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One Foot in Laos

3.53  ·  Rating Details  ·  87 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
Nestled between Vietnam to the east, Myanmar and China to the north, Thailand to the west and Cambodia to the south, Laos has long suffered from the depredations of its larger neighbors. But the biggest bully in its history was the United States which, starting in 1964, carried on a "secret war" against Laos. By the time of the ceasefire in February 1973, Laos had become t ...more
Hardcover
Published October 14th 1999 by John Murray
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Community Reviews

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Mike
Mar 08, 2011 Mike rated it it was ok
Dervla Murphy self-righteously refers to western travelers as "wimps". Meanwhile she rides a piece-of-crap bicycle with no brakes through Laos, terrorizing the villagers and drinking all of their beer. This book is less a travel book than a long and annoying rant about the evils of the western world. Though I share many of the author's views, I found her tone to be off-putting and obnoxious. I also found her translations, based as they were upon drunken charades rather than any actual language s ...more
Sally Tarbox
Oct 03, 2014 Sally Tarbox rated it liked it
Shelves: travel
"Were I to return in a few years I would not find the same Laos", October 3, 2014

This review is from: One Foot in Laos (Hardcover)
Published in 1999, after an intrepid lone tour of Laos by the author - a charismatic 60-something lady on a bike. From the temples and colonial architecture of the capital, up into remote mountains and tiny villages where foreigners are a rarity; Ms Murphy chronicles her journey, from the amusing to the picturesque.
This is, however, a serious book, focussing at lengt
...more
Kathleen McRae
Feb 16, 2016 Kathleen McRae rated it really liked it
Dervla might be quite pointed at times but I enjoy her ability to travel as she does and to have the knowledge she does and to include that history and politics with her dialogue
Kiril
Jul 10, 2012 Kiril rated it really liked it
I just finished the book today - it is the first book by Dervla Murhpy I have read, and I am sure it is probably not the easiest read.

Dervla Murphy's views on colonial policies in small countries like Laos really hit the right spot and I agree with her views to a large extent. Her knowledge is deep and goes so far beyond the shallow views of the silly Lonely Planet overview of things. However, this comes with a price - she tends to get preachy, and sometimes she can get a bit boring.

Great read
...more
Beryl
Feb 22, 2009 Beryl rated it it was amazing
I love all of Dervla Murphy's books. Such a resilient woman who travels the world in the simplest of ways, meeting people and seeing parts others rarely reach. This was the first of her books that I read since I was really interested to find out more about Laos - and I have gone on to read every book of hers as it is published. I'd like to think that I could emulate Dervla, who like me is a traveller to a country rather than a tourist, but I fear I have insufficient guts for the extremes she goe ...more
crm
Jan 15, 2012 crm rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
a gutsy woman traveller. much of the commentary is tinged with a delightful understated irony. difficult to find books on travel in Laos (apart from travel guides - even those are few and far between). will be interesting to compare with "Ant Egg Soup - the Adventures of a Food Tourist in Laos". Looking forward to being in Laos for Christmas/New Year.
Luke
Mar 16, 2012 Luke rated it liked it
As ever I find Dervla's total bias to Western society annoying but find the places and situations she gets into amazing. Her default stance of anything modern instantly being bad can get tiresome. That said I'll contine to read her books as they are fascinating.

Naomi Haney
Feb 11, 2013 Naomi Haney rated it it was ok
I loved Full Tilt and I am a fan of DM but the longer that she writes the more political that she becomes. In addition, she has a somewhat bitter tone at times, I just seem to enjoy her earlier works a lot more.
Carol Jardine
Aug 15, 2011 Carol Jardine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Informative, witty and philospohical in a muted and honest way - an excellent read, especially if you are visiting Laos!
Jonathan
Aug 18, 2007 Jonathan rated it really liked it
superb writing from an adventurous and well educated Irish woman. A beautiful vicarious experience of Laos.
Kate
Boring! Interesting stuff about international development tho'. There is no answer.
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Dervla Murphy is an Irish touring cyclist and author of adventure travel books for over 40 years. She is best known for her 1965 book Full Tilt: Ireland to India With a Bicycle, about an overland cycling trip through Europe, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.

Murphy normally travels alone and unaided, without luxuries and depending on the hospitality of local people. When not travelling, Murph
...more
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