The World : Travels 1950-2000

by Jan Morris

Hardcover, 2003




New York : W.W. Norton, 2003.


The first book to distill Jan Morris's entire body of work into one volume, The World is a magnum opus by the most-celebrated travel writer in the world. To read it is to take an epic armchair journey through the last half of twentieth-century history. A breathtakingly vivid guide to our greatest cosmopolitan cities and cultures from Manhattan to Venice and from Baghdad to Barbados, this book assembles fifty years of Morris's finest travel writing. With eyewitness accounts of such seminal moments as the first successful ascent of Everest, the Eichmann trial, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the handover of Hong Kong, The World promises to create an entirely new generation of Jan Morris readers. A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2003.

Media reviews

Still, Morris maintains her ironist’s accreditations. An acute, idiosyncratic collection, full of what the author, at home at last, always liked best: fizz.
1 more
The first thing to be said about Jan Morris is that she has emerged from her experiences as a first-class writer. This was not something one could say with any great conviction about her previous persona, James Morris. Although there are good passages in "The World of Venice," for instance, there are also some shockingly bad ones; possibly the affectation and pretentiousness, the occasional descents into Lawrence Durrell whimsy, were products of the insecurity he felt in his earlier role. Possibly we writers should all undergo the occasional sex change as a means of keeping us on our toes and generally toning us up. At all events, she now writes in a fine, robust, self-confident style. If one can, without offense, attribute sexual characteristics to a prose style, I should say the new Morris was noticeably the more masculine, and it comes as something of a shock, when she is describing a journey across Singapore harbor, to read: "Spray got in our eyes, oil got on our skirts."

User reviews

LibraryThing member gbelik
This is great travel writing. He is an astute observer wherever he goes. I thought he got a little testy in his later years. I guess one would be a little jaded and a bit too demanding after 50 years of travel, but this is just a little cavil. By and large, I loved going along with him wherever he went.
LibraryThing member Faradaydon
Great collection by the peerless travel writer of her time.



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