I read the Great Railway Bazaar a few years after I left college. Before this, I had traveled to all 48-continental U.S. states, mainly by hitchhiking. After I read this and similar books, I knew I had to travel the world as far and wide as possible. Paul Theroux has written over 25 books, many of them on his travels, with this one being the most famous. The book was published in 1975 and covered his journey by train from London to Tokyo and back. What impressed me was his time in remote countries and his rich descriptions of local people and places. For instances, he pigeon-holed pre-revolutionary Teheran had “the most obnoxious features of a bazaar, as Dallas does, and Teheran has all the qualities of that oil-rich Texas city; the spurious glamour, the dust and heat, the taste for plastic, the evidence of cash.” Later in my life, I visited many of the places and often did not agree with his assessment but still treasured his vibrant portrayals.
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