Non Fiction

Around the World on a Bicycle by Fred A. Birchmore

The first time around I had access to the EARC of this book, I did not download it in time. I was lucky enough to have the link reactivated so I could get the copy. All of this did not affect my reading experience in the least.

This is the real-life story of the first man who cycled around the globe. He faced unheard-of difficulties, while the Nazi party was on the rise. His faith does seem to have brought him out alive at the end. He talks of a world that is long gone, many of the places he visited were under colonial rule at the time of the trip and that in itself colours the content. There has been next to no editing, I mean this in the best way. The narrative voice that comes through still sounds of a young man looking at and interacting with people from different cultures from him for the first time. The photos were brilliant, even the few that are in the book. I can only imagine what the full collection must be like!
That said, the issue I had was a very personal one. The narration comes (very clearly) is by a person living in a western mentality, the idea that the east needs saving. I am not going to debate on the point. I am not denying any pros but having seen the lingering repercussions to native heritage or pride in the very places he mentions, not to say how much of a hand the west had to destabilize some, I found it hard to ignore the tone the longer I read. It was written by a young man seeing the world for the first time, so I had to factor that in, despite which my individual reaction kept poking in.

Finally, this was a physical feat worthy of a read. The author was stubborn and strong and intend to complete what he set out to accomplish. Just for that and a very brief insight into a world lost long ago, I would suggest picking it up. The foreword adds additional insight into the man he became later in his life.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

As mentioned earlier, I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers, but the review is entirely based on my own personal background and reading experience.

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