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The Gringo Trail [Paperback]

Mark Mann
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 15 2001
Sad, funny, shocking. The Gringo Trail is an On The Road for the Lonely Planet generation. A darkly comic road-trip and a revealing journey through South America's turbulent history.

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Product Description


'The expected litany of amazing experiences and 'wow moments' feature regularly... inspiring ideas for anyone planning a backpacking trip.' Real Travel --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Mark Mann lives in London and Sydney. He writes travel articles and is the author of The Good Alternative Travel Guide for Tourism Concern. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars The Gringo trail just didn't hit the mark, man May 12 2003
By Matt
I must admit I had to read this in one sitting. Not for the fact that I liked it, but unfortunetly I have a habit of once starting a book, no matter how bad, I have to finish it. And I needed to finish this one pretty quickly. I did like Marks love of the continent, but that wasn't enough to keep the story together. It was almost like reading my sisters diary when a child, but without the secrets, gossip and intrigue. And that's all this was - a diary, speckled with historical snip bits. The trouble with diaries that are published as stories is they lack the beginning, middle and end needed to satisfy the reader. To be fair, I could have forgiven him for missing the first two out. The Gringo Trail is a collection of experiences that fail to deliver on their promises of excitement and discovery, and makes you end up wishing Mark had made it up instead. Which I'm sure he is very capable of doing. Some true stories are well worth telling, and this is one of them... but more in the pub than published sense.
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2.0 out of 5 stars ...or, "what I did on my summer vacation" Feb. 3 2003
This author writes "By 1492, after trying for 800 years, Ferdinand and Isabella had finally expelled the Moors from Spain." Wow. That and the reference to Japanese "Banzai trees" marks this book as not so much poorly written as poorly edited. No surprise that when I went back to look at the gushing blurb on the cover, I found it was quoted from a soft-porn lad-mag.
This book is candy. It might be interesting to people who have never done this sort of travel, and who are fascinated by the idea of giving it a try. But for the tens of millions of us who having done it for ourselves, the journey this book describes is very ordinary. Here is yet another little band of angry, self-righteous British slackers, who escape work by puking and quarrelling their way across the 3rd world.
And this book is nothing more than the diary of the trip. Episode after episode, one wonders, "what was the point of that little story?" The author at one point ponders splitting off from his two companions, but it is clear why he doesn't: most of this book is about his interactions with them. Without someone to spat with, he would have little to fill the pages.
To give his work gravitas, he follows the formula of interleaving his personal narrative with leftish social-historical-political commentary. He even includes a bibliography of all of 20 books! It is just added gloss on the basic pretension that this trip is some sort of spiritual pilgrimage, an anthropological exploration into recondite psychedelic shamanic practices. He is flattering himself. He and his friends are just a slightly more educated breed of yobs, going where others have gone before.
He could aspire to be a chronicler, at least, of the yob backpacking scene. In a sense, he is.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Gringo Trail Oct. 1 2002
DJ Wheeler needs to get a life (see review below), girlfriend or both.
The Gringo Trail is one of the most interesting books I've read in ages. OK, so some of the jokes are a bit corny but it livens up the (interesting) background info on the Andean countries Mann and his travelling companions visit.
I couldn't put it down and friends who've read it agree that this book has really captured the spirit of backpacking, more so than The Beach.
I would recommend this book to anyone thinking of visiting South America. And, like me, if you've been to some of the places Mann mentions, you will really be able to relate to what he has written.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Obviously divides opinion - but I loved it! July 10 2003
Judging by the other reviews, this is a book you either love or hate. Well, I loved it! For me, this book captured the feeling of backpacking better than any I've read (far better than The Beach, for sure), and the evocative descriptions of the places on the Andean 'gringo trail' are spot on. It's also funny, and the story of the three main characters is far more than just 'a diary' of their trip, as it moves subtly towards the book's climactic episode. In short, backpackers and would-be backpackers should definitely read this book - especially if you've been to, or have any interest in visiting, South America.
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4.0 out of 5 stars 'ey gringo, is no' so bad man!!!! June 16 2004
For those of you who like your travel experiences to be wild and exciting, 'The Gringo Trail' has to be worth a read. Mark Mann cleverly strings together his experiences of travelling in Latin America, with astute cultural observations and hair raising experiences. From hold ups on public transport, to drug fuelled mayhem and Shamanism, Mann gorges himself on all the diversity that South america has to offer. An enjoyable read, sure to be exchanged on the travelling circuit for many years to come!!!
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