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BOOK REVIEWS: Ragnar’s Guide, Birthplace of the Winds

Ragnar’s Guide to Interviews, Investigations and Interrogations:

How to Conduct Them, How to Survive Them.</b>

Ragnar Benson, 2000, Paladin Press

Paladin Press

7077 Winchester Circle

Boulder, CO 80301

Excellent little book here. Ragnar is quite the guy when it comes to this kind

of stuff.

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

this one.

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.

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