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Traveling the world hoping to make a difference

Far and Away: Reporting from the Brink of Change. New York: Scribner, April 2016.

by Gerard DeGroot

Ignorance of the world is dangerous, as the nightly news often demonstrates. Like it or not, people in other countries do not behave like us — that’s why they’re called foreigners. “Travel,” writes Andrew Solomon, “is a set of corrective lenses that helps focus the planet’s blurred reality.”

…This is an untidy book, but a great one. In truth, this is not really travel writing in the recognized form of the genre. The reader who expects a collection of quirky anecdotes about fascinating places will be disappointed. Far & Away is not just a voyage around the world; it’s also a voyage around Andrew Solomon.

…During the coup in 1991, he built barricades in Moscow. “I am petrified; facing down tanks has not previously been a part of my job description. But I am also exhilarated by the intense purposefulness of our stance.” That intense purposefulness is what makes this book extraordinary. Travel is usually self-serving. Solomon’s is seldom that. Hope fuels his voyages… This is a very noble book.

(To read the full review, please visit The Washington Post.)