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Badlands
 
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Badlands [Format Kindle]

Tony Wheeler

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Descriptions du produit

Présentation de l'éditeur

In an age of plastic knives on planes, Tony Wheeler can make the extraordinary claim of having visited all the rogue countries currently on newreaders' lip. Badlands is a witty first-hand account of his travels through some of the most repressive anddangerous regimes in the world: Afghanistan, Albania, Burma (Myanmar), Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea and Saudi Arabia. Taking into account each country's attitude to human rights, terrorism and foreign policy, he asks 'what makes a countrytruly evil?' and 'how bad is really bad?' - all the while engaging with a colorful cast of locals and hapless tour guides, ruminating on history and debunking popular myths. Written by the founder of Lonely Planet, this fascinating account oflife in these closed-off countries will appeal to anyone with an interest in the state of the world today

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 715 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 352 pages
  • Editeur : Lonely Planet; Édition : 2 (1 avril 2011)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B004MYH1JI
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Word Wise: Non activé
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°267.665 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Amazon.com: 3.5 étoiles sur 5  21 commentaires
11 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Pretty disappointing 1 août 2007
Par T. Jacob - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Knowing Tony's adventurous spirit, I was so excited to get this book and read his take on these mysterious countries that people know so little about. The book, it turns out, is more or less a collection of Tony's musings, combined with historical antecdotes and the occassional use of the words "bad lands" or "danger". It struck me as a last minute, pull-something-together-so-we-can-make-money project that would not have been published if the author didn't own the company. Yes, Tony does some cool stuff and goes off the beaten trail, but then he bogs it all down in an overkill of historical research and tries to paint a slick coat of "Danger!" all over it. It just doesn't work it so many places, and makes for a cumbersome read. Lonely Planet remains my absolute favorite source for travel information, but this mode of expression doesn't seem to suit Tony as well as others.
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Gallivanting through the Axis of Evil 10 mai 2008
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
"Libya is one of the most comprehensively trashed countries I've ever visited." - Author Tony Wheeler in BAD LANDS

Co-founder (with his wife, Maureen) of Lonely Planet Publications, Tony Wheeler here describes his travels through nine countries generally considered "bad lands" by Western societies because of their poor treatment of their own citizens, their involvement in terrorism, and the threat they pose to other countries. The nine are Afghanistan, Albania, Myanmar (Burma), Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia. Except for areas in Iraq which Wheeler was careful to skirt, none of the nine are particularly dangerous for the individual visitor.

In the genre of travel essays, BAD LANDS is commendably out of the ordinary in that it includes a 16-page center section of color photographs. I guess if your book is being published your own publishing company, you can afford this extravagance.

While reading the first chapter on Afghanistan, I thought Wheeler's writing rather stiff and I was somewhat dreading the experience of the whole. But in following chapters, he loosens up considerably and becomes a congenial and wryly humorous guide. For instance, this paragraph about Cuba:

"Every other woman walking by was wearing the standard Cuban fashion statements: short, tight, low, high, stretched. Preferably in Lycra ... In Cuba no women can be too big, too wide, too round for Lycra. 'Thrusting femininity' was the two-word definition of the Cuban approach to fashion, according to one visiting travel writer ..."

Published in 2007, BAD LANDS provides a roomy front window for the reader to peer out into the contemporary society of each nation visited, as well as useful rear window overlooking their recent pasts.

I'd award five stars except for the last two chapters, "The Evil Meter" and "Other Bad Lands: The Extended List." In the former, Tony rates, on a scale of 1 to 10, each of the nine subject nations: 1-3 points for domestic oppression, 1-3 for support or participation in terrorism, 1-3 for international belligerency, and a bonus point for Personality Cult centered around the national leader. I didn't mind so much that Wheeler calibrated his meter with such countries as the United States, Australia, the UK, and France and found them registering on the scale, albeit at a low level. But, when he carried the concept over into the latter chapter and mentions such garden spots as Somalia, Congo/Zaire, Angola, Haiti, Papua New Guinea, Pakistan, Syria and (in his mind) the evil conjoined twins, Israel and Palestine, without making even the most rudimentary mention of an obvious twosome, resurgent Russia and China, then I began to doubt his objectivity. Perhaps he should just stay with travel writing and skip the editorializing.
9 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 For Casual Reading, Nothing Serious 31 octobre 2007
Par Chan Joon Yee - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Tony Wheeler writes about his trip to Afghanistan, Albania, Myanmar, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Saudi Arabia.

Apart from Saudi Arabia, the rest of the countries in the list have all been demonised by the Western media. Are they really that bad? This book does not pretend to have all the answers or even the last say. Wheeler's writing style is rather typical of the humourous, cynical, sarcastic and sometimes overly opinionated style that you may encounter in Lonely Planet guides.

There's quite a bit of on-the-road reports and even more "background info" which is obtained more from research than personal experience. Informative this book is, but it is certainly not a scholarly piece or anything close to investigative journalism. Wheeler was just a tourist (and he states that explicitly on the cover of the book). There were only a couple of times when the author encountered danger. You won't read about any prohibited entries into restricted areas, illegal investigations, shocking revelations and close brushes with the authorities. It's just the sort of travelogue that you and I might write if we ever dare to go to all these places. I have only been to Myanmar myself. Afghanistan and Iraq? No way. This is certainly not the sort of travelogue that anyone can write. For that and for readability, I give the author some credit even though there is nothing sensational about this book.

At the end of the book, is an Evil Meter. True to the judgemental Lonely Planet spirit, he author judges the evilness of each country by his own subjective and limited knowledge - which is probably an unintentional joke. It doesn't spoil the fun of reading the book, but the author doesn't win any credibility points either.
9 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Disappointing 4 novembre 2007
Par David - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
This book is a mix of tour guide and political commentary. Unfortunately, the author is much better at the former than the latter. While Israel was not considered a badland, chapters on every country have comments indicating that the author does not believe the "badland" is really as bad as Israel. Why not then include it as a badland from the start and present a more thorough analysis? About the United States, the author really seems to have a lack of understanding of American political thought. The complexity of US foreign policy (that I also frequently disagree with) is unfortunately turned into a simplistic sterotype. While the author is trying to be iconoclastic and present readers including Americans with a non-American perspective of the world, this should have been done in a deeper, more thoughtful and more systematic way. Parts of the book read like a superficial knee-jerk. While, comments about North Korea genuinely believing that it might be attacked are probably right, discussion about the US invading Afghanistan instead of Saudi Arabia after 9/11 mainly because Saudi Arabia has oil seem off the mark. Overall, the political commentary is superficial, naive, and sometimes illogical. The author should have collaborated with a historian or political scientist in writing the book.

On the other hand, the narrative is entertaining and the travel log discussion is interesting. I bought the book to learn things about the countries he visited and what life is like there for both locals and tourists. The book is not a complete failure from this perspective, but I expected better.

Find a book written by a political scientist or historian on these countries instead if you are looking for what I was looking for.
4 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Good Travels, Weak Politics 20 août 2008
Par doomsdayer520 - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
This book is more serious than many of the typical cooler-than-thou Lonely Planet travel guides. Tony Wheeler, as a founder of the franchise, has the experience with dangerous (or at least maddeningly inconvenient) world travel to make this book quite readable initially. Countries that are demonized in the Western press should not be avoided just because they're part of a politician's axis of evil. As Lonely Planet fans will surely know, regular folks and unheralded scenic wonders can make travel to unpopular places surprisingly rewarding.

Here Wheeler delivers the goods on several such nations, finding some charm in forgotten Albania, friendly folks in not-so-evil Iran, and natural wonders in Myanmar/Burma. He also digs up some dirt on the hidden joys offered by the citizens and scenery of the isolated and xenophobic Cuba and North Korea. This makes for good armchair travel reading. The problem is that being an experienced world traveler and keen observer of unappreciated lands do not qualify Wheeler for political analysis, which he proceeds to do anyway for most of the nations covered herein.

While I tend to agree with Wheeler's political viewpoints at a high level, his pronouncements on the complexities of Western foreign policy (especially in chapters on Iraq and Saudi Arabia) are simplistic at best. Wheeler has an unfortunate Michael Moore-like habit of following up quick lists of political grievances with one-paragraph proposed solutions to huge geopolitical crises. Also, this book is nearly ruined by the second-to-last chapter in which Wheeler concocts an "Evil Meter" (TM) in which he assigns his own scoring system to the countries visited. This may have been a tongue-in-cheek exercise but it's unsuccessful as either irony or commentary. The good news is that Wheeler really brings out the rewards of visiting people and places that have been unfairly maligned and ignored because of their overlords. Wheeler should have just stuck to that aspect of travel writing. [~doomsdayer520~]
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