SOCIAL SCIENCES

The Best American Travel Writing 2019

Houghton Harcourt. (Best American). Oct. 2019. 336p. ed. by ed. by Alexandra Fuller & Jason Wilson. notes. ISBN 9780358094234. pap. $15.99; ebk. ISBN 9780358094265. TRAV
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In the 20th anniversary volume of this series, guest editor Fuller (Travel Light, Move Fast) has chosen a wide range of appealing selections from publications and online sites such as The New Yorker, Buzzfeed, Outside, and Smithsonian. Some authors, including Stephen Benz, tackle grim subjects such as Guantánamo; Devon O’Neil visits the U.S. Virgin Islands after Hurricane Irma. Unusual choices for travel destinations include Chernobyl, Myanmar, and Egypt during a time of civil unrest. These are balanced by a trip to Nashville to discover why that city has become a bachelorette party magnet, while series editor Wilson (The Cider Revival) takes readers on a tour of some international Trump properties, namely sites in Vancouver and Scotland. Articles that deal with climate change and vanishing species, such as the Tasmanian tiger, the Sumatran orangutan, and the reindeer herds of Siberia, demonstrate the reimagining of travel writing as more than a description of a destination. Rahawa Haile’s “I Walked from Selma to Montgomery” is a stunning article about how walking can be used as a political action.
VERDICT No matter what their mood or interest, readers can find much to move and delight them in this entertaining collection.

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