(Review) The Last Blue Mountain: Tales of a travelling Englishman by James Chilton

The Last Blue Mountain

Publisher and Publication Date: Clink Street Publishing. March 16, 2015.
Genre: Travel book.
Pages: 384.
Source: I received a complimentary copy, but was not required to leave a positive review.
Rating: Recommend. Excellent.
Audience: Armchair travel readers or travelers who read.

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Summary:
From Gabon to Guyana, Shangri La to Kamchatka, through rainbow markets and exuberant rainforests, across impressionist landscapes and a high altitude desert, author James Chilton’s delightfully diverse collection of travel writing will whet the appetite and feed the imagination.
The Last Blue Mountain takes readers far off the beaten tourist tracks and onto uncharted trails of natural beauty and cultural diversity. Chilton reveals his enthusiasm for travel – he’s visited some seventy-eight countries to date – and his love of food, beauty, flora, fauna and, above all, the people he meets along the way. Witty, articulate and with sharp observations, his engaging and often humorous snapshots are illustrated throughout with evocative pen and ink sketches.

My Thoughts:
I loved this book for several reasons!
•Chilton is a wonderful storyteller. It felt like he is sitting next to me and sharing his travel adventures.
•He’s a hardy traveler. Unexpected mishaps occur and he responds with a positive attitude. Whether he is sick or given unusual unpalatable food he retains a positive demeanor.
•He is quick to see humor in most things. To see the humor in something instead of the negative is a quality of great character.
•All his sentences carry descriptions rich with strong verbs, and reflects the exotic locale of sights and smells.
•He shares knowledge of the culture, history, wars, and governments of the countries he visited.
•Special instances where he had meaningful conversations with the natives of that country.
•Some of the travels are for a long weekend. Some of the travels are extensive.
•One of my favorite chapters is a trip to Vietnam. He remarked on the demeanor of people twenty years post war. And, another interesting point is his tall height in comparison to the average height of most males. His height made for cramped rides.
•Another favorite chapter is when he returned to the place of his birth in Burma. A house he lived in is now the home of the daughter of an important official. He became their guest.
•He traveled to Antarctica. From my armchair, this place seems to be the far side of earth, and certainly the remotest. This place holds the greatest mystery to me because I’ve read little about travels to this continent. The boat that carried him to Drakes’ Passage was a stormy ride. The “white silence” of the land is a description I’ll not forget.
•The most personal of the book is a conversation with a teenage schoolgirl named Zed in Ethiopia. This story gave the book a personal touch and a closeup of humanity.
•All chapters have illustrations drawn by Chilton. This added feature of drawings brought an artistic feel to compliment his travel tales.
I loved The Last Blue Mountain and consider it one of the best books I’ve read in 2018!

About the Author:
James ChiltonBorn in Burma, James escaped the country the day before the Japanese captured Rangoon. Educated at Winchester, he served with 1st Royal Dragoons in the Middle East and Malaya before returning to England to work in advertising and real estate. James has built six schools in remote areas of Burma where he is a trustee of HEAL Kids Foundation which cares for disadvantaged children. When not designing gardens or sketching he is an accomplished photographer, particularly of tribal cultures, and has lectured at the Royal Geographical Society, London and in Oxford.
He lives in Oxfordshire with his wife and his labradors.

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