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Where the West Ends characters ¼ PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook ✓ Prize winning author Michael J Totten returns with a masterpiece of travel writing and history in this journey through thirteen nations all but two formerly communist just beyond the edge of the West where few casual travelers ventureHis work as an independent foreigF its communist past; from the front lines in the Caucasus during Russia's invasion of Georgia to the otherworldly post Soviet disasterscape in Ukraine Where the West Ends is high octane adventure writing at its finest and is Michael J Totten's most entertaining work written to dat. I think if I could figure out how to be a travel writer and make a living that way I would And books like this don't help matters neither do re runs of Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations but that's beside the point I can think of no job that would be awesome that travelling the world and writing about the crazy random wonderful odd dangerous things that you see along the wayAnd Michael J Totten makes that old idealistic itch of mine itch that much harder because he's a good writer This post from way back when about the Ghost City of Cyprus bumped Cyprus up to one of my bucket list destinations So did that paper I wrote back as an undergrad dissecting the Cyprus Conflict a fascinating fascinating subject that I knew nothing about Where The West Ends chronicles his journeys through a variety of countries starting in Irai Kurdistan and Turkey and winding up through Albania and Serbia before heading over to Georgia and the Caucuses and then Romania and finally Ukraine Totten and his occasional travelling companion and buddy Sean drive into Irai Kurdistan like it's nothing on a whim in fact just to find out what's going on They drive into Kosovo and nearly end up in a dangerous Serb neighborhood of Pristina They meet American soldiers Albanians that love America and President Bush They encounter hostility in the usual places Serbia and find love for America in places you wouldn't expect Albania and Romania both apparently ridiculously pro American As is Kosovo I believe downtown Pristina has a statue of President Clinton while Albania threw up a statue of Bush the Younger That's right Bush the Younger he probably doesn't have a statue in the United States for cryin' out loud but he's got one in Albania by gollyTotten ventures into the Caucuses visitng Georgia in the midst of the Russian invasion and hops a taxi out to the Russian occupied town of Gori and almost manages to get there too before turning around and beating a hasty retreat back to Tblisi And finally the book ends with a trip into Ukraine ostensibly to check out the areas around Chernobyl though as it turns they don't make it there and instead end up taking a long lonely trip down to the Crimea where they really discover where the West endsTo be honest these 'dispatches from abroad' especially where The Balkans are concerned have been around forever Rebecca West's Black Lamb Grey Falcon probably remains one of the definitive books exploring what was then the country of Yugoslavia but Robert Kaplan has dabbled here as well with the excellent Balkan Ghosts so Totten is travelling a path that's been fairly well travelled before though I'd say his writing style lends a certain realism to his adventures He's not painting a broad canvas or pretty metaphors of blood soaked mountains or haunted plains Kaplan called his book Balkan Ghosts and there tended to be something ethereal about his writing in that book Not to say that it wasn't well written I enjoyed it immensely but it didn't drop you into the back seat of the car travelling throughout this region the way Totten does No Totten brings you along for the ride which makes Where The West Ends compulsively readable and enjoyable to bootThis is the kind of foreign correspondant 'you are there' type of journalism I love With so many networks cutting back on actual real live foreign correspondants it's awesome find someone who's willing to actually go to some of these messed up places and give you his best perspective on what's going on on what some of it might mean Overall Totten is one of my 'must read' commentators on the Interwebs If I see a link to an article of his float by I click on it He's an excellent writer a straight shooter a guy who's interest seems to be in informing you of facts on the ground not analysis He hearkens back to the old school foreign correspondant journalism of times past and this book like so many of it's ilk aways makes me want to travel to some of these places just so I like him can see it for myself My Verdict out of Turns out that while No Reservations may be gone from Netflix at least I can't find it Kitchen Confidential was available for Kindle I'm already 36 pages inForeign correspondant is another job I'd love to have Along with weirdly enough Air Traffic Controller

Michael J. Totten ¶ 4 Free read

Prize winning author Michael J Totten returns with a masterpiece of travel writing and history in this journey through thirteen nations all but two formerly communist just beyond the edge of the West where few casual travelers ventureHis work as an independent foreign correspondent. I generally steer away from travel writing about mainstream locations because I find that the genre can be rather formulaic I ate here I stayed here the people were like this and then I went somewhere else and I feel that popular destinations like London or Paris are best experienced in person rather than through the page I can state with reasonable confidence however that I do not have any of the areas visited by Michael Totten in Where the West Ends on any upcoming travel itineraries In fact it is pretty safe to assume that I probably wont ever make it to the likes of Kosovo Ira or Montenegro or anyplace else visited by Totten while he traverses the nebulous border between east and west Totten's book reads like a travelogue with a strong geopolitical focus and is ultimately an informative and enjoyable examination of such countriesTotten and an occasional travel partner ultimately visit thirteen countries in all with each country roughly receiving one chapter Each chapter can stand alone as a vignette but chapters are further organized by region which helps provide greater context to understanding life there Where the West Ends adheres to some of the basic structures of travel writing and Totten offers up some vivid descriptions of the sheer beauty and abject desolation that he finds within these countries He is a gifted writer and he is also very familiar with his subject matter Totten is a journalist whose work has appeared in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal and he has reported from Ira the Balkans and the former Soviet Union I came into the book with very limited knowledge about the region I always plan on reading The Economist cover to cover but I can't recall the last time I read than one article in the Middle East and Africa Section I generally assumed that countries such as Georgia and Kosovo had their issues and uirks but I never read anything describing life there Shameful reading habits aside I remain interested in learning about the area and Totten thankfully is able to provide uite a bit of fascinating information about it In addition to dejecting post communist apartment blocks and corrupt officials many of these countries are filled with factual tidbits The reception of Totten's American citizenship truly runs the gamut and there are some surprising members of the pro American camp The author is embraced by Irai Kurds who are ideological polar opposites from Irai Arabs in terms of America Kurds and even the most devout viewers of Fox News cannot beat the residents of Kosovo in terms of American support though The country boasts what is probably the world's only examples of graffiti writing effusively praising George W Bush and a patisseriedisco there are undoubtedly numerous typos in this review but that last phrase is not one of them named Hillary in honor of the former first lady while her husband has an eleven foot statue in his honor on Bill Clinton Boulevard in the capital of Prishtina That being said the highlight of the book was still probably learning about a statue of Lenin in Yalta that stares directly at a McDonald's franchiseWhile there are plenty of entertaining and somewhat depressing descriptions of awful hotels ravaged post communist environments shady cabdrivers and other elements of the countries covered Totten also writes about some of their deeper cultural and political aspects Totten interviews various professors journalists and everyday residents who help provide additional insight into life at the borders between the developed and developing world I found these sections such Totten's detailing of the Russia Georgia conflict to be both comprehensive and enlightening though not all interview subjects were eually engaging Several of these sections dragged on a bit as a result It was still generally nice to understand the historical underpinnings that led to the often dismal surroundings encountered by the author Totten also makes some astute statements such as when he posits that nationalism is on par with radical Islam in contributing to the perpetual state of Middle Eastern tensionI don't want to come across as a pre schooler but Totten mentions holding a camera or performing the act of photography several times in the book often while in front of some majestic landscape or peculiar sight He even risks riling up unfriendly soldiers and officials by having a camera on his person during several instances If he is going to dangle these pictures in front of our faces and endure so much trouble and risk in doing so you would think he could include some of said photographs within the pages of Where the West Ends On a positive note these reckless camera holding habits exhibit Totten's freewheeling and adventurous approach to his journey which helps make for an enjoyable read He is unafraid to travel to Ira on a whim the trip was completely unplanned as he tells it solicit navigational help from anti American civilians and he even attempts to pay Chernobyl a visit during his travels where he is unfortunately rebuffed These passages inject excitement than most books that extensively cover the breakup of Yugoslavia and collapse of Albanian government can musterIn SumWhere the West Ends is a worthwhile read that strikes a nice balance between being informative and entertaining as Totten explores the Balkans Middle East Caucasus and Black Sea regions Simply pointing out their idiosyncrasies in a travelogue would make for a worthwhile read but the book is further enhanced in general with reflections about the factors that shaped each country's politics and culture 710

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Where the West EndsTakes him deep into the field beyond the sensational headlines from his hilariously miserable road trip with his best friend to Ira and to the Wild West of Albania the most bizarre country in Europe; from the killing fields in Bosnia and Kosovo to a Romania haunted by the ghosts o. Fun new book from Michael J Totten Fun that is if your idea of thrills is a drive from Turkey into Ira for lunch and that surely would be a thrill for me Where the West Ends expands on Mr Totten's Dispatches blog for World Affairs Journal Sections are roughly grouped as the Middle East the Balkans the Caucasus and the Black SeaMany authors seem to believe they won't be taken seriously unless their work is laden with ponderous history When well written that's worthwhile When it's not it's the reason tons of books are returned to the shelf half finishedIn Where the West Ends Mr Totten mostly allows a cursory sketch of the past to suffice I suspect that satisfies most armchair travelers Then he gets on with the travel writing I like best what it feels like to get up from that chair and actually go to a place and what it's like personally to be thereMuch personal and personable than lots of today's current affairs writing