BOOK REVIEWS: Ragnar’s Guide, Birthplace of the Winds
by James MacLaren
Ragnar’s Guide to Interviews, Investigations and Interrogations:
How to Conduct Them, How to Survive Them.</b>
Ragnar Benson, 2000, Paladin Press
7077 Winchester Circle
Boulder, CO 80301
Excellent little book here. Ragnar is quite the guy when it comes to this kind
Another little book whose title tells the entire tale.
Which makes my job a whole lot easier, ‘cause after typing the title, my review
is pretty much already done for me. Nice, eh?
If you’re convinced that never EVER will you be placed in a small bare room on
an uncomfortable chair, surrounded by OPERATIVES, then ok, don’t bother with
Otherwise, maybe, just MAYBE you oughtta give it a read.
You might just wind up sending your Good Friend Ragnar a thank you card some
day. Who knows?
Birthplace of the Winds: Storming Alaska’s Islands of Fire and Ice.
Jon Bowermaster, 2000, National Geographic Society
National Geographic Society
1145 17th Street N.W., Washington D.C., 20036-4688</b>
Ok, so I just happen to LIKE psychotic travel books. So sue me.
Birthplace of the Winds goes a pretty long way to prove its psychosis.
Like halfway down that storm-wracked chain of oh-so-charming and friendly
islands known as the Aleutians.
This ain’t no day at the beach folks.
Well…wait a minute. Come to think of it, it IS! That’s because Jon and his three
traveling companions struck upon the perfectly crazed idea that it would
constitute a SPLENDID vacation to paddle two-man kayaks amongst a forty mile
stretch of five bare volcanic islands, setting foot upon each (some more than
once), through a storm-whipped ocean that would desire nothing better than to
fondle you lovingly in its 35 degree arms.
Yep, they were definitely having a day at the beach alright. But just not the
kind of day you think of when thumbing idly through a glossy travel magazine
with thoughts of palm trees and ice cold margaritas chasing around your head.
And oh, while we’re at it, when we’re on our last island, why not let’s all
climb up from our balmy 26 degree campsite across from the foot of Mt.
Cleveland, by the shores of the beautiful Bering Sea, and slog it out across ten
miles of rock, scree, and snow until we can peek down into an ACTIVE volcanic
crater while being buffeted by a 50mph gale, 6000 feet up into the chill air?
And when we’re done peeking into the sulphurous pit, well by golly we’ll just
slog another ten miles right back to the camp!
C’mon guys, whatta ya say? Wanna do it?
And of course they DO.
Four set out and, miraculously enough, four actually managed to make it back.
And along the way, provide glimpses into a lost world of Aleuts, hidden airplane
crashes leftover from World War II, kayak-swallowing maelstroms, and a whole lot
of other weird and wonderful stuff.
Fuck Club Med, I like this place better. Much better.
So sue me.