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The Authors Guild has an effort to republish older best-selling books that have fallen out of print. John Sack's account of traveling to thirteen countries so small that the world was largely unaware of them has floated around on my "Read Someday" stack for decades and this republishing let me get to it finally. The book is a light and quick read and Sack's writing is generally humorous and easy-going. There are plenty of amusing anecdotes. Liechtenstein does a brisk tourist trade in cuckoo clocks, not because they are made there, but because tourists expect cuckoo clocks anywhere in the Alps and the Liechtensteiners are happy to oblige. In the war between Sharja and Dubai, the two sides fired cannonballs at each other, but with insufficient powder to reach the enemy...who would promptly run out in to the field, grab the harmless cannonballs and carry them back to their lines to fire...again with insufficient powder. This is the kind of book that has an easy time getting 3½ stars from me. I love humor, I love travel literature and I love books about the unusual or little known. It started out well and, on the whole, it passed a pleasant afternoon. However, little things nibbled away at my impression. None were enough to fault the book all on their own, but a quarter star here, a quarter star there... Part of it isn't really Mr. Sack's fault. The world of 1955—pre-OPEC, pre-Grace Kelly and the antics of her offspring (she married in 1956)—was a different place and the United Arab Emirates and Monaco may not have been place names familiar to the casual reader as they are today. And, places like Amb, Punial and Sikkim have disappeared, swallowed into the greater Pakistan and India, making them much less interesting than a tiny nation. But, laid at his feet, I expect authors of this kind of thing to get their facts right. For example, the humor of the entire chapter on Monaco was based upon the first sentence which read in part, "His Most Serene Highness Rainier III...is the only absolute monarch in the Western world." From this, it could go on to explore such topics as, "and if he should step outside...some drowsy afternoon...and slice the heads off ten or a dozen bystanders, it couldn't be questioned that he acted within his rights, although, I suspect, a good deal of grousing would be heard afterwards." But, of course, the Prince isn't...nor has he been since 1911 when the sovereign's absolute powers were stripped and the principality became a constitutional monarchy. I also noticed that the book spent most of its time poking fun at the inhabitants of each of these countries. It was as if he was saying, "Ah, here's another little place and isn't it just quaint and droll?" The truly funny travel writers...the Brysons and Trillins...know that commenting upon the foibles of one's own culture and personal idiosyncrasies is, in the end, funnier and much less Ugly Tourist. I haven't given up on Sack as I've always wanted to read his highly controversial An Eye for an Eye: The Untold Story of Jewish Revenge Against Germans in 1945. However, I think what I'd really like is for someone like Trillin to tackle his own version of this tour comprising not only old and established venues like Andorra, Malta and Seychelles, but also some of the more fun and interesting experiments in sovereignty like Sealand, the Principality of Outer Baldonia and Hutt River Province.
"Report from Practically Nowhere" by John Sack
Report from Practically Nowhere is a collection of 13 short pieces, most of which ... In any case, Report from Practically Nowhere will be reprinted by ...
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Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM)
John Ayer made reference to a 1955 book by John Sack titled 'Report from Practically Nowhere.' I had a chance to read this book over the weekend, ...
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Sack John: Report From Practically Nowhere | ISBN: 9780595089185 ...
Report From Practically Nowhere. Iuniverse.Com (United States), 2000 Paperback, 248 stran Velikost: 216x140 mm ISBN: 9780595089185 (0595089186) ...
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Shel Silverstein: Poems and Drawings: Slipcase 3-Book Box Set de: harpercollins Octobre 01, 2002. 55. Books : Report From Practically Nowhere ...
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