Books: Wide, Wide World

As the Spanish proverb says, 'He who would bring home the wealth of the Indies, must carry the wealth of the Indies with him.' So it is in travelling; a man must carry knowledge, with him, if he would bring home knowledge.

—Samuel Johnson

The traveler turned travel writer must also carry his knowledge lightly, rather like a tourist's folding iron, so that the press of history never completely smooths over the gaily rumpled wardrobe of fresh impressions. Six superior recent travel books are linked not only by knowledgeability and good writing but by...

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