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Around the World in 50 Years: My Adventure to Every Country on Earth

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  1,419 ratings  ·  241 reviews
The New York Times Bestseller

This is the inspiring story of an ordinary guy who achieved two great goals that others had told him were impossible. First, he set a record for the longest automobile journey ever made around the world, during the course of which he blasted his way out of minefields, survived a serious accident atop the Peak of Death, came within seconds of be
Hardcover, 349 pages
Published March 24th 2015 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published February 24th 2015)
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Albert Podell Sorry for the confusion, Max. I first entered Yemen, illegally, in 2011, when they were not issuing visas. When they briefly resumed issuing visas, in…moreSorry for the confusion, Max. I first entered Yemen, illegally, in 2011, when they were not issuing visas. When they briefly resumed issuing visas, in 2014, I entered legally and visited both mainland Yemen and its island of Socottra, flying out the day the kidnappings resumed. (less)

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Laura Bedingfield
Mar 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book--but the author is a pompous, chauvinistic pig who overwrites and uses the thesaurus way too much. Nonetheless, the story--of how he visited all 196 countries--is fascinating and the book is chock full of crazy travel tales, including strandings at airports in the south pacific, eating supremely odd local food, and having to employ armed bodyguards to get around certain middle eastern countries. If you can overlook the superior attitude taken by the author, it really is a great ...more
Cold War Conversations Podcast
Shades of Bill Bryson meets Phileas Fogg.

Podell has put together an interesting amalgamation of his tales in his quest to visit every country in the world over the last 50 years. Some he has to revisit as a result of splits such as Yugoslavia, and some have ceased to exist such as East Germany.

Written in a humorous style, but not to same quality as Bill Bryson and his wry observations, Podell has concentrated on the more dangerous and interesting parts of his travels so much of the book is Centr
Nan Prener
Nov 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Everybody on God's earth should read this book if he wants to know what the world is like. Nobody else can tell you because nobody else knows. Nobody else has tried and survived a visit to every country on earth, including the most dangerous of: living conditions, wild animals, political violence, and man-made cussedness in general. Al Podell has gone where no man has gone before - to every single nation in the world; 196 of them. And he has lived as close to the people as he could. He never sta ...more
Lost Planet Airman
Well, _I_ liked it, but it has a lot of warts, both in structure and in content.

As a young man, the author set a record for longest non-repetitive around the world trip by car, then set about other careers. But he noted, later in life, that he still had the travel bug andn had nearly visited every country in the world. So he continued to put notches in his suitcase, and eventually visited 196 countries, possibly the only person ever to have done so.

Some stories hint at further adventures but lea
Oct 28, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs, travel
This book is the story of one man traveling around the world, seeking to reach every country. Spoiler: He manages to do it.

A few things hit me while I was reading this book:

First, the author is openly sexist and bordering on misogynistic. Women only exist in his story as objects of desire. Rarely are they named.

Second, we meet nearly none of the people the author meets on his travels. Did he not want to share the stories of people without their permission? Did he not take the time to meet with a
I knew I was going to like this book, and I knew it wasn't going to be nearly long enough. Right on both counts, but in ways that I wasn't expecting.

There is just no way that anyone can write a travelogue that covers 196 (plus some now nonexistent) countries in a completely thorough manner. Do you talk about each country one at a time, or do you do an overview of subjects - food, religion, war, sex - with brief comparisons of standout countries? Podell does a little bit of each, alternating betw
Paulette Noble
Nov 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I totally agree with the advance reviewers.
Author Harold Stephens calls it "the best travel-adventur book written in this young century., author Will Lutwick raves that " it sets a new standard for travel-adventure books.". And Tony Wheeler, the founder of Lonely Planet books, who revolutionized the industry, applauds that "it's like Crocodile Dunder produced by Monty Python and edited by Woody Allen."
I agree with all these guys, but I also have something to add as a women and the author of 20 b
May 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: a-j-book-club
This book was a disappointment. There were parts of it that were really interesting, but as a whole the book is not great. The author has a tendency to list a lot of things when describing his travels. He does it frequently. It gets very repetitive and starts to lose any meaning at a certain point. It also suffers from the fact that the author is openly sexist and creepy throughout. It earns the 2 stars for the chapters with God (the author's tour guide in Africa) in them, which were delightful ...more
Beth Peninger
Apr 13, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
Thank you to NetGalley and Thomas Dunne Books for this free copy. In exchange I am providing an honest review.

I got to about page 85 before I gave up. It's not that the book is poorly written or dull but it wasn't keeping my attention and I was preferring to do other things beside read it. So as a nod to "so many books, so little time" I decided to move on.
Podell managed to touch down and visit every country in the world in 50 years. That takes a lot of planning, time, money, and in some case
Nov 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Thank you to St. Martin's Press and Netgalley for the ARC!

If you enjoy rollicking travel adventure stories told by an opinionated older man, then this book is for you. Personally, I particularly enjoyed the chapter in which the author went into minute detail regarding what constitutes a country--and according to whom. I hadn't realized there were so many opinions to be had on the subject. Unfortunately, some of the strong attitudes expressed by the author clash quite strongly with values that I
Apr 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I loved this book despite I would never want to meet this author. He is quite full of himself, chauvinistic with an out of this world ego, that would irritate the heck out of me. That said, his book is a fascinating romp whereby he tries to travel to every country in the world in his 50 years. With seemingly endless pocket money he travels everywhere often using the most circuitous routes. For a travel junkie, this is the hashish of voyeuristic journalism. Along the way, i learned fascinating ob ...more
Beth Wish
Oct 03, 2019 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed this book, mainly because it was pretty awe-inspiring to hear from someone who has been to every single country in the world. There were some great adventures, close calls, and the kind of cool stories you'd expect from a travel memoir like this. However, I wish he would have told more of the cool stories and left out some of the minutiae about his difficulties getting visas to certain places. I also could have done without all the bragging about all the women he hooked up with ...more
Feb 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: would-read-again
I knew by chapter 2 that this book was getting a 5 star rating. This book is storytelling at its finest. Follow along with Albert Podell as he pushes toward his goal of setting foot in every country on Earth. Told with humor and insight, the reader begins to realize just how much of the world is not just different and foreign, but completely unknown or unknowable.
Pick up this book! You will not be disappointed.
Alina Stepan
Feb 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Marvelous! Full of humour, adventure, wit, compassion, stories (oh, stories!), trouble, political analysis, a keen eye for social overview, frail, imperfect bur warm and human like few books are. And yes, the all-time sign of an intelligent person: self-mocking and irony. A treat of a book.
I picked up this book to satisfy the wanderlust in me. Coz, I know for a fact that I will not travel to all the countries in the world, neither do I have the desire to nor the financial and mental ability to do that. So why not read about other peoples' adventures. That, this book does perfectly.
As promised, Podell does not go into useless stories from every country he visited, and slides in interesting nuggets while relegating stories from other parts of the world. As guaranteed every story is
Zeb Kantrowitz
Nov 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley-read
Beginning in 1965, with his around the world expedition (with his friend Steve), Albert Podell had visited every independent recognized country in world. This included all of the nations that belong to the UN, Taiwan and Vatican City for a total of 196. Some countries he had to visit more than once (like Czechoslavakia and Yugoslavia) after those countries had split up.

Chapters two through seven which discuss his Around the World Expedition had been written about before and read differently fro
I found this to be a really interesting collection of observations and stories from many years of travel throughout the world. Some parts contain sobering descriptions of the tragedies and difficulties of life in various countries. Then, there are parts that are incredibly informative about places and topics of which I have very little knowledge. Finally, there are sections that are just plain laugh out loud funny and completely entertaining. It presents a broad picture of unique places and adve ...more
Clare O'Beara
Dec 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, travel
Editing travel magazine Argosy, the author teamed up with a reporter and photographer and decided to take the longest land journey that could be managed around the world, in a four-wheel-drive vehicle. This was in 1964 and all kinds of troubles and wars were under way; one photographer was killed by the Viet Cong in Cambodia. Pakistan declared war while the team travelled through the country and all foreign journalists became suspect as possible spies, so that the author was almost lynched.

Joannah Keats
Nov 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, ebooks
At times laugh-out-loud funny, Albert Podell's story of his worldly travels is both informative and enjoyable to read. It took me longer than average to finish this book because it is rather long and does drag occasionally. I wish he had included more of his mainstream travels rather than primarily the most dangerous and poorest countries on earth, but I understand the purpose of the omission.

I highly recommend this book to anyone with a taste for adventure, especially anyone considering undert
Larry Sutter
Dec 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A good travel book should unite a number of elements, and I'm happy to see that my friend Al's book does them all. And seamlessly. There's adventure, information and analysis, and Al has gotten them all just right. There are plenty of hair-raising and death-defying moments, but Al doesn't just stop at his itinerary, but provides not only a lot of background information on where he is but a sophisticated political, economic and social commentary--as well. Plus the writing is consistently vivid an ...more
Jason Sydejko
May 04, 2016 rated it liked it
It was a fun read. There was a lot of good advice, fun stories, and enjoyable humor. Some parts were a little 'really man?', i.e. 'I pay my tax dollars so you should help me' to a US embassy, and a few other parts that made him seem like he thought he was 'above everything'. Beyond that, worth a read. ...more
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is NOT a book for you if you are a) looking for a fast read b) looking for a thriller with plot twists that will keep you awake at night.

This IS a book for you if you are a traveler or you are thinking about becoming one. It is a book about life on the road. The real aspect of it. Not the one fancy Instagram accounts feed you with every day. It is a book for you if you want to learn about the world and this beautiful planet of ours. It took me few weeks to read this book just because I kep
Feb 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
I have always had the passion to travel and as a young child I wanted to visit every country in the world, however, as I grew up I realised not every country would want me! I’m very glad Mr. Podell was able to fulfil his dream and I could read about it!

It’s amazing to me he is alive to write the book, he certainly had some close calls. Disappointedly he is sexist, but I overlooked that because I enjoyed his story telling. It’s so sad how so many in the world live in fear and poverty.
amanda croft
Aug 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great read! Very well written! It made me want to travel but at the same time it made me want to stay home. It made me appreciate how fortunate my traveling experiences have been.
"You just never know when the fickle finger of fate will beckon you, so grab all the gusto you can while you can."
Jul 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very informative, interesting and entertaining.
Sophie Rayton
May 20, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
Massively problematic. Stopped at chapter 5.
Apr 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
Fascinating read about the author's visits to every country in the world. Obviously not every country is mentioned, but his adventures were fascinating! ...more
Brittany Highland
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Albert Poddell is the only American known to have visited all the countries in the world (196 countries, as of publication). How could he not have enough adventure stories to fill a whole collection of books? As someone who is toying with the idea of visiting all the countries in the world, I found Poddell’s account to be inspiring, humorous, and slightly sobering. Definitely a man to respect.
Mar 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways, travel, memoir
This was an extremely well-written travel memoir by a man who spent, as the title tells you, 50 years traveling to every country on the planet. In this book he covers the highlights of the countries that most people will never have the opportunity to visit. He doesn't just stick to common tourist destinations or safe, widely-traveled routes, but ventures to out of the way locations.

He has a great way of telling stories about his experiences, introducing the people he meets, and also sharing som
Mar 29, 2015 rated it liked it
I loved the beginning of this book and as a person who loves traveling all over the world, I really embraced the author's goal to visit every country in the world. However, the author did not seem to want to go to many of the countries that he visited, so why do it? Was it to write this book? If that is the case, life it too short to do things you don't actually want to do, even if you get published because of it. Plus, to put your life at risk for it seems ridiculous and nonsensical. While I di ...more
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ALBERT PODELL recently became the first American known to have visited every country in the world. Decades earlier, he was the co-leader of the successful Trans World Record Expedition and co-author of Who Needs A Road, an adventure classic still in print after 48 years. His thrilling new book, Around the World in 50 Years, will be published March 24 by St. Martin’s Press.

Al has been an editor a

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