SOCIAL SCIENCES

The Best American Travel Writing 2020

Mariner: Houghton Harcourt. (Best American). Nov. 2020. 336p. ed. by ed. by Jason Wilson with Robert Mcfarlane. ISBN 9780358362036. pap. $16.99. TRAV
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In this latest in the “Best American” series, selected essays compiled by editors Wilson and Macfarlane explore current issues including identity, faith, the Mexico-U.S. border, race and racism, sex, and disability. Each striking selection showcases a traveler who was seeking something authentic locally or abroad. Lacy M. Johnson’s “How To Mourn a Glacier” looks at the devastating cost of global warming in Iceland. Courtney Desiree Morris’s “My Father’s Land” investigates various histories and peoples through the author’s trip to Jamaica visiting great houses with her family. While some essays delve into larger issues through personal experience, others focus on more intimate connections. “Lost in Summerland” captures Barrett Swanson’s attempts to connect with his brother, a budding spiritualist, during a trip to Lily Dale, NY. In “Revisiting My Grandfather’s Garden,” Mojgan Ghazirad returns to Tehran to dive into memory by revisiting locations. Jeff MacGregor’s “The Last of the Great American Hobos” was also impactful as a human interest study of homelessness in Britt, IA. Whether authors found what they were looking for during their travels, this is a clear celebration of new experience, of place, and of the knowledge and wonders waiting for us at home or abroad.
VERDICT An immersive, thought-provoking dive into myriad travel experiences. Highly recommended for both travel aficionados and general readers.

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