Destinations

Destinations : Essays from "Rolling Stone"

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Description

A blend of impressionism, history, political interpretation, and travel writing, this book catches a number of places at specific moments: Watergate Washington, Delhi under a State of Emergency, Rhodesia on the eve of independence, Cairo during Israeli-Egyptian peace talks, and Panama during the United States Treaty debate. Shuttling between London, Trieste, Istanbul, Los Angeles, and New York, Jan Morris makes an informed and perceptive guide. This book is intended for readers and collectors of travel literature; aficionados of Jan Morris's work.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 256 pages
  • 140 x 220mm | 195g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford Paperbacks
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • 10ill.
  • 0192813676
  • 9780192813671

Review Text

Impressions of Jerry Ford's Washington, Anwar Sadat's Cairo, and other power-centers, other flashpoints - written for Rolling Stone, 1974-80, and, at the least, suitably loose. There are other problems. The very renown or notoriety of these places - they also include Los Angeles, London, Delhi, Panama, South Africa - means that writer after writer has had a go at sizing them up or cutting them down; and Morris' observations are commonplace. Washington is both arid and folksy. "London is a stage!" Pre-treaty Panama is a study in contrasts. "Nearly everything in Istanbul is blurred by its own congealment and decay." When Morris attempts a revisionist view - as of Los Angeles as the seat of "expertise" - it quickly crumbles: much of that expertise, she finds, is either "dated" or "devoted to. . . display." The lead-off piece on Washington, moreover, was the last piece in her previous collection, Travels (1976); the highly topical report on 1977 Rhodesia is hopelessly outdated; the essay on Manhattan winds up, almost embarrassingly, by identifying Woody Allen as the epitome thereof - and professing surprise at finding him "wistful." On the positive side, the report on 1977 South Africa holds up - not only because events haven't yet come to a boil, but because Morris is strong on the Afrikaaner mystique and its erosion, and on the bootless existence of the English-speaking whites. But the best piece by far is that on Trieste, the one place where "nothing was developing." Here we learn specific and interesting things: Trieste's past as the sea-outlet of Austria-Hungary, what it might have been (had Stalin and Tito not fallen out) as "the chief warm-water port of the Communist world"; how the Triestinos feel, now, at finding their city merely "the twelfth port of Italy." But most of the other pieces are, in varying degrees, sprawling, amorphous, and saddest to say, stale. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Table of contents

Washington, DC; Delhi; Panama; Los Angeles; South Africa and Rhodesia; London; Cairo; Istanbul; Trieste; Manhattan.show more