One of the great derisive monuments to the imbecilities of the tourist experience, Mark Twain's (1835-1910) account of his tour with a group of fellow Americans around the sights of Europe is both hilarious and touching, Twain's exasperation and dismay at the phoney and exploitative being matched by his excitement and pleasure in the genuinely beautiful.
Great Journeys allows readers to travel both around the planet and back through the centuries – but also back into ideas and worlds frightening, ruthless and cruel in different ways from our own. Few reading experiences can begin to match that of engaging with writers who saw astounding things: Great civilisations, walls of ice, violent and implacable jungles, deserts and mountains, multitudes of birds and flowers new to science. Reading these books is to see the world afresh, to rediscover a time when many cultures were quite strange to each other, where legends and stories were treated as facts and in which so much was still to be discovered.
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