Eco displays in these essays the same wit, learning, and lively intelligence that delighted readers of The Name of the Rose and Foucault’s Pendulum. His range is wide, and his insights are acute, frequently ironic, and often downright funny. Translated by William Weaver. A Helen and Kurt Wolff Book
Perhaps I didn't get it, or perhaps it was a mistake reading much of it in a bar in Santa Clara, but I would assert that this is only a book for the Eco purist.
I mention that first because whilst Eco does elude to the book being an eclectic mix, it is probably a little more eclectic and a little less cohesive than one might have hoped for. Perhaps this is testament to his versatility or perhaps it is testament to the greed of publishers - I assume the latter. I couldn't help but feel that the beginning of this book was a significantly less desirable attempt to cast the Euro-philosopher's eye Westward with rather dire results.
Perhaps the greatest charm of this work is the Italian philosopher's weltanschauung (as opposed to the French philosophers'). As per fashion, alcohol, car design and architecture, so philosophy presents itself differently in the mind. Eco seemed rather more human and witty at times, something Baudrillard could never be accused of, and this resonates a certain sympathetic tone in the reader's chest.
One very small downside to this text is just how dated it is, and whilst in purely philosophical terms that isn't a problem, in historical discourse it is. Clearly Eco was commenting on events fresh in the lives of late '60s, '70s Italians and that rather comes across like reading an old newspaper you found stuffed in the wall. The work then becomes something of a historical curiosity rather than a work of philosophy, which is a shame.
All in all 'Travels in Hyperreality' represents a noble spoke on the wheel of postmodernist discourse and theory and without it we would, no doubt be worse off.