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Lonely Planet On the Edge: Extreme Travels [Paperback]

Cecil Kuhne
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Oct. 1 2000 Lonely Planet Travel Literature
On the Edge is a collection of heart-pumping adventures from some of the world's best travel writers. By foot, by vehicle, by animal, these travellers have ventured far off the beaten track: Jeff Greenwald becomes lost in the Persian Gulf on a rat-infested ship; William Dalrymple meets security guards in a forbidden area of China; and Eric Newby clings to the rigging of a sailing ship during a hurricane.

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From Amazon

"Travel far enough and you're bound to have the odd moment on the edge", writes Lonely Planet founder Tony Wheeler in his preface to On The Edge; except that most contributors to this "adventurous escapades" collection got there by choice rather than unlucky accident. There are more than 30 extracts of gallant expedition books, from Arctic crossings to Everest scaling. Also included are close-shave tales from star travel writers such as Eric Newby and Paul Theroux, who comments, "Travel is pointless without certain risks".

On The Edge speedily whisks you to the heart of the action, beginning with Mark Jenkins hair-raising account of three men in kayaks greeting crocodiles on an African river. "On every journey there is something waiting for you", he writes, "Something specific. When you find it, you will think it just happened to be there, but in fact it was there only for you. It is not a coincidence".

From here on, the white-knuckle moments come thick and fast. Each extract is only a few pages, skipping tedious expedition-planning diatribes for the real excitement: from cyclists in Zambia being mistaken for South African spies to encounters with gorillas, bears, death and storms at sea. The Texan editor Cecil Kunne is a real adrenaline junkie, one of the world's kayaking/rafting experts (when not being a lawyer). Having written nine books on the subject, he inevitably chooses many canoeing capers.

Most extracts come from the highly traditional intrepid explorer genre, dating back to Victorian grand "expeditions". The question is, does it take you to the frontier of human existence; or just the "edge" of the white man's world? Buzz Aldrin's account of his first steps on the moon (and the miniature Presbyterian communion he held before he took them) definitely does. However the "edge" in many of the stories is simply daily life for the "natives", from Aborigines to Zairian gorilla rangers. This aside, On The Edge is an excellent sampler, providing easily digestible chapters. Ideal for reading between tube stops as well as on epic treks. --Sarah Champion

From Booklist

Thirty-three contributors are included in this anthology of travel pieces, which is divided into eight sections: Africa, Oceania, Antarctica, North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and the moon. Yes, the moon--a piece written by astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin about his space travel. Paul Theroux is the other familiar name here. In an excerpt from The Old Patagonian Express: By Train through the Americas, Theroux writes about the rabid soccer fans during a match he attended in San Salvador. The adventurous escapades include a frightening mountaineering accident in South America, a strange trip across the Sahara on a camel, and an epic bicycle journey from Ireland to India in which the cyclist climbed to 10,380 feet over the Shibar Pass. Other writers describe a nightmare--a freezing bus ride through a bleak mountain region of China, a hike in the rain forests of the Borneo jungle, and a winter voyage by boat to Antarctica. Some of these accounts are humorous, some are scary, and all are engrossing. George Cohen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended for the Toilet Traveler Oct. 28 2001
Format:Paperback
To dub me green when it comes to the travel-writing genre - not to mention trekking beyond the borders of the United States - admittedly qualifies as an understatement. Especially when jaded notions of exploring the world around me are relegated to the obligatory business trip every other week compounded with the daily bump and grind of inching through St. Louis traffic. Indeed, the time is opportune for escape. And it was with "Lonely Planet . . . On the Edge" that I initiated a fresh journey into unexplored literary terrain.
Critically, I possess no frame of reference to compare the contributions to this anthology with those writings outside it - after all, what is good travel writing and what is poor travel writing to someone who has never read travel writing? That being said, I was pleased to discover "On the Edge" provided a fantastic release from the tedium of the mundane, whether or not my body eventually traverses these same grounds as my mind so vividly did with this collection.
With 33 respected and well-seasoned authors jam-packed into a book numbering less than 230 pages, the entries are bound to be compact and succinct, a fitting vehicle for the essential lunchtime retreat or the bedtime ritual of winding down. Not to mention the benefits it provides the "toilet traveler," usurping bathroom breaks to sneak in 10-minute peeks into the perceived eccentricities of our global neighbors, near and far.
"Lonely Planet . . . On the Edge" whisked me around the world and to the moon and back again. And, if I understand travel writing in general and this book in particular, isn't that the point?
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Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended for the Toilet Traveler Oct. 28 2001
By Shawn Wedel - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
To dub me green when it comes to the travel-writing genre - not to mention trekking beyond the borders of the United States - admittedly qualifies as an understatement. Especially when jaded notions of exploring the world around me are relegated to the obligatory business trip every other week compounded with the daily bump and grind of inching through St. Louis traffic. Indeed, the time is opportune for escape. And it was with "Lonely Planet . . . On the Edge" that I initiated a fresh journey into unexplored literary terrain.
Critically, I possess no frame of reference to compare the contributions to this anthology with those writings outside it - after all, what is good travel writing and what is poor travel writing to someone who has never read travel writing? That being said, I was pleased to discover "On the Edge" provided a fantastic release from the tedium of the mundane, whether or not my body eventually traverses these same grounds as my mind so vividly did with this collection.
With 33 respected and well-seasoned authors jam-packed into a book numbering less than 230 pages, the entries are bound to be compact and succinct, a fitting vehicle for the essential lunchtime retreat or the bedtime ritual of winding down. Not to mention the benefits it provides the "toilet traveler," usurping bathroom breaks to sneak in 10-minute peeks into the perceived eccentricities of our global neighbors, near and far.
"Lonely Planet . . . On the Edge" whisked me around the world and to the moon and back again. And, if I understand travel writing in general and this book in particular, isn't that the point?
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not what's expected March 30 2005
By Anemone - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I am a big fan of travel writing, but i have to say that this book was a bit too formal/bit to professional for what's usually expected of them. Don't get me wrong, they are still good stories and well written, just not exactly what I'm used to when purchasing a travel journal-type book. it was written so formally that it didn't really hold my attention as much as other books I have read. (for example: by lonely planet, "Rite of Passage: Tales of Backpacking 'round Europe" is a great read. try that if you are more into reading for pleasure and enjoyment and learning INSTEAD of a literary work).
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