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Travelers' Tales India: True Stories [Paperback]

James O'Reilly , Larry Habegger
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Jan. 27 2004 Travelers' Tales Guides
India is among the most difficult—and most rewarding—of places to travel. Some have said India stands for "I'll Never Do It Again." Many more are drawn back time after time because India is the best show on earth, the best bazaar of human experiences that can be visited in a lifetime. India dissolves ideas about what it means to be alive, and its people give new meaning to compassion, perseverance, ingenuity, and friendship. India—monsoon and marigold, dung and dust, colors and corpses, smoke and ash, snow and endless myth—is a cruel, unrelenting place of ineffable sweetness. Much like life itself. Journey to the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, the world's biggest party, with David Yeadon and take "A Bath for Fifteen Million People"; greet the monsoon with Alexancer Frater where the Indian and Pacific Oceans meet; track the endangered Indian One-Horned Rhinoceros through the jungles of Assam with Larry Habegger; encounter the anguish of the caste system with Steve Coll; discover the eternal power of the "monument of love," the Taj Mahal, with Jonah Blank; and much more.

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Review

"O'Reilly and Habegger have assembled a marvelous and quite diverse selection of stories on India."

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"SPRING CAME AND I FELT CLAUSTROPHOBIC, HEMMED IN BY THE city." Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Going to India? Read this book first!!! Sept. 6 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My first visit to India is coming up and I stumbled upon this book when perusing the titles of Indian books that might enlighten me on this great country - and possibly soften the culture shock everyone speaks of. I love it!! Each story has a different flavour, a different aspect of India by traveller-writers. They are honest and refreshing.

Whilst we all need the Lonely Planet guide books, this gives a personal view of actual Indian life - little snippets, often only 2 or 3 pages long, from the traveller's experiences. A must-read if you are travelling to India, or even if you are just an armchair traveller!
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars launching point for learning about India or planning a trip to India Oct. 7 2006
By Robert Reid - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I'm giving this book five stars not because the individual travel stories comprising this are five star stories (though many of them are), but because the breadth of subject matter and perspectives this book offers are remarkable. From the frosty passes of the Himalayas to the bustling streets of Calcutta, from the Ganges to shores of Goa, from the rarely-visited tribal interior to the even more desolate Rann of Kutch, this book portrays a country with a topography perhaps as diverse as Europe's. From the barriers of caste to the oppression of women, this book portrays a social evolution still in progress but with roots in ancient times.

Highlights for me included Rory Nugent's eccentric search for the supposedly extinct pink-headed duck, and David Yeadon's brilliant portrayal of character interactions (including an Indian interrupting his narrative digression in real time "Sir, are you hearing me, sir?"). For every traveler that timidly scratched the surface of India without real discovery (such as a particularly uptight and sheltered Oxford Fellow's first trip) there was one so recklessly bold that you're glad you could relive the experience from the safety of your own home (including one author's visit to a tribal island where past visitors had been killed). Somewhere in the middle there's bound to be powerful inspiration for a trip of one's own.

Reading this book was not only satisfying, but served as a launching point for future reading of the complete works from which these tales were excerpted (David Yeadon's Back of the Beyond and Jonah Blank's Arrow of the Blue Skinned God seemed particularly interesting to me).
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vicariously experience the best and worst of India July 22 2004
By Catherine Decker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I read this book after reading the DK guide to India and Leila Hadley?s A Journey with Elsa Cloud (the latter is about a tour of parts of India in the 70s). This excellent collection of true stories really made all the places come alive and gave me a much richer and fuller sense of India than I could get from just Hadley?s book. The poverty, sexism, and daily encounters with excrement that are a part of life in India are compellingly conveyed at the same time as we come to feel the vast heavy weight of so many centuries of history, so much spiritual questing, so much diminished glory. Since I finished the book, I have found myself repeating stories to friends from the excerpts from Rory Nugent?s The Search for the Pink-Headed Duck and from Mark Shand?s Travels on My Elephant, which were particularly vivid and fascinating to me. There are a suprising number of tales featuring cyclists--evidently India is a popular place to tour by bike.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TRAVELERS' TALES INDIA Oct. 13 2008
By Ruby M. Kidd - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a delightful, easy read by many authors on India and their travel experiences. I found it interesting to hear these tales and dive into their wild mix of stories. India is a multi layered, historical and moving place to travel. Most of my books on India are by Indian authors so the insight from foreign travelers was a different 'read' and of value. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in or wants to travel to India.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a fantastic journey! Jan. 29 2009
By kstme - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have recommended this book to almost anyone who will listen to me, whether they are interested in India or not! It is sad, funny, informative and a bit scary. It doesn't leave you when you've finished it. You think about the Truck Road, the people who won't allow touching, the absolute poverty and all the goodness given to make you feel welcome...depending on 'where' you are at the particular junction of the book.

I have never been to India. I've learned to understand Hindi, although, I would never be so presumptuous to speak it. I have studied the country and it's history for the last few years. This book gave me more insight, in the three days it took to read, then all the books I've read in the past. Take the time to read it. Savor it and enjoy!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Range of Perspectives April 22 2008
By Jessie Wachter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I agree with the above reviews. There is such a variety of subject matter and types of writing collected in this book and I found myself saving so many pages with great information about places in India that I had not yet heard about but wanted to make sure I visited now when I plan my own trip!
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