Caleb's Reviews > The Great Railway Bazaar

The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux
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's review
Apr 06, 2011

it was amazing
Read in April, 2011

Just so we're clear from the beginning, Paul Theroux is a dick. Or a misanthrope or whatever else you want to call him. Now that we've got that behind us, this is one of the best books (and especially best travelogues) I have read. Written in 1975, Theroux traveled for four months by train from London across Europe, the Middle East, India, Southeast Asia to Japan, and then back to London along the 6000 mile Trans Siberian Railway. Theroux managed by luck to be in Iran just before the Shah fall, in South Vietnam within months of it finally falling to the north after the US had left. He describes a world that is already ancient history in many ways, and has an incredible sense of the trip. That said, he remains a judgmental person who dismisses places and people for sometimes arbitrary reasons, but this book is an incredibly engaging read, and he captures the fatigue of traveling in the humid subcontinent and on the unending trip back across the Soviet Union.
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