A travel book recommendation: London: The Information Capital: 100 Maps and Graphics That Will Change How You View the City by James Cheshire

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2uIhOD4.
Cheshire is a geographer; Uberti a designer. Together they have managed to create something that I hesitate to call mindblowing, but it is certainly mind-expanding.
Book description from Google Books:
The British Cartographic Society WINNER The BCS Award 2015 WINNER The Stanfords Award for Printed Mapping 2015 WINNER John C Bartholomew Award for Thematic Mapping 2015 In London: The Information Capital, geographer James Cheshire and designer Oliver Uberti join forces to bring you a series of new maps and graphics charting life in London like never before When do police helicopters catch criminals? Which borough of London is the happiest? Is ‘czesc’ becoming a more common greeting than ‘salaam’? James Cheshire and Oliver Uberti could tell you, but they’d rather show you. By combining millions of data points with stunning design, they investigate how flights stack over Heathrow, who lives longest, and where Londoners love to tweet. The result? One hundred portraits of an old city in a very new way. Dr James Cheshire is a geographer with a passion for London and its data. His award-winning maps draw from his research as a lecturer at University College London and have appeared in the Guardian and the Financial Times, as well as on his popular blog, mappinglondon.co.uk. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. Oliver Uberti is a visual journalist, designer, and the recipient of many awards for his information graphics and art direction. From 2003 to 2012, he worked in the design department of National Geographic, most recently as Senior Design Editor. He has a design studio in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The book is rated 4.56/5 at goodreads.com, from 90 ratings. See 11 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2uI3zOA.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2uIz3Eo.

A travel book recommendation: The Marches: A Borderland Journey between England and Scotland by Rory Stewart

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2uvGjIm.
This is a tender book sheltering under a robust title: the term “the Marches” usually applies to the English-Welsh border country, but here Stewart means the borderlands of England and Scotland as well as his two walks through them.
Book description from Google Books:
From the best-selling author of The Places in Between, “a flat-out masterpiece” (New York Times Book Review), an exploration of the Marches—the borderland between England and Scotland—and the people, history, and conflicts that have shaped it In The Places in Between Rory Stewart walked through the most dangerous borderlandsin the world. Now he walks along the border he calls home—where political turmoil and vivid lives have played out for centuries across a magnificent natural landscape—to tell the story of the Marches. In his thousand-mile journey, Stewart sleeps on mountain ridges and housing estates, in hostels and farmhouses. Following the lines of Neolithic standing stones, wading through floods and ruined fields, he walks Hadrian’s Wall with soldiers who have fought in Afghanistan and visits the Buddhist monks who outnumber Christian monks in the Scottish countryside today. He melds the stories of the people he meets with the region’s political and economic history, tracing the creation of Scotland from ancient tribes to the independence referendum. And he discovers another country buried in history, a vanished Middleland: the lost kingdom of Cumbria. With every step, Stewart reveals the force of myths and traditions and the endurance of ties that are woven into the fabric of the land itself. A meditation on deep history, the pull of national identity, and home, The Marches is a transporting work from a powerful and original writer.
The book is rated 3.66/5 at goodreads.com, from 196 ratings. See 41 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2uN5Ub8.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2uN58e8.

A travel book recommendation: The Penguin History of Modern Vietnam by Christopher Goscha

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2feUgT5.
Goscha has provided quite simply the finest, most readable single-volume history of Vietnam in English.
Book description from Google Books:
“Over the centuries the Vietnamese have been both colonizers themselves and the victims of colonization by others. Their country expanded, shrunk, split and sometimes disappeared, often under circumstances far beyond their control. Despite these frequently overwhelming pressures, Vietnam has survived as one of Asia’s most striking and complex cultures. As more and more visitors come to this extraordinary country, there has been for some years a need for a major history – a book which allows the outsider to understand the many layers left by earlier emperors, rebels, priests and colonizers. Christopher Goscha’s new work amply fills this role. Drawing on a lifetime of thinking about Indochina, he has created a narrative which is consistently seen from ‘inside’ Vietnam but never loses sight of the connections to the ‘outside’. As wave after wave of invaders – whether Chinese, French, Japanese or American – have ultimately been expelled, we see the terrible cost to the Vietnamese themselves. Vietnam’s role in one of the Cold War’s longest conflicts has meant that its past has been endlessly abused for propaganda purposes, and it is perhaps only now that the events which created the modern state can be seen from a truly historical perspective. Christopher Goscha draws on the latest research and discoveries in Vietnamese, French and English. His book is a major achievement, describing both the grand narrative of Vietnam’s story but also the byways, curiosities, differences, cultures and peoples that have done so much over the centuries to define the many versions of Vietnam.”
The book is rated 3.95/5 at goodreads.com, from 62 ratings. See 16 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2feVnlR.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tw6ei6.

A travel book recommendation: Insomniac City: New York, Oliver, and Me by Bill Hayes

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2v3SV4R.
Hayes has now written a memoir of his own, “Insomniac City.” It’s a loving tribute to Sacks and to New York. He provides tender insights into living with both. But Sacks was by far the more eccentric of his two loves.
Book description from Google Books:
A moving celebration of what Bill Hayes calls “the evanescent, the eavesdropped, the unexpected” of life in New York City, and an intimate glimpse of his relationship with the late Oliver Sacks. “A beautifully written once-in-a-lifetime book, about love, about life, soul, and the wonderful loving genius Oliver Sacks, and New York, and laughter and all of creation.”–Anne LamottBill Hayes came to New York City in 2009 with a one-way ticket and only the vaguest idea of how he would get by. But, at forty-eight years old, having spent decades in San Francisco, he craved change. Grieving over the death of his partner, he quickly discovered the profound consolations of the city’s incessant rhythms, the sight of the Empire State Building against the night sky, and New Yorkers themselves, kindred souls that Hayes, a lifelong insomniac, encountered on late-night strolls with his camera. And he unexpectedly fell in love again, with his friend and neighbor, the writer and neurologist Oliver Sacks, whose exuberance–“I don’t so much fear death as I do wasting life,” he tells Hayes early on–is captured in funny and touching vignettes throughout. What emerges is a portrait of Sacks at his most personal and endearing, from falling in love for the first time at age seventy-five to facing illness and death (Sacks died of cancer in August 2015). Insomniac City is both a meditation on grief and a celebration of life. Filled with Hayes’s distinctive street photos of everyday New Yorkers, the book is a love song to the city and to all who have felt the particular magic and solace it offers.
The book is rated 4.48/5 at goodreads.com, from 1402 ratings. See 256 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2uKxlXR.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2v3qzYK.

A travel book recommendation: Island People: The Caribbean and the World by Joshua Jelly-Schapiro

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2uIsOk0.
That “complex past” and “particular beauty” characterizes the Caribbean as a whole, and this book, years in the making, does the region splendid justice.
Book description from Google Books:
A masterwork of travel literature and of history: voyaging from Cuba to Jamaica, Puerto Rico to Trinidad, Haiti to Barbados, and islands in between, Joshua Jelly-Schapiro offers a kaleidoscopic portrait of each society, its culture and politics, connecting this region’s common heritage to its fierce grip on the world’s imagination. From the moment Columbus gazed out from the Santa María’s deck in 1492 at what he mistook for an island off Asia, the Caribbean has been subjected to the misunderstandings and fantasies of outsiders. Running roughshod over the place,  they have viewed these islands and their inhabitants as exotic allure to be consumed or conquered. The Caribbean stood at the center of the transatlantic slave trade for more than three hundred years, with societies shaped by mass migrations and forced labor.  But its people, scattered across a vast archipelago and separated by the languages of their colonizers, have nonetheless together helped make the modern world—its politics, religion, economics, music, and culture. Jelly-Schapiro gives a sweeping account of how these islands’ inhabitants have searched and fought for better lives. With wit and erudition, he chronicles this “place where globalization began,” and introduces us to its forty million people who continue to decisively shape our world.From the Hardcover edition.
The book is rated 3.60/5 at goodreads.com, from 47 ratings. See 12 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2uqQP3N.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2uHOSeq.
Google Books preview available in full post.

A travel book recommendation: Island People: The Caribbean and the World by Joshua Jelly-Schapiro

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2uIsOk0.
That “complex past” and “particular beauty” characterizes the Caribbean as a whole, and this book, years in the making, does the region splendid justice.
Book description from Google Books:
A masterwork of travel literature and of history: voyaging from Cuba to Jamaica, Puerto Rico to Trinidad, Haiti to Barbados, and islands in between, Joshua Jelly-Schapiro offers a kaleidoscopic portrait of each society, its culture and politics, connecting this region’s common heritage to its fierce grip on the world’s imagination. From the moment Columbus gazed out from the Santa María’s deck in 1492 at what he mistook for an island off Asia, the Caribbean has been subjected to the misunderstandings and fantasies of outsiders. Running roughshod over the place,  they have viewed these islands and their inhabitants as exotic allure to be consumed or conquered. The Caribbean stood at the center of the transatlantic slave trade for more than three hundred years, with societies shaped by mass migrations and forced labor.  But its people, scattered across a vast archipelago and separated by the languages of their colonizers, have nonetheless together helped make the modern world—its politics, religion, economics, music, and culture. Jelly-Schapiro gives a sweeping account of how these islands’ inhabitants have searched and fought for better lives. With wit and erudition, he chronicles this “place where globalization began,” and introduces us to its forty million people who continue to decisively shape our world.From the Hardcover edition.
The book is rated 3.60/5 at goodreads.com, from 47 ratings. See 12 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2uqQP3N.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: .
Google Books preview available in full post.

A travel book recommendation: Prince of Tricksters: The Incredible True Story of Netley Lucas, Gentleman Crook by Matt Houlbrook

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2usozhc.
…this is far more than a biography. It is a portrait of a period in transition which Houlbrook describes as an “age of disguise”. His book is theoretically aware, meticulously researched and brimming with insights into both the interwar years and this unscrupulous yet remarkable figure for whom identity was as fluid and fleeting as quicksilver.
Book description from Google Books:
Meet Netley Lucas, Prince of Tricksters—royal biographer, best-selling crime writer, and gentleman crook. In the years after the Great War, Lucas becomes infamous for climbing the British social ladder by his expert trickery—his changing names and telling of tales. An impudent young playboy and a confessed confidence trickster, he finances his far-flung hedonism through fraud and false pretenses. After repeated spells in prison, Lucas transforms himself into a confessing “ex-crook,” turning his inside knowledge of the underworld into a lucrative career as freelance journalist and crime expert. But then he’s found out again—exposed and disgraced for faking an exclusive about a murder case. So he reinvents himself, taking a new name and embarking on a prolific, if short-lived, career as a royal biographer and publisher. Chased around the world by detectives and journalists after yet another sensational scandal, the gentleman crook dies as spectacularly as he lived—a washed-up alcoholic, asphyxiated in a fire of his own making. The lives of Netley Lucas are as flamboyant as they are unlikely. In Prince of Tricksters, Matt Houlbrook picks up the threads of Lucas’s colorful lies and lives. Interweaving crime writing and court records, letters and life-writing, Houlbrook tells Lucas’s fascinating story and, in the process, provides a panoramic view of the 1920s and ’30s. In the restless times after the Great War, the gentlemanly trickster was an exemplary figure, whose tall tales and bogus biographies exposed the everyday difficulties of knowing who and what to trust. Tracing how Lucas both evoked and unsettled the world through which he moved, Houlbrook shows how he prompted a pervasive crisis of confidence that encompassed British society, culture, and politics. Taking readers on a romp through Britain, North America, and eventually into Africa, Houlbrook confronts readers with the limits of our knowledge of the past and challenges us to think anew about what history is and how it might be made differently.
The book is rated 3.86/5 at goodreads.com, from 7 ratings. See 2 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2us8DM3.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2uJHNKE.
Google Books preview available in full post.

A travel book recommendation: The Penguin History of Modern Vietnam by Christopher Goscha

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2feUgT5.
Goscha has provided quite simply the finest, most readable single-volume history of Vietnam in English.
Book description from Google Books:
“Over the centuries the Vietnamese have been both colonizers themselves and the victims of colonization by others. Their country expanded, shrunk, split and sometimes disappeared, often under circumstances far beyond their control. Despite these frequently overwhelming pressures, Vietnam has survived as one of Asia’s most striking and complex cultures. As more and more visitors come to this extraordinary country, there has been for some years a need for a major history – a book which allows the outsider to understand the many layers left by earlier emperors, rebels, priests and colonizers. Christopher Goscha’s new work amply fills this role. Drawing on a lifetime of thinking about Indochina, he has created a narrative which is consistently seen from ‘inside’ Vietnam but never loses sight of the connections to the ‘outside’. As wave after wave of invaders – whether Chinese, French, Japanese or American – have ultimately been expelled, we see the terrible cost to the Vietnamese themselves. Vietnam’s role in one of the Cold War’s longest conflicts has meant that its past has been endlessly abused for propaganda purposes, and it is perhaps only now that the events which created the modern state can be seen from a truly historical perspective. Christopher Goscha draws on the latest research and discoveries in Vietnamese, French and English. His book is a major achievement, describing both the grand narrative of Vietnam’s story but also the byways, curiosities, differences, cultures and peoples that have done so much over the centuries to define the many versions of Vietnam.”
The book is rated 3.93/5 at goodreads.com, from 61 ratings. See 16 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2feVnlR.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tw6ei6.

A travel book recommendation: The Marches: A Borderland Journey between England and Scotland by Rory Stewart

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2uvGjIm.
This is a tender book sheltering under a robust title: the term “the Marches” usually applies to the English-Welsh border country, but here Stewart means the borderlands of England and Scotland as well as his two walks through them.
Book description from Google Books:
From the best-selling author of The Places in Between, “a flat-out masterpiece” (New York Times Book Review), an exploration of the Marches—the borderland between England and Scotland—and the people, history, and conflicts that have shaped it In The Places in Between Rory Stewart walked through the most dangerous borderlandsin the world. Now he walks along the border he calls home—where political turmoil and vivid lives have played out for centuries across a magnificent natural landscape—to tell the story of the Marches. In his thousand-mile journey, Stewart sleeps on mountain ridges and housing estates, in hostels and farmhouses. Following the lines of Neolithic standing stones, wading through floods and ruined fields, he walks Hadrian’s Wall with soldiers who have fought in Afghanistan and visits the Buddhist monks who outnumber Christian monks in the Scottish countryside today. He melds the stories of the people he meets with the region’s political and economic history, tracing the creation of Scotland from ancient tribes to the independence referendum. And he discovers another country buried in history, a vanished Middleland: the lost kingdom of Cumbria. With every step, Stewart reveals the force of myths and traditions and the endurance of ties that are woven into the fabric of the land itself. A meditation on deep history, the pull of national identity, and home, The Marches is a transporting work from a powerful and original writer.
The book is rated 3.67/5 at goodreads.com, from 195 ratings. See 41 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2uN5Ub8.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: .

A travel book recommendation: Insomniac City: New York, Oliver, and Me by Bill Hayes

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2v3SV4R.
Hayes has now written a memoir of his own, “Insomniac City.” It’s a loving tribute to Sacks and to New York. He provides tender insights into living with both. But Sacks was by far the more eccentric of his two loves.
Book description from Google Books:
A moving celebration of what Bill Hayes calls “the evanescent, the eavesdropped, the unexpected” of life in New York City, and an intimate glimpse of his relationship with the late Oliver Sacks. “A beautifully written once-in-a-lifetime book, about love, about life, soul, and the wonderful loving genius Oliver Sacks, and New York, and laughter and all of creation.”–Anne LamottBill Hayes came to New York City in 2009 with a one-way ticket and only the vaguest idea of how he would get by. But, at forty-eight years old, having spent decades in San Francisco, he craved change. Grieving over the death of his partner, he quickly discovered the profound consolations of the city’s incessant rhythms, the sight of the Empire State Building against the night sky, and New Yorkers themselves, kindred souls that Hayes, a lifelong insomniac, encountered on late-night strolls with his camera. And he unexpectedly fell in love again, with his friend and neighbor, the writer and neurologist Oliver Sacks, whose exuberance–“I don’t so much fear death as I do wasting life,” he tells Hayes early on–is captured in funny and touching vignettes throughout. What emerges is a portrait of Sacks at his most personal and endearing, from falling in love for the first time at age seventy-five to facing illness and death (Sacks died of cancer in August 2015). Insomniac City is both a meditation on grief and a celebration of life. Filled with Hayes’s distinctive street photos of everyday New Yorkers, the book is a love song to the city and to all who have felt the particular magic and solace it offers.
The book is rated 4.49/5 at goodreads.com, from 1287 ratings. See 241 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2uKxlXR.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2v3qzYK.