The Road Less Traveled

Ibn Battutah has a claim to be the greatest traveler of the premechanical age. In 1325, aged 21, he left modern-day Morocco. Some 29 years later — having journeyed 120,000 km as far north as the Volga, as far east as China and as far south as Tanzania — Battutah returned home to become a judge and dictate his spellbinding story. The volumes that resulted — The Marvels of Metropolises and the Wonders of Wandering (known as Travels) — are little read in the English-speaking world. But in a brilliant, erudite and entertaining literary coup, Tim Mackintosh-Smith, a British student of...

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