Old Glory – Jonathan Raban

Erenst Hemingway


One of the best river travel books you’ll ever come across.  Was particularly interesting to read this while on a voyage up the Amazon but Raban’s great book of the Mississippi is really full of the sort of big river character – or glory – that could as easily relate to the Amazon, or the Mekong, or the Nile. The book is well written, befitting master travel-writer Raban, and is as much as homage to North America’s greatest river as it is to the fascinating characters (some loveable, some despicable) who live along it.

I have had this book on my shelf and have been meaning to read it for more than 15 years. If I recall, I think I bought it from a secondhand shop in London. I read it in Nicaragua (on a river trip on the Rio San Juan), then in Panama and on the Amazon. I thought the most fitting place to leave it would be on a classic Amazonian cargo boat so I left it onboard the ‘Rodrigues Alves`(from Belem, Para).

 

Kitbaggers book project – travel literature on speed.

Have you ever handled a classic paperback and wondered where it’s been and whose hands it passed through? Do you love the well-handled look of a book that’s obviously seen decades of serious mileage through places you might only have imagined?

This project was conceived long ago through a conversation (in San Jose, Costa Rica) between a group of friends who’d wondered about these same things and thought it would be interesting to try to trace the history of just a few random books that we read on the road.

More than just a review – this is also the story of a single adventurous copy that’s probably still out there touring the world somewhere. Let us know if you find it.

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