Book Reviews

An Englishman in Colombia by David Wood

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List Price: £6.99


Paperback: 152 Pages.

Published: 03 June 2014 by Troubador Publishing Ltd

ISBN: 178306045X

EAN: 9781783060450

Murder, cocaine, street mugging, bombs and aggressive Amazonian Indians combined with exotic beach resorts and colourful characters make David Wood's book on Colombia an interesting and adventurous look at the most dangerous and alluring country in Latin America. David portrays the capital Bogota as a mixture of colourful street people merging with a vibrant culture. The author's travels in Colombia bring him into contact with many different characters and he outlines the problems experienced in a city characterized by the great contrast of wealth and poverty and the influence of the cocaine business. From detailed personal accounts of incidents such as street muggings, a bomb explosion in central Bogota and the blowing up of an aircraft by the drug cartels which results in the death of his business partner, David draws us into the heart of this compelling country. The author gives clear descriptions of life in places like the Sierra Nevada Mountains where he climbs to the lost city of the Tairona Indians and experiences the culture of the Indian tribes. He also considers the history and culture of cities like Cartagena with its colonial heritage. The book portrays Colombia as a land of great contrasts, beauty and vibrancy contrasted with excessive violence, poverty and crime. The result is a shocking and intimate reflection of life in Colombia today.


3.0 Stars3.0 Stars3.0 Stars  by Anne

A series of interesting anecdotes and observations

This book is about the author's travels in Colombia in the 1980s and 1990s when he also lived there. It is a short and very readable book with some interesting observations and anecdotes. It certainly told me things which I didn't know about the country and brought the attention of the reader to the country's interesting history and culture.

The problem with this book, for me, was that it read a bit like a child's essay about what they did in the summer holidays. We are given a series of episodes without any real context. I didn't understand exactly what the author was doing in the country and I certainly didn't know why he stayed. I got no feeling that he had a passion for Colombia and its people. The book as a whole doesn't have an underlying theme or message.

I have read a lot of travel books and enjoy this type of writing but there was something missing here. I didn't really get to know or engage with the author or to understand what he felt like about what was happening to the country while he was there. Well observed and interesting but ultimately not great travel writing. I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for a review.

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