Mourning the demise of “real” travel that is no longer “heroic or individualizing,” Leed ( No Man’s Land , LJ 5/15/79) is saddened at the ease with which modern travelers move around the globe, taking no risks and facing no unknowns. His study centers around the premise that prior to the breakdown of global barriers, travel was not only movement from place to place but a transforming event filled with historical and psychological significance. He supports his ideas with examples from epic literature (Gilgamesh and Odysseus), medieval tales of wandering knights, and travel journals of explorers and adventurers. These travel experiences are examined from a theoretical psychological perspective which analyzes the stages of a journey and the relationship between travel and identity. This is a demanding, scholarly work which presumes a knowledge of literature, history, and psychology. Recommended only for graduate school collections.
– Marlene M. Kuhl, Baltimore Cty. P.L.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The remainder of the book is less exciting, if still good. Leed gives an account of the role which traveling and travelers have played in history. It’s a central role, he argues, indeed journeys through space turn out to be the central mechanism through which most social entities have come to be shaped. Reaching this conclusion, something has clearly gone wrong with the argument. Briefly, Leed overreaches. He tries to explain too much with too little. It becomes too much of a “brief introduction to Western (and Eastern etc) civilization.” While it is intelligent and learned enough, the argument is not new and it is not particularly convincing.