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Summary

For the first time in my life I felt that death was a possibility; a stupid, pointless, lonely death on the aptly named Mondulkiri Death Highway.

The Ho Chi Minh Trail is one of the greatest feats of military engineering in history. But since the end of the Vietnam War much of this vast transport network has been reclaimed by jungle, while remaining sections are littered with a deadly legacy of unexploded bombs. For Antonia, the chance to explore the Trail before it was lost forever was a personal challenge she couldn’t ignore - yet at times it would be a terrifying journey.

Setting out from Hanoi on an ageing Honda Cub, she spent two months riding 2000 miles through the mountains and jungles of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. Battling inhospitable terrain and multiple breakdowns, she met former American fighter pilots, tribal chiefs, illegal loggers, and bomb disposal experts.

A thrilling, poignant tale of war, bravery and learning to face your fears.

©2014 Summersdale Publishers LTD (P)2020 Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent

Critic reviews

"I enormously enjoyed every page." (Dervla Murphy)

What listeners say about A Short Ride in the Jungle: The Ho Chi Minh Trail by Motorcycle

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very factual

a very interesting read, i learnt a lot of info, i would never of known

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Some insights shocked me

There were chapters which didn’t do much for me but there were some notable moments which will stay with me.
1) Finding out that the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia was part funded from a UK govt
2) The terrifying extent of illegal logging in Laos
3) The Lumphat Episode chapter.
4) The legacy of the Vietnam war even in the 21st century

I had an opportunity to speak with Antonia recently and she is incredibly moved by the things she has seen and in particular the deforestation and the continued destruction. of the unexploded mines

Highly recommend this

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History of Vietnam war and travel in one

If you are keen on travel and history of a not too distant conflict this is the right book for you. Read by our book club we found the writer provided vivid imagery in words of the countryside and people she met on her over her solo 6 week journey on a small motorbike. I've learned so much about three countries and admire Antonias capacity to travel alone, over long distances by embracing fear and trust of strangers as she travels. Just say 'Yes'.

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Our March 2021 bookclub book!!

An extraordinary journey made by the author on her own with just a pink moped and a few essentials to navigate the Ho Chi Minh Trail before it is lost forever to the jungle and the ravages of deforestation and damming.
Antonia vividly brings to life her travels mostly alone, through the remotest of places. She narrates the book beautifully and we travel along the ups and downs of her six week adventure. Daring to go so I don't have to!!
From dingy brothels and indecent propositions, to breathtaking beauty and back through the tragic deforestation currently going on in Laos, we learn the real history of what went on during the Vietnam War , lives lost and the terrible price Vietnam Laos and Cambodia paid and are still paying.
Time restrictions and also language barriers prevented us from really getting under the skin of the people living in these countries but this book has definitely left me wanting to know more! A great read and would definitely recommend!!

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Amazing from cover to cover

The ultimate empowering adventure. I was hooked from chapter one. descriptions were outstanding. just the right amount of history, a sprinkle of danger and healthy dose of humour. fully recommend

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Ho Ho Ho Chi Minh.

It was a great exsperience to listen to.
Last man standing is the slogan that stroke my mind..
very well read . in fact excellent..

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Marvellous read

A lovely tale of adventure in Southeast Asia. The author paints a vivid picture of her journey interspersed with enough history of the second Indochina war to put it into context.

Read if you like adventure, motorbikes or Southeast Asia.

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An epic journey by a great writer

I really enjoyed listening to this journey, full of colour, emotion and grit! Antonia B-K may be small and slight but she is very tough and determined - just like her pink Honda. More than anything I loved her empathy for the countries she visited and the people she met - with one or two extremely reasonable exceptions! She brought Vietnam and Laos, particularly, to life and describes the unmitigated horror foisted on them by the war with America. Britain's part - or more explicitly, Maggie Thatcher's - is hideous and the whole book should be read or listened to to understand why I say that. (perhaps that comment is more relevant to British people than others - or anyone that admires her).

I will now look for more books by Antonia B-K

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Great

A truly engaging story. Informative and thought provoking. In fact it's so good I've both read it and listened to it.

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A well presented exciting book / audio book full of knowledge, wisdom and wonderful stories....

The Legend is The Buckmaster’s did something very chivalrous and courageous in battle maybe at Agin court with Henry the 4th otherwise known as Henry Bolingbroke the only King of all England and France.

Being a Buckmaster and also having an interest in Vietnam from a young age as if I’ve had a past life there, maybe during the Vietnam war and having served in Her Majesties armed forces this is why I selected this audio book.its also a journey I would love to take on my self one day.

What Antonia Bolingbroke - Kent has done here is very, very courageous. She has written a very entertaining book full of knowledge and fact about an issue a chapter of insanity and horror in the long history of human insanities and horror and presented this with a detailed insight in to the people’s areas, effected and modern effects developments along the underground highway of hell... in the Vietnam War. It’s is well, written, very informative well presented and full or wonderful stories and facts to entertain you all the way through.

The Author has then chosen to narrate the book herself in an entertaining, clear manor to impart her gained knowledge and experience for your interest and knowledge. A great observation brilliant audio book. This is also a great guide to Vietnam.

A must read, listen for all whether travelling to.or interested in Vietnam or not. Also a. Must read for the modern independent strong Lady.

Very courageous and well done to Antonia Bolingbroke Kent. Obviously a chip off the old block who doesn’t mind getting stuck in the mud, confronting sticky issues and telling it how it it. Wonderful stuff can’t recommend it enough....

Phoenix Buckmaster Aka Phoenix Rising.

Thank you Antonia for a wonderful book.

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  • steve
  • 22-03-21

Motorcycle travel and history excellent book!

The author's research of the Ho Chi Minh Trail was a good lesson for me. l enjoyed learning about the history of the trail while being brought through the land on a small motorcycle. Great travel adventure book! Steve from New Mexico (cfr250L)