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The Dark Tourist: Sightseeing in the world's most unlikely holiday destinations

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  931 Ratings  ·  82 Reviews
'Dark tourism is the act of travel and visitation to sites, attractions and exhibitions which have real or recreated death, suffering or the seemingly macabre as a main theme'Ever since he can remember, Dom Joly has been fascinated by travel to odd places. In part this stems from a childhood spent in war-torn Lebanon, where instead of swapping marbles in the schoolyard, he ...more
ebook, 288 pages
Published September 2nd 2010 by Simon & Schuster UK
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Aug 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After the wonderful Stalin Ate My Homework and Bossypants, I decided that I would always try to get autobiographies as audiobooks wherever possible – as long as they were read by the author.

So, The Dark Tourist ISN’T actually a ‘proper’ autobiography per se, but it is still Dom Joly’s telling of his experiences – so it definitely worked the same way as an audiobook. I thought it was hilarious – but I can imagine that it wouldn’t have worked quite as well as in print. “It’s the way he tells them!
As an avid traveler, this book appealed to me as an opportunity to get a another person's point of view on some places I've never been. After reading the book however, I think anyone with a good sense of humor and curiosity would really enjoy this book.

Between being narrated by the author himself, and the auto-biographical nature of the subject, it's an extremely personal account of this smart, funny man's experiences. I found his insights clever and the experiences with the different individual
Sep 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been a fan of Dom Joly since he appeared with on the Mark Thomas Comedy Product, dressed as a schoolboy kicking a ball over the garden wall at 10 Downing street and then going round the front to ask for his ball back!

This was as I expected a quick read and is written in a journalistic style of prose. There are plenty of excellent anecdotes Dom shared, from ordering a take-away pizza in Iran to the quality of US border control, to the motorways in North Korea with no vehicles on them.

The mos
Haymond Lam
May 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this book is really good. Dom Jolly takes on the seminal role of the 'Yes-Man' of dangerous travelling. Iran, North Korea (DPRK), Lebanon and even Dallas, Tx, are all covered in his trademark sardonic Brit tone. Understandably his country of upbringing, Lebanon is more unrestrained and personal, particularly in the parts where he meets his half-sister. Events in the other countries he travels through are just hilarious, particularly in the state censured media North Korea whereby he infu ...more
Jun 17, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm still reading this book and I'm enjoying it so far. But I just got to the part where he visits the Air and Space Smithsonian and tells the NASA pen joke. It irritates me anytime I hear someone tell this joke. It proves that the person speaking has done no research on the topic and is just repeating something he or she heard. Also, like with all other urban legends told as truth, it makes the teller seems unknowledgeable and gullible.

I would really like to get this guy a copy of Packing for
So poorly written, and to be devoid of both research and wit is pretty unforgivable. At times I felt like I was reading the draft, written in a rush to be padded out later, but then never returned to. Some genuinely funny situations were described bluntly and with no flair. I couldn't finish this, and therefore can't really offer you an out-of-five rating, but its safe to say had I made it to the end, the stars would have been very few indeed.
Jenna Copeland
While there were portions of this book which were interesting and indeed funny, the lion's share of the work revealed the rantings of a man-child who had never quite grown out of his boarding-school humor. Joly may have done a fair bit of traveling, but it hasn't done away with his prejudices as Mark Twain theorized. There are far more interesting travelogues to unusual places than this.

Oikein hyvä ja viihdyttävä matkailukirja, jossa kohteet on valikoitu varsin synkillä perusteilla. Pohjois-Korean osuus oli yksi kiinnostavimmista, kun kuvailtiin koko valtion johdattama kierros maassa. Kokonaisuudessaan vahvempi kuin tuoreempi Scary Monsters and Super Creeps.
May 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My hubby and I love adventuring (7 continent travelers, baby!) and when we are road tripping it's super fun to listen to travel stories or memoirs as audiobooks. This was an awesome read; learned lots about places we haven't seen much of and once we turned the audiobook speed up a bit the narrator (and author) was even more funny and his many snarky comments became even more entertaining.

My only negative about the book is that the last travels he discussed were a bit less hilarious than the oth
Amy Alice
Aug 17, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
I heard Dom Joly talking about this on a daytime tv show and he mentioned North Korea. So I was in. Since reading about North Korea is going to be the only way I can see it before America blows it to smithereens, I downloaded it. It's fine. It needs an edit. It's informative, but nothing more informative than others I have read, that frankly did it better. I thought he would at least make it funny but it's just not. It's an easy enough read that I pick up if I'm absolutely desperate and need an ...more
Shortly after our move away from the UK, Trigger Happy TV“was launched, and whilst we watched it over in Switzerland, too, there was no buzz over this programme amongst people around us, and it never became a big thing in our new lives. Consequently, the name „Dom Joly“ does not at all feature on my celebrity radar, and I had no idea who he was when I first picked up „The Dark Tourist“ for our next book club selection for the „non-fiction: travel“ genre.

Within the first couple of chapters, base
May 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It had to be a person from Barnsley - thats all I'm saying!
Sean Brunett
Jan 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed British comedian Dom Joly’s book "The Dark Tourist". I connected with Joly because I saw my spirit in him. His penchant for the dark and morose tourist attractions resonated deeply with me. Admittedly, I am not nearly as well traveled as Dom, but his book also serves as excellent motivation. Where some may read it and and vow never to go to the places described in this book, I’m more excited than ever to visit them. There’s a certain intrigue that comes with dark tourism, and it ...more
Billy Gunn
Feb 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good fun, learned a bit too. Especially the bit about North Korea! The DPRK "Democratic People's Republic of Korea." Believe it or not North Korea I er, democratic! They DO have a choice...

The people can decide whether to put their mark in the box or to be arrested, thrown in prison for a few 10's of years and maybe become a candidate to test the local arsenal :) sorry got a bit sidetracked there. Back to the book.

A nice easy and short read, quite funny too. I've always wanted to be a "Dark Tou
Dec 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this book, Dom Joly (someone who I had vaguely heard of, but didn't know much about since I really didn't like Trigger Happy TV ) records his experiences as a "dark tourist" - someone who travels to places that have been the sites of death and misery. Of the sites he visits (Iran, sites of assassination in the US, Cambodia, Chernobyl, North Korea and the country where he grew up, Lebanon) the chapters on Cambodia and North Korea were probably the most interesting. The former took him to the ...more
Oct 28, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, travel
A neat travelogue exploring some of the world's less visited destinations: the author goes out of his way to explore places like Cambodia, North Korea and Iran, all tinged with death and/or oppression. I admire his principles, but this isn't the laugh riot one might expect from the guy behind TRIGGER HAPPY TV.

I'm a massive fan of Joly the actor, especially his TV shows (WORLD SHUT YOUR MOUTH is another favourite). As a writer, though, his imagination has less chance to shine. The humorous situat
A great travel/introspective book from comedian/journalist Dom Joly. The writing is engaging and personal, with lots of humour and a real appreciation for the difficulties and sadnesses faced by ordinary people in these "dark" pockets of the world. Really enjoyed it. The Cambodia section in particular is very hard to read, followed closely by North Korea. But having been a child myself at the time of both Chernobyl and Lebanon's civil wars, which were widely reported on British TV, it was absolu ...more
Sep 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Book club book and a non fiction travel book to boot so I was a little apprehensive. Dom Joly to me was that big man shouting hello into a large phone on the TV - did I really want to read a whole book by him? As it turned out, yes actually - it was informative and enlightening on many fronts. What I call a Bill Bryson type travel book, easy to read and full of the minutiae and people watching observations which can be so fascinating. It is highly unlikely that I will ever visit the majority of ...more
Dom Joly's book Scary Monsters and Super Creeps was one of the first books read when I was teaching myself to read again. I bought it for two reasons: it was about Cryptozoology something that I have more than a passing interest in (but try to keep quiet), and secondly because it was on 99p. What I found was an absolutely hilarious book which regularly had me laughing out loud.

Given the subject matter of this book, those movements were few and far between. A travel book which is largely centered
Thomas Mulrooney
I listened to the audiobook of this and loved every second. It's read by the author himself and he kept me completely captivated. I think he's very lucky to be able to travel to all the places in this book, and it's something I've often thought about as regular tourist hotspots are usually packed and can be quite annoying. If I had the money and the courage then I'd love to venture off the beaten track.

The chapters on North Korea are absolutely fascinating as I've always wanted to learn more abo
As a tourism nut, this was exactly what I wanted it to be. While it is clear throughout the book that Joly is not a writer, his writing style was reminiscent to the style a traveller would write in emails, on social media and in personal travel journals. Therefore, I could easily forgive his shortcomings as an author. This book was fantastic for gaining an insight on the emerging tourism market, dark tourism. There is very little in literature on this topic from a non-academic perspective, there ...more
James Cridland
Jun 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Say what you like about Dom Joly's rather irritating television persona, this book is rather fine. He comes over as a rather more likeable individual in this book, as he visits all manner of interesting places.

I found his North Korean tour fascinating - particularly since I've been on "the other side". I thought the North Koreans were spying on us when I went there: turns out that the South Koreans also spied on him when he was there. His chapters on Cambodia and Chernobyl were similarly fascina
Aug 02, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, travel, politics
This book wasn't as hilarious as I expected, but that's ok. Instead it offered a candid, personal look into strange destinations (Iran, North Korea, etc.) through Dom Joly's eyes. And at times Joly's candid bluntness was quite funny. I got a better sense of what it is like to live in places that show up on the world news for civil wars, genocide, and dictatorial reigns. "Life finds a way..."

Favorite quote from the book: "If nothing else I hope that by writing about these places people will get a
Mark Farley
Feb 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fans of 'Trigger Happy TV' and the alternative and witty side of travel writing will love this. As a hater of the traditional beach resort holiday and someone who loves to travel to see something different (I spent my honeymoon in the murder capital of the world, for example), I really enjoyed this. Reminds me of the dark intrigue and humour I found by going to somewhere like Johannesburg, having the urge to write interesting and absurd observations and comparing them to the often mundanely comf ...more
Jan 28, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a bad read per say, but it overall I find it lacking. The idea is interesting, with Joly going to unlikely travel locations like Chernobyl and North Korea as a tourist. However I find the overall pacing to be slow, with not enough happening at each location, and perhaps not enough focus on the interesting things that did happen.

Also of the opinion that some of the locations would have been better off being left out - like USA for example. That chapter was a chore for me to read, and I would
Feb 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An enjoyable read - not the best-written book in the world, but the subject matter is fascinating, and worth reading just for the North Korean chapter. I felt there are other destinations that could have been included (South Africa, several South American locations and perhaps Auschwitz, despite Joly's reservations) which would have made the book feel less light-weight. However, highly recommended.
Tony Thain
Sep 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dom Joly's 'The Dark Tourist' is the first travel book which I have sat and read in a matter of days. At first, I admit to being slightly apprehensive about reading this book, as I tend to not really read travel books as a personal preference, but following the praise which I had seen for this on Twitter, I my arm was firmly twisted, and off I went! Joly's prose was as funny as it was insightful. Highly recommend to anyone whom may be interested in the, alternative, shall we say, travel book.
Dom Joly, brytyjski komik, zagłębia się w kraje, które przyciągają tanatoturystów - do Iranu pojechał na narty, w Ameryce odwiedził ruiny WTC oraz miejsca związane z zabójstwem Kennedy'ego i Kinga, w Kambodży zobaczył Pola Śmierci; spacerował po wyludnionej Prypeci, wybrał się na grupową wycieczkę turystyczną po Korei Północnej a na koniec - odwiedził starożytne zabytki w miejscu jego dzieciństwa - Libanie.
Oct 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was one of those random books you decide to read for no particular reason, but I am very glad I did. I was quite interesting and have it's laugh-out-loud moments. It also brought new perspective of the world that I quite enjoyed. I listened to it as an audiobook and I really think that is the best option for this book as it became entertainment as well as providing information and new insight to a few of the unknown and "dark" tourist attractions.
Shawn  Stone
Jul 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
I've always steered away from reading travel books because I don’t want second hand experiences if I ever visit the place in the future. Joly recounts his experiences as a dark-tourist, visiting places that are generally off the tourist radar like North Korea, The Killing Fields, Lebanon, and Iran. Interesting enough book, but Joly’s attempts at humour sometimes falls flat. 3.5/5
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