Today, on World Book Day, we celebrate the best of books, and it's a great occasion for young and old. But part of the fun of books is evaluating them. You'll hear alot about great books today .. but what about the bad ones? Here is my list of the worst travel books:-
1. "Germans and Japs in South America". Reg Thomson went to Paraguay (see picture) in the 1930s, ...and blundered around for a while, drinking and fighting. He had little curiosity for the locals, and completely missed the Chaco War (which he thought was all but over). With so little content, his publishers gave the book this silly name, hoping it would inspire readers on the eve of WW2. Actually, it's not what the book is about at all.
2. "Enchanting Wilderness". Hans Tolten was a German traveller who went to stay with a tribe of Amerindians in northern Argentina. He has flings with two of the tribe's girls, impregnating one of them, and then he says his goodbyes and heads home. With fabulous insensitivity, he recastes this unedifying tale as a romance from the Garden of Eden.
3. "The Lure of the Labrador Wild", by Dillon Wallace. In 1903, Wallace and Leonidas Hubbard set off into the Canadian wilderness. Although they were using trappers' paths, they took no proper maps, the wrong food, inadequate equipment and no local guides. Their folly cost them dearly, and they were soon lost. Eventually, they end up eating their shoes (and Hubbard starves to death). Weirdly, this book has cult status in Labrador. I suspect what Labradoreans enjoy is not the heroism of the explorers (which is non-existent) but the triumph of their brutal world.