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Mediterranean Winter
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About the Author

Robert D. Kaplan is the bestselling author of sixteen books on foreign affairs and travel translated into many languages, including Asia's Cauldron, The Revenge of Geography, Monsoon, The Coming Anarchy, and Balkan Ghosts. He is a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security and a contributing editor at The Atlantic, where his work has appeared for three decades. He was chief geopolitical analyst at Stratfor, a visiting professor at the United States Naval Academy, and a member of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board. Foreign Policy magazine has twice named him one of the world's Top 100 Global Thinkers.

Reviews

Many recent travel memoirs have focused on the personal minutiae of a journey, but Atlantic Monthly correspondent Kaplan (Balkan Ghosts) is a breed apart. Similar to classic writers like Lawrence Durrell and Henry Miller, Kaplan relates only a scant amount of detail about himself and why he's traveling. Particulars about quirky characters and minor annoyances are rare. Instead, he uses graceful prose to describe the history of the ground on which he walks and his absorption with events that happened centuries before he bought his first plane ticket. A visit to Carthage isn't merely a cozy ride through a pleasant landscape; as his train surges forward, he summons up the first foreign invasion from the Phoenician city-state of Tyre. With his lyrical writing style, Kaplan makes factual summations into slowly unraveling, luxurious tales. "The founding of Carthage is clothed in sumptuous myth," he writes. Sometimes, however, this approach interferes with coherence. The richness of the prose and the depth to which Kaplan delves into the past can make his actual travel experiences somewhat jarring. (When he collects a $40 check for freelance work from the Christian Science Monitor, it's as if Hannibal had suddenly strolled into the American Express office.) But generally, the discord between Kaplan's everyday reality and his intellectual wanderings makes for a sweet mix. And because he dips so liberally into history and goes into such detail about ancient peoples, it doesn't matter that Kaplan's visits to the Mediterranean actually took place in the 1970s. His love for antiquity, much like his writing, is timeless. Agent, Carl D. Brandt. (On sale Feb. 3) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Kaplan, the best-selling author of Balkan Ghosts and Warrior Politics, who is known as an "influential commentator on world affairs" but also a "travel writer from hell," writes of his trips to the Mediterranean region from the 1970s until the 1990s. Combining several trips into one narrative, he describes his life-changing adventures in Tunisia, Sicily, Greece, and Dalmatia (which was then part of Yugoslavia) and provides the framework for the stories of regional history. Unlike his well-known writings on world affairs, which are reflective of decades of reporting on ethnic and political struggles, this book covers the popular ancient history of a region and offers detailed discussions of its mythology and religions. Though it doesn't have the import of Balkan Ghosts, this makes for entertaining and informative reading. Appropriate for public library and larger academic library collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 10/1/03.]-Sheila Kasperek, Mansfield Univ. Lib., PA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

"Artful and intelligent . . . . Kaplan's book has made its own mark. . . I am able to feel the sense of an exotic and timeless part of the world." -- Bob Hoover, "Pittsburg Post-Gazette""[Kaplan] helps the distant past resonate today. . . . [He] teaches lessons that are informative and concise." -"The Washington Post Book World""A writer of extraordinary intellect and passion . . . with a wonderfully lucid way of relating history as a living thing." -"San Francisco Chronicle""Erudite and intrepid. . . . [Kaplan] is a deft guide to wherever he chooses to lead you." -"The New York Times"

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