I Wouldn't Start From Here is Andrew Mueller's personal memoir of the 21st century so far. It features any number of exotic locations, and a cast of revolutionaries, rock stars, politicians, hitmen, warmongers and peacemakers. Between ducking for cover in Gaza, running roadblocks in Iraq, getting arrested in Cameroon and hanging out with Hezbollah, this is a search for an answer to perhaps the key question of our time: "What is it with these people?"
©2008 Andrew Mueller; (P)2008 Audible, Inc.
"A gung-ho Candide with a taste for places it is wiser to avoid. . . the reports collected in 'I Wouldn't Start From Here' are graphic, comic, bemused and properly contemptuous of faith and ideology." (Jonathan Meades, Books of the Year, Evening Standard)
"An utterly sui generis report from the world's plague-spots." (Michael Bywater, Books of the Year, New Statesman)
"I can think of no more entertaining companion on a perilous journey than the ever hopeful, wildly optimistic yet clear-thinking Andrew Mueller." (Rory MacLean, The Guardian)
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I rarely write reviews but felt compelled to register my strong disagreement with the one review so far posted. The subject matter is a fascinating journey through some of the most troubled places on the planet and is done with a great deal of balance and humor. If you like the writings of Bill Bryson, Mark Steyn and P.J. O'Rourke, you are almost certain to enjoy this. If you are as hypersensitive as the other reviewer apparently is and strain to find a personal insult in every bit of satire you encounter, don't bother.
"LIVE ANYWHERE BUT THERE"
This is a great book to listen to. It informs and makes you realize how great it is to live anywhere but where Andrew Mueller visits.
The irony and voice inflection of the narrator, Dennis Holland, gives presence to Mueller’s writing. With Mueller’s words and Holland’s narration, it seems you are there with Mueller, listening, observing, and living in the scene. (Holland’s voice inflections and accents make you smile.)
What makes Mueller’s book engrossing is citizen engagement in some of the most troubled areas of the world. Though taxi drivers are not unique commentators, Mueller wryly uses his conversation with a Georgian taxi driver to make convincing points about deteriorated infrastructure and Georgia’s fatalistic acceptance of things as they are in this former Soviet state.
For a man who writes about Rock and Roll in magazines like “Rolling Stone”, Mueller is a consummate observer of a world that has a lot of Rack and Ruin. He seems a very brave and fool hardy adventurer that can write with truth and (maybe) a little truthiness.
"OK, but nothing great"
Maybe, I don't really love the author. Read the book because I thought it would be similar to Where the West Ends, which I loved, but not as good or entertaining and didn't love the author.
It was fine but I have to admit I lost interest and didn't finish. I was expecting more. Had its entertaining points and if you are interested in certain areas in the world, it may be worth just checking in on those chapters to see if you get a new perspective.
"Interesting, if Self-Aggrandizing"
This is a decent memoir-style journey through the war-torn places on the 20th century. The author talks of his personal journey to many places we only hear about in the news. It is both helped and hindered by the author's personal experiences however. At times, it creates an amazing sense of realism, as the author tells of the gritty details of live in a war-torn region. At other times, it feels more like a self-proclaimed victory lap as the author almost seems to be looking for a sense of awe or amazement from the readers for his career choice. While it is a great way to hear about the world, it is clearly through the lens of an author who is proud of himself for seeing it.
"Couldn't Finish It."
I became disgusted with the racist "jokes" the author was trying to make, and kept thinking that he was trying very hard to be another Bill Bryson, but lacked the wit and intelligence. YMMV, but I couldn't finish it, and wish there were some way to get a refund.
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