William Least Heat-Moon set out with little more than the need to put home behind him and a sense of curiosity about "those little towns that get on the map -- if they get on at all -- only because some cartographer has a blank space to fill: Remote, Oregon; Simplicity, Virginia; New Freedom, Pennsylvania; New Hope, Tennessee; Why, Arizona; Whynot, Mississippi."
His adventures, his discoveries, and his recollections of the extraordinary people he encountered along the way amount to a revelation of the true American experience.
Vishnu Maya, called Aama (Mother) by everyone in her tiny Nepalese village, was living high in the Himalayas when she befriended American Peace Corps worker Broughton Coburn in 1974. In 1988, Aama came to visit him--on a trip prescribed by village priests as a way for the eighty-four-year-old, four-foot-eight woman to earn merit by making a difficult journey late in life.Aama in Americais a vivid chronicle of what became a twenty-five-state, coast-to-coast adventure. Guided by the perpetual curiosity and deeply spiritual orientation of their ingenious, unpredictable travel companion, Coburn and his fianc e gradually began to view their country from an entirely new perspective. Beneath the uniform, commercial, man-made epidermis of our country, Coburn writes, Aama found a culture and landscape that was alive and sacred, and she steered us toward it. Aama in America is on one level an offbeat American travelogue. But on another it is a profound exploration of beliefs, values, and lost spirituality, a rediscovery of the spiritual that lies beneath the surface of America, and a singular account of the meeting of two widely divergent cultures.
Taking up where his beloved A Year in Provence leaves off, Peter Mayle offers us another funny, beautifully (and deliciously) evocative book about life in Provence. With tales only one who lives there could know--of finding gold coins while digging in the garden, of indulging in sumptuous feasts at truck stops--and with characters introduced with great affection and wit--the gendarme fallen from grace, the summer visitors ever trying the patience of even the most genial Proven aux, the straightforward dog Boy--Toujours Provence is a heart-warming portrait of a place where, if you can't quite get away from it all, you can surely have a very good time trying.
Presents a collection of humorous accounts of travel adventures taking the author to the rapids beneath the Himalayas, the "grand terror" of Montana, Dian Fossey's forbidden zone, a fundamentalist commune, and beyond
It is as vast as the United States and so arid that most bacteria cannot survive there. Its loneliness is so extreme it is said that migratory birds will land beside travelers, just for the company. William Langewiesche came to the Sahara to see it as its inhabitants do, riding its public transport, braving its natural and human dangers, depending on its sparse sustenance and suspect hospitality. From his journey, which took him across the desert's hyperarid core from Algiers to Dakar, he has crafted a contemporary classic of travel writing.In a narrative studded with gemlike discourses on subjects that range from the physics of sand dunes to the history of the Tuareg nomads, Langewiesche introduces us to the Sahara's merchants, smugglers, fixers, and expatriates. Eloquent and precise, Sahara Unveiled blends history and reportage, anthropology and anecdote, into an unforgettable portrait of the world's most romanticized yet most forbidding desert.
The definitive book on the most famous road in American history-- now published in paperback to celebrate the highway's 66th anniversary.
It began in the early 1920s with a vision of a paved highway that would connect Chicago to Los Angeles and the West. By the time of its completion, the road would cover over 2,400 miles, three time zones, and eight states. It would link the windy shores of Lake Michigan with the waters of the Pacific Ocean-- a two-lane road rolling together through the great American Southwest, tying together the vestiges of America's pioneer passages into one meandering and magnificent highway.
Route 66. It was the road of dreamers and ramblers, drifters and writers: the road of John Steinbeck, Woody Guthrie, and Jack Kerouac. A ribbon of American highway that transported the Okies, driven from their land as storms of dust swept across their farms, to the promise of California. It was also the highway of commerce-- of automated ice-cream stands and old "no-tell" motels, salty truck stops, and a neon allure. Phillips 66, Coca-Cola, Burma Shave. It was Bobby Troup's "Get Your Kicks on Route 66." It was the lights and the breeze and the radio and the litany of towns: Joplin, Flagstaff, San Bernardino. A smilin', "Hi-how're-y'all-doin-t'night" big-boned waitress and a steamin' cup of coffee. Route 66, the passage west, the road of flight, the Mother Road.
After seventeen years of research, Michael Wallis has compiled "the" definitive book on the most legendary road in American history. Wallis weaves together a rich tapestry of eight decades that chronicles the road from its founding to its demise with the advent of the interstate system, and to its current unprecedented revival. "Route 66" is also a pictorial journey of nearly three hundred images that detail the highway's history, roadside diners, motels, forgotten towns, and most impressively, its people.
Two years after its nostalgia-inspiring hardcover publication, Michael Wallis's bestselling "Route 66" finally appears here in its first paperback edition. It is a book, unlike any in recent social history, that has spawned a national movement, brought new hope to those pockets of the American prairies where hope had long since vanished, and revived a dying American road.
The acclaimed author of Motoring with Mohammed brings us a compelling adventure into the remarkable world of the orchid and the impossibly bizarre array of international characters who dedicte their lives to it.The orchid is used for everything from medicine for elephants to an aphrodisiac ice cream. A Malaysian species can grow to weigh half a ton while a South American species fires miniature pollen darts at nectar-sucking bees. But the orchid is also the center of an illicit international business: one grower in Santa Barbara tends his plants while toting an Uzi, and a former collector has been in hiding for seven years after serving a jail sentence for smuggling thirty dollars worth of orchids into Britain. Deftly written and captivatingly researched, Orchid Fever is an endlessly enchanting and entertaining tour of an exotic world. "A wonderful book, I've been up all night reading it, laughing and crying out in horror and clucking at the vivid images of bureaucracy with the bit in its teeth." --Annie Proulx "An extraordinary, well-told tale of botany, obsession and plant politics. Hansen's vivid descriptions of the complex techniques some orchids use to pollinate themselves will raise your eyebrows at nature's sexual ingenuity." --USA Today