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An Author Makes a Wrong "Turn in the South"

Book critic John Leonard says that V.S. Naipal's book about his travels in the American South reflects a tourist's mindset. The author's sentimental perspective prevents him from seeing the complicated race and class issues that shape the region.


Gunter Grass Says "Show Your Tongue"

Book critic John Leonard reviews the German author's new book, about his travels to Calcutta. Frustrated with the industrial revival of the two Germanies, Grass goes abroad to learn about other models of national identity.


A Posthumous Release Shows Bruce Chatwin Had Many More Books Left in Him.

Book Critic John Leonard reviews a posthumous collection of essays by writer Bruce Chatwin. The collection is titled What Am I Doing Here? Chatwin, who wrote extensively about his world travels and the collisions of cultures, died last year from a Chinese fungus that infected him on one of his trips.


A Travel Writer's Wanderings through India

Book critic John Leonard reviews "The Search for the Pink Headed Duck," by Rory Nugent, about his travels to India and Tibet. He says Nugent is a "splendid quack" whose stories are exotic and sometimes hard to believe.


White Authors on Black Africa.

Book critic John Leonard reviews two collections of essays about Africa; "African Silences" by Peter Matthiessan and "Maneaters Motel" by Denis Boyles.


A Russian Exile Reflects on Venice

Book critic John Leonard reviews Nobel Prize-winning writer Joseph Brodsky's new book of essays, "Watermark," which use Venice as a jumping-off point for a series of reflections on life.


How Napoleon Resonates with a Contemporary Writer

John Leonard reviews "The Emperor's Last Island," by Julia Blackburn, a history of Napoleon with frequent digressions about why that narrative is relevant to the author's life. Leonard says it's a compelling read because Blackburn herself is compelling.


'Looking for Comedy' in a Culture Gap

Actor and director Albert Brooks trolls for laughs in Asia and the Middle East in Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World. Playing a version of himself, Brooks is recruited by the U.S. government to help foster a deeper understanding of the region. A comedy tour ensues.


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