home for the best sort of travel writing...the editors have an eye for writers who can take the smallest moments of existence abroad, and exalt them." Mr. Wilson has taught magazine writing and creative writing at a number of universities, and will be teaching travel writing at the graduate level at Rosemont College in the Philadelphia area beginning in Spring 2000.Pico Iyer is the author of Tropical Classical, Falling Off the Map, The Lady and the Monk, and Video Night in Kathmandu. His newest book, Abandon, will be published in 2003. A writer for Time magazine since 1982, Iyer's work has also been published in The New Yorker, Harper's, The New York Times Magazine, and Sports Illustrated.
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