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Where the West Ends

Stories from the Middle East, the Balkans, the Black Sea, and the Caucasus
Narrated by: Steven Roy Grimsley
Length: 8 hrs and 36 mins
4 out of 5 stars (12 ratings)

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Summary

Prize-winning author Michael J. Totten returns with a masterpiece of travel writing and history in this journey through 13 nations - all but two formerly communist - just beyond the edge of the West where few casual travelers venture.

His work as an independent foreign correspondent takes him deep into the field beyond the sensational headlines, from his hilariously miserable road trip with his best friend to Iraq to the Wild West of Albania, the most bizarre country in Europe; from the killing fields in Bosnia and Kosovo to a Romania haunted by the ghosts of its communist past; from the front lines in the Caucasus during Russia's invasion of Georgia to the otherworldly post-Soviet disasterscape in Ukraine. Where the West Ends is high-octane adventure writing at its finest and is Michael J. Totten's most entertaining work written to date.

©2012 Michael J. Totten (P)2013 Michael Totten

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

An average story, with awful narration

I was hoping for some informative, descriptive, possibly even insightful stories about the countries Mr Totten travelled through. Unfortunately, the book seems to be more of a "we did this, then this, then went here" without ever really giving you a feel for the places visited - he certainly doesn't paint a vivid picture of anywhere he visits. Perhaps it feels like it was written by a journalist rather than a travel writer - the narrative doesn't really flow, even within a chapter. It's more like collected snippets.

While the story wasn't great, the narration is awful. Mr Grimsley sounds like he has a terrible cold and stresses odd syllables. His intonation is all over the place. It's a real effort to listen to him, which is the kiss of death for an audio book! If you like the sound of this, I'd probably track down a written copy.

1 person found this helpful

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Profile Image for John R. Blackburn Jr.
  • John R. Blackburn Jr.
  • 21-05-15

Like being there

Totten's retelling of his journeys through the Mideast, the Balkans, and former Soviet republics is very entertaining and informative, always against the backdrop of recent history and the people who live there.

4 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for Jeremy
  • Jeremy
  • 08-08-13

Loved this book

If you could sum up Where the West Ends in three words, what would they be?

Riveting Travel Essay

What did you like best about this story?

Was looking for more information about the Balkans and this was not only informative, but very entertaining and would call it a page turner except I listened to it. Would definitely listen or read to other books by him just because I liked the author and his style of delivery. If you have any interest in this area of the world, this would be a good read/listen.

Any additional comments?

Solid book. Wish he had more about this area and I could find more like this.

3 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for O. D. S
  • O. D. S
  • 21-04-16

Interesting travels

A very interesting book about parts of the world you don't really hear much about. Partly travelbook, but mostly about the places itself. Highly recommended

2 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for Love
  • Love
  • 11-12-13

Not a right wing fanatic

I just have to comment on one of the earlier reviews which state that Totten is a right wing fanatic, it almost put me off from reading this book. This is far from true, sure he is pro-Israeli and has an American perspective but he could very well be a Democrat. There is nothing fanatical or even extreme about his views.

11 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for William
  • William
  • 06-09-19

Tedious

The author displays a peculiar lack of depth or complex analysis. He appears to view the entire region through a one-dimensional analysis of whether countries are more "west" (good) or "east" (bad). Countries are rated on whether they are pro-American (or for a Muslim country, pro-Israel). There isn't much to learn in this book.

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Profile Image for Martin Gjoni
  • Martin Gjoni
  • 30-05-19

the author is rather self aggrandizing.

as stated in the title. furthermore nothing new or interesting is learned from the book

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Profile Image for Fred
  • Fred
  • 18-12-18

Good for Political insight at the local level.

Good for political insight at the local level in the countries the author visits. Medium story quality, but it's more because nothing that crazy happened to the author. What he does experience, he tells about in solid form. Good for political science nerds or intelligence about regional issues. The book won't age well, as it is mostly about current issues, and will be less relevant 10 years from now to anyone not looking to read history.

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Profile Image for Vivian Jones
  • Vivian Jones
  • 13-04-18

A journey through the most interesting part of the world

This book brings the listener on a road trip through the edges of western civilization—from Turkey to Iraq, and around the balkans. A great listen for a long drive. His writing paints colorful pictures of life in vibrant and chaotic parts of the world.

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Profile Image for J. Bell
  • J. Bell
  • 31-03-18

Freedom is Unappreciated

Description of places and conditions was exceptional. Really gave me a better understanding of all the regional conflicts. Our freedom is unappreciated since we have never been without it.

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Profile Image for Benjamin Starkey
  • Benjamin Starkey
  • 09-10-17

Loved it!

A great story both informative and enjoyable! A great fun perspective not often heard.