Thursday, October 29, 2009

Book Review

I like to travel and I am always looking a way to add depth to my travel experience. In an effort to do so, I read Rick Steves' Travel as a Political Act. Steves is most famous for his PBS travel show and a series of travel book he writes about visiting Europe.

The best part of the book is the large middle section where he goes to various countries and sees how they address certain issues. For example he goes to Switzerland and the Netherlands to study drug policy. Steves also goes to Morocco and Turkey to learn about moderate Islamic countries and he travels to Iran to learn about the United States' current enemy. While usually he usually concentrates on Europe, Steves' does detour to El Salvador to learn about libertation theology and the role that globalization and U.S. Foreign policy play in the developing world.

Steve's book does present a lot to think about and how travel can force to confront some delicate issues. While encouraging people to travel to begin the process of confronting long held beliefs, Steves is short on ways to do that in the specific countries he visited(perhaps that is what his travel books are for).

Even if I travel to only a few of the places that Steves visited, his book does encourage me to travel more and increase the opportunities to step out and learn directly from other cultures.

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