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How to Make Friends and Oppress People: Classic Travel Advice for the Gentleman Adventurer
by Vic Darkwood
Notraveler to date hasmatched the intrepid 19th-century gentlemanfor his bravery, derring-do, and ability to make a perfect cup of tea in the most malarial of climes. But the sun has set on the golden age of exploration, and the records of these fearless, mustachioed adventurers have vanished from the shelves. In their place have appeared timorous travel guides written by ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published July 10th 2007 by Thomas Dunne Books
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Sep 17, 2007 Nathan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of John Hodgman's reference work.
A very funny book. Vic Darkwood, formerly of Chap Magazine, takes us around the world and gives travel advice for the "Gentleman Adventurer". Advice includes commentary on why camels are uglier than people, how to engage in gun battles like a gentleman and advice on the use of fireplaces on boats. This is a dry, tongue-firmly-in-cheek collection for people who are possibly too poor to travel. Much of the advice in the book is culled from old (1700's or older) travel guides that may or may not be ...more
This book had such an entertaining premise that I really wanted to love it, but aside from a few falling-over-laughing sections, much of it didn't work for me. It's a selection of 19th & early 20th century travel advice, strung together by Darkwood's narrative, and illustrated by random period clip art. The travel advice is often fascinating and hilarious in itself, and Darkwood's narrative is sometimes very funny indeed, but a lot of the book was just slogging through to the next entertaini ...more
Funny, I thought I would like this book better. I love going through old manners books for laughs, and I love the purple prose that was popular in generations past. But after an enthusiastic start on this one, it became more and more of a chore to read as I went on. Perhaps the author just chose the wrong excerpts from old travel books or something. Most of the advice that the books gave about travel didn't seem all that dated or outrageous really. Most of it seemed sensible, so reading it for e ...more
Imagine a "White Man's Burden" imperialist was transported to the here and now and forced to write his thoughts on the sorry state of international travel (no coolies?!). That's the conceit here, and "Vic Darkwood" does an admirable job of skewing himself, the British, and the last 200 years of tourism. A good Sunday read before you explore the Dark Continent. Which at this point is probably Antarctica.
how to dig a proper sleeping ditch.... how to ship your servants by rail (a variety of shipping boxes are explored).... ways to keep the vermin out of your bed at night (note: putting the posts of your bed in bowls of chicken blood DOESN'T work...) and other ways to make exotic travel more interesting... largely lifted from british travel tomes of the 1800s. Really bizarre. Really good bathroom reading.
The best parts are of course the excerpts from travel guides of decades past. Those bits are held together by the weaker glue of made up stories. It's easy enough to just read the excerpts though, full of racism, imperialism, sexism, and any other ism you can be offended by.
After 15 years of concentrating exclusively on painting Nick Jolly embarked on a haphazard writing career in tandem with his pursuits as an artist. This initially took the form of articles penned for the Art Review. Then in 1999 he co-founded The Chap magazine, under the alter ego of Vic Darkwood, with his erstwhile colleague Gustav Temple. During this time, as well as producing a quarterly magazi ...moreMore about Vic Darkwood...