Verdict: With an eye for detail, a sharp sense of humor, and a storyteller’s dramatic flair, the author brings his kaleidoscopic journey back to life.
Tony Thomson, born and bred in the Midwest, looks back on his heady youth in this hippy-era memoir of travels across the Middle East and India.
After a stint in the US. Army during the Vietnam War, and studies at Yale and Oxford, Thompson lands a job in London. Before long, he links up with friends who have decided to drive to India (but not before meeting the love of his life, an attractive Brit named Alyson, at a Swiss ski resort). In an old VW bus, Thomson, his wife-to-be, and an assortment of friends travel through Europe, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, encountering a host of colorful characters and experiences along the way.
Thomson vividly paints the 1970s middle-eastern world, describing such scenes as his arrest in Iran (he overstayed his visa), the “rich Afghan goulash of human diversity,” and a chaotic Turkish restaurant where partridges trolled for crumbs under the tables. Along with the quirky, free-style living, Thomson outlines the history of many of the countries he visits, paying particular attention to the complicated tale of Afghanistan, to which he will return in the second part of his text.
Nearly 40 years later, with the eyes of a grown man, he reassesses the “beautiful, broken” Afghan people, concluding that American military involvement there is futile. With an eye for detail, a sharp sense of humor, and a storyteller’s dramatic flair, Thomson brings his kaleidoscopic journey back to life.
Reviewed by Kathryn Livingston
Avid reader and book reviewer. Author “All About Motherhood” (an indie) and other titles that are not. Blogs about family issues. Practices yoga. www.livwrite.blogspot.com
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