For Peter Ackroyd, the subterranean world holds a potent allure.
It’s nice to know that the trees lining the roads in Paris have microchips embedded in their trunks, that the city council is controlling the pigeon population by shaking the eggs to make them infertile and that the Café Voisin served elephant consommé during the 1870 siege.
This is a book which is sometimes so private that reading it seems very nearly like an act of invasiveness.
There are among us a churlish few who consider the term ‘sports personality’ to be an oxymoron.
For centuries, the history of the far North was a tapestry of controversies and mis- understandings, misspellings, dubious arrivals and equally dubious departures.
With its vast areas of barely explored wilderness, and its heady mix of the sublime, the bizarre and the lushly seductive, South America would appear to have all the ingredients to attract the travel writer.
In the late 1960s I grew up in the London borough of Greenwich, which in those days had a shabby, post-industrial edge.
The unification of Italy 150 years ago was a terrible mistake, according to David Gilmour, imposing a national state on a diverse collection of people with little sense of patria. But Barry Unsworth thinks it’s too early to cry failure
Charles Allen is impressed by an arduous journey that is both a pilgrimage and a way of mourning lost relatives
The Ottoman Empire inspired great travel books as well as great architects. Travellers like George Sandys, Richard Pococke or the Chevalier d’Arvieux in the 17th and 18th centuries were curious, erudite and less arrogant than their 19th-century successors.
David Gilmour enjoys an idiosyncratic journey around this vast country of sometimes unbearable contrasts
The Oxus, that vast central Asian river that rises somewhere in the Afghan Pamirs, has fascinated explorers for centuries. Its…
Harry Mount looks across the Dardanelles and sees yesterday’s weather today
Apart from knowing your onions, you should be widely travelled, and preferably artistic, to cut the mustard these days, Fay Maschler suspects
Some travel writers, in an attempt to simulate the hardship of Victorian journeys, like to impose artificial difficulties on themselves.
Before tourism came travel; and before travel, exploration.
A few minutes’ walk from Paddington Station is a drinking den and restaurant called the Frontline Club, a members’ club for foreign correspondents.
What is a Bug? For this book, any animal that is not a Beast: the whole invertebrate realm, from the humble amoeba, through insects (more than half the book), to octopuses and sea-squirts (the distant forbears of you and me, lords and ladies of creation).
In an age when it is fashionable to travel with a fridge, Nicholas Jubber’s decision to take an 11th-century epic poem as his travelling companion to Iran and Afghanistan can only be admired.
At the beginning of The Ask, Horace sits with Burke and proclaims that America is a ‘run down and demented pimp’.
Half a century ago I read W. G. Hoskins’s book, The Making of the English Landscape, when it first came out. It was for me an eye-opener, as it was for many people.
In 1931, a 23-year-old Englishman called Henry ‘Gino’ Watkins returned from an expedition to the white depths of the Greenlandic ice cap.
John Simpson quotes Humbert Wolfe’s mischievous lampoon but makes it clear that, in spite of the somewhat disobliging title of his book, he does not accept it as fair comment.
I was sitting recently with a former US marine by one of the huge open windows on the top floor of the Caravelle Hotel in Saigon.
If it wasn’t for the sheer misery of most of its luckless inhabitants, wouldn’t the world be a duller place without North Korea?