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Long Way Down

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  4,317 Ratings  ·  228 Reviews
Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman travel down through Africa in a gripping and wildly entertaining new biking adventure. Visiting UNICEF projects on the African continent along their way, they come face-to-face with spectacular but unforgiving terrain, with rich cultures.
Published (first published 2007)
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Jun 13, 2008 Brad rated it liked it
Shelves: travel
Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman have lost some of their naivete in their second world stomping journey, and that innocence has given way to a touch of privilege that leads to some insufferable whining and a lot of indignance at the world's ills. This journey through Africa is more about making their Unicef dates than it is about discovering the world they're riding through (and that isn't a bad thing, necessarily, but it doesn change the dynamic that fans of the boys may find distracting), and ...more
A very weak 2 stars. The journal entries like style of "he said, he said" bored me to tears. It dragged the narrative down to a crawl and made a journey that was interesting boring.

There were parts that were worth it but they were so diluted in the incessant flow of boring, redundant informations that unfortunately the thrill of being on the road on motorbikes in Africa was lost unlike Long Way Round where you were there in Mongolia, on the Road of Bones.

Still white dudes on big expensive moto
Jan 24, 2009 Rachel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In general I enjoyed this book. However, its odd that they spent so much time riding and writing about Europe when in fact the context is supposed to be a trip through Africa. Having just traveled in Ethiopia, I enjoyed that part the most. And they provided a glimpse into other regions that I hope to visit. Overall I feel that the authors are honest about their travels - like the irritation you feel when traveling for long periods of time with friends and family or the disgust at the raw smells ...more
Sep 24, 2008 Robin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure how I feel about this book other than I still really like Ewan McGregor and their travels are interesting (except do we really need to know that Ewan had to purchase new underwear because the ones he brought pinched his bum?). What's interesting about this book is that this book wasn't published when it was supposed to and was a number of months late. I often wonder why, and after reading about 1/4 of the book, am thinking that perhaps the writing needed to be fleshed out a little ( ...more
Sep 30, 2014 Adriana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hollywood, travel
I loved this book. I’d already watched the TV show, so I knew most of the big moments and things, but it’s so great to read what the adventure is like from their perspective on the road. They both do a great job at describing how different each country is and letting you share in the experience of meeting people along the way.
Perhaps the best parts are when they visit UNICEF and RIDERS. Little goodwill and awareness visits that show the reader what’s being done in Africa to help and why it need
Jul 31, 2008 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't like this as much as Long Way Round. There was still a lot of amazing things that happened to them throughout this journey, but it didn't feel as monumental as the first journey. I am looking forward to seeing the show when it comes out on DVD.
Good book. Did not enjoy it as much as their first book Long Way Round.
Dec 28, 2014 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having been fascinated by Africa for many years, I watched Long Way Down before Long Way Round, and am following the same pattern with the books. Yes, I am aware I am doing this all out of sequence.

Reading along as they traveled, it was wonderful to see the experiences Ewan and Charley had through their own eyes. Not everyone has such an opportunity, be it due to time, money, or both. I think it's great that they had such an opportunity to experience the world in such a way, and took it. Was it
Beth Bonini
This travelogue has an alternating POV between Charley and Ewan, and while their voices can be quite endearing and down-to-earth and even humorous, I thought that their entries would have benefitted from some judicious editing. It's like reading someone's diary with all of the boring parts left in. The book doesn't really come to life until the pair reach Africa -- and there was way too much journey build-up for my taste. I didn't really mind the way the book plugs their UNICEF projects; that is ...more
Dec 03, 2009 Thomas rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
There are just two books (I think) that have returned to the shelf without finishing reading. But this is the one that made me angry the most.

As someone who has taken long tours on a bicycle in Kenya and currently planning to do an Ethiopia-Malawi tour, I hoped that it would tell the stories about the struggles on the road that make one a tougher, better person in touch with the reality of the landscape that one passes through and the PEOPLE that are HUMAN and that inhabit that landscape. It was
Jul 23, 2011 da-wildchildz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
’You too, mate,’ I said, ‘you too.’

Last line from Long Way Down by Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. Loved Ewan and Charley’s Long Way Round, so it’s about time I read this. As with Long Way Round, I preferred Charley’s voice to Ewan’s because he moans less (though it’s the opposite on screen.)

In terms of the journey, there was more of a sense of place in Long Way Round than Long Way Down. Long Way Round had me itching to follow the same route. However, this left me with only particular places
Ewan and Charley are back on their bikes for another trip. This time from John O'Groats in Scotland to Cape Town in South Africa. I really want to watch the TV show now, I hope it's on Netflix!

I loved the stories from their travels, even if they both could be a bit grumpy at times although I felt it was less than it was in 'Long Way Round'. When they met up with the charities, I was really moved by what happened to the people, especially the child soldiers. What a horrific thing to do to peopl
Jan 17, 2009 Andy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book thoroughly.

I did not realize until after I picked up the book that this is actually the second journey/book Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman had done. The previous book, "Long way Round" is now on reserve at the library and I will be reading it next. Fortunately it did not really matter that I'm reading them out of order. The two motorcycle journeys are completely independent of each other.

Reading this book brought back so many memories of riding motorcycles though the dese
Jan 31, 2009 Seracer2003 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Much like Long Way Round, this book is set with "the boys" going down through Africa. I thought it was more of the same kinds of issues and dramas, but it was all overshadowed by an amazing look into the lives of real people from those nations. I think sometimes everyone is afraid of Africa, and some places are dangerous, but the culture and energy of the place just totally came thorugh in this piece.

I read the book and am in the middle of the series. I think that's the order to do it in! Again
Dec 02, 2008 Allie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Allie by: A girl who obviously doesn't read much. Or for the same reasons
I read this book while travelling through the countries that it covered, which was the only thing that kept me turning pages. That, and it was the only unread book that I had with me.

I can't stand regurgitated conversations in books - 'he said this, and I replied, no, that!', etc. It's a personal irritation, I guess, but I find it lazy, unbelievable, and reminiscent of my diary as a 13 year old. This book was a collection of re-told interactions and, while I'm sure it's as awesome to watch as th
Larry Jonas
Feb 01, 2011 Larry Jonas rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
God what a crappy book. The only reason I finished it was 1) I love motorcycles and 2) I like travel narratives. I really liked THE LONG WAY AROUND PBS series and thought this book would be good. Both McGregor and Boorman are whiny and self-absorbed. They are remarkably incurious and culturally tone-deaf to the culture they travel through- bordering on racism. My only consolation was that I bought the book as a remainder, thereby depriving the authors of undeserved royalties.
Oct 25, 2009 Nicole rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know much about motorcycles or the private life of Ewan McGregor but this story was an engaging and funny tale of how he and his buddy drove from the northern points of Scotland down through Africa. It did a lot to personalize him and emphasize that despite his celebrity-status, he is a normal guy with a capacity for having fun and giving back.
Sophie (A Cheeky Book Addict's Thoughts)
Even though i had watched the tv show religiously i decided to read the book, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Once i started, i couldn't put it down.
Jan 03, 2009 Greg rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stopped-reading
Rich white guys do Africa. Awful.
Jun 27, 2011 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel, memoir
Ewan & Charlie were my travel companions during my 1st independent overseas trip to New Zealand...
Matt Atkinson
Mar 20, 2017 Matt Atkinson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable book chronicling their trip through Africa but lacks the real endeavor and hardship of the first.
Dec 17, 2014 Soho_Black rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, owned-books
When Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman finished their motorbike trip across the world as recounted in both written and visual form in the “Long Way Round”, they weren’t finished. As my wife has a copy of the follow-up book, “Long Way Down”, that means when I got to the end of the first book, I wasn’t finished either. I have many weaknesses, but my ability to resist a sequel or a follow-up is one of my main ones. Although, to be fair, it’s not just books and films that cause me that problem; I of ...more
Tito Quiling, Jr.
Jul 30, 2016 Tito Quiling, Jr. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel, non-fiction
Although I'm easily drawn to travelogues and most non-fiction pieces, I've learned that not every travel book is not worth reading, particularly if these limitations are apparent: if the tone doesn't carry a sense of adventure, the piece lacks historical and social context, the author is too self-absorbed and has no immersion in the culture and often overlooks the place. While it is tricky to look for these in most non-fiction works, I guess at least 3 out of would still do. And for Ewan McGrego ...more
As if Long Way Round wasn’t challenging enough, these guys decided they needed to ride from Scotland to South Africa (taking boats over the water, of course, and a few airplane detours to visit assistance projects in more dangerous areas).
(Motorcycling on sand?! Isn't that what camels are for?)
Even seasoned travelers get cranky on occasion. Long Way Round showed that, too; I guess some things never change with certain combinations of personalities, under certain situations.
It was a good thing
Chris Steeden
12-MAY-2007 John O' Groats, Scotland. Ewan and Charley argue, bitch, whine and enjoy themselves travelling on motorbikes to London, France, Italy (Rome and Naples). In Italy they see what appears to be a pyramid modelled on the Egyptian ones. It is the pyramid of Cestius a Roman who decided to be buried Pharaoh-style after Rome had conquered Egypt. Journey carries on down to the port of Trapani where they get a boat to Tunis. At El Jem there is an ancient coliseum that is 1700 years old and the ...more
I enjoyed this book for the same reason I enjoyed Long Way Round - it gives you a good insight to some of the more obscure corners of the earth without reading like a textbook. Also, I like motorbikes.

I found this book fascinating and it has given me a huge desire to visit Africa. Ewan and Charley are fortunate to be able to take a trip like this, and they clearly know it, and this isn't just an account of a few nice landmarks. They really got in touch with the people, being invited into people'
Sep 07, 2008 Greg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another good read from the authors of Long Way Round. Charley Boorman and Ewan McGregor take the long way down from northernmost Scotland to the southern tip of Africa by motorcycle. Along the way they encounter and confront their own fears, rough terrain, breakdowns, interpersonal conflict, politics, poverty, and good people everywhere. They seemed a bit more negative in this book than the last, but not so much that it detracted much from the narrative.

Again, they ride for charity as well as f
Oct 15, 2012 Alkatraz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I give this four starts because I cannot stand some of the language they use. I suppose I should be aware that men on motorbikes curse and swear too much, especially when there are no wives about.

Anyway, I truly did enjoy traveling with them as they made their way from Scotland to the Southern-most tip of Africa. From deserts to rain forests, the two friends made their way south, forever south. They stopped at various points to visit UNICEF centres and talk with the children effected by war. Fro
Mar 05, 2011 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The followup to the hugely entertaining Long Way Round, Long Way Down is just as fun to read. One of the things I really liked about both travelogues is the authors' unique ways of speaking: they describe riding as "bimbling along," "hooning down French motorways," "burbling through town," etc. Charley is also fond of claiming to have "the collywobbles," which I intend to start working into sentences ASAP. They are both quite good at describing their surroundings in evocative ways, and not shy a ...more
Feb 16, 2016 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow great and very inspirational book. This book covers Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman's detailed accounts has they ride their motorcycles from the top of Scotland to the very bottom of South Africa. A true adventure in which they take turns telling the reader about every where they went along the way. Camping out - two buddies with a support team. All of the details captures that described incredible places and people the met along the way. It wasn't all roses, there were a lot of struggles, ...more
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Charley Boorman grew up in Ireland, spending much of his childhood riding motorcross bikes. From 1998 to 2002, he ran a British motorcycle team with Ewan McGregor, winning the Superstock Series with David Jeffries.
His first film role was as Ed's Boy, Jon Voight's son in Deliverance, directed by his father John Boorman. Since then, he has appeared in Excalibur, The Emerald Forest, Hope and Glory, K
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