20,000 Leagues Behind the 8 Ball
The Poor Man's Guide to Europe
Time Out for Turkey
20,000 Leagues Behind the 8 Ball
A 20th-Century Odysseus
A few years back, a Californian--David Dodge, a C.P.A. by trade and the author then of two mystery stories--decided that (a) he'd rather write than check figures, and (b) would have to do it, if he did, somewhere abroad where dollars would go farther.
He packed up wife and child and headed south. What came of his sojourn in Mexico was the subject-matter of a hilarious book, "How Green Was My Father." He moved on to Guatemala, and out of that he wrote "How Lost Was My Week End." Then he made a longer leap, ending in Arequipa, Peru, from which he kept his readers up to date on the family history in his very funny book "The Crazy Glasspecker."
So far, so good. However, Peru still didn't quite fill the bill. True, things were cheaper than in the U.S., and there were other qualities of the country and the people that he and his wife liked, but other fields still looked greener. So the Dodges, David, wife Elva, and 9-year old daughter Kendal, took off again. The story of the journey and the final arrival--this time in France--is the burden of Mr. Dodge's latest, out today. Like the others, it is a serio-comic travel book, apparently written in a mood of sheerest light-heartedness but surprisingly informative too. And like his others it has a pleasantly screwball title which suits the text very nicely. This time he calls it "20,000 Leagues Behind the Eight-Ball," (Random; $2.95).
The Hard Way
The Dodges made their next move the hard way. First they went from Peru to Chile by way of the Amazon. No, don't get out the atlas; I know. But they did, with such points as Manaos, Rio de Janeiro, Montevideo and Buenos Aires as stopping-places on the way. There was a reason. Dodge figured he could actually save money. On paper he did; the statistics show it. Only somehow he has never been able to work out what happened to the money they saved. Somehow it wasn't in hand when they stopped to count up.
This time the Dodges' journeyings are further complicated by the fact that there is one more member of the family--their Peruvian maid, Carmen. Loyally, though more than a little confused, Carmen goes along through jungles and down rivers, in and out of big cities, over mountains and all the rest of it. One of their chief problems was to make her understand that her Peruvian money was not good in, for example, Brazil; it had to be traded for local money. Carmen seemed never to understand that! But also, when she went innocently out to turn in soles for, say, cruzeiros--well, she invariably happened to get a better exchange than Dodge did. She rather lost faith in his knowledge of arithmetic before she was through.
On their way, chiefly due to Kendal's lively interest in everything and everybody, the Dodges made friends and acquired animals--a monkey, a parrot, several odds and ends of the kind. They saw a great deal, too, and much of what they saw finds its way into this book in spite of the expert foolery that goes along with it. You'll be surprised, if you have not read Dodge's other travel books, to see how much genuine information and good advice you'll absorb, even while you're being amused.
But the quest for a really cheap place to live seemed hopeless. Then someone said "South of France." The Dodges reacted sharply.
France? Ah, yes! Paris in the spring, Chanel No. 5, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity! The Louvre, the Sorbonne, fine wines, Existentialism! And then a villa on the Riviera; the blue Mediterranean, roses twining round the door, and a cupboard full of Camembert. Maybe even a snappy low-hung Citroen.
The Art of Travel
It came true. Even the Citroen did. There was a school for Kendal, too. And they could afford the rent. The Dodges are there now, and the book ends practically on this note. Not quite, though. Dodge's temperament being what it is, he could hardly allow himself a sentimental ending. For they had barely settled in when North Korea moved into South Korea. Dodge leaves you (and himself) ruefully wondering if his Navy uniform will still fit.
This, as you'll have gathered, I hope, is a lot of fun. It's also, as I have tried to show, remarkably informative with the kind of between-the-lines informativeness that stays with the reader when he's had his last laugh and closed the book. Indeed, not to be too philosophical about it, while you learn much about the countries the Dodges visit, and while you're highly entertained by the pickles they get into and out of, you wind up with something else. You've learned much that may be applied to any trip anywhere. You have begun, at least, to discover that there is something that might be called The Art of Travel. That discovery is worth the time of anyone who hasn't made it already, and ever expects to do any traveling.
San Francisco Chronicle (Apr. 11, 1951), p. 20
(reviewed by Joseph Henry Jackson)
David Dodge and Family Are on the Move Again
'20,000 Leagues Behind the Eight-Ball' Tells of Their Trip From Peru to Chile
An apology is owed by this column to Mr. David Dodge, a former San Franciscan, and to readers also, for the delay in reviewing Mr. Dodge's latest work, "Twenty Thousand Leagues Behind the Eight-Ball" (it's spelled out in figures on the cover to make it fit). The fact is the book was lying on my desk and lady came by and said, "Ooh, David Dodge, I adore him!" and when she left the book was gone too and I only recently got it back.
PERU TO CHILE
Mr. Dodge's subject this time is a little trip he made from Arequipa, in Peru, to Santiago, in Chile.
Now if you look at a map you'll see you can travel direct from Arequipa to Santiago in a matter of hours. It took the Dodge family several months. This was because Mr. Dodge, an original fellow, chose to travel via Brazil, Uruguay and the Argentine Republic.
What he says was in his mind was to find a place where such dollars as he could garner would bring the highest rate in native currency and it had to be a town with a good school, because Kendal was nine already and it was high time she became a young lady.
(I am acquiring a fondness for Kendal. When I first met her she was eating mangoes in Mexico--"How Green Was My Father"--and then she was bringing unconventionality to Arequipa--"The Crazy Glasspecker.")
Anyway, Mr. Dodge had heard tell that Santiago was a good place in which to elevate a child, so he rented the Arequipa house to a friend and put his family and Carmen, the maid, into a plane and they took off. To the northeast, naturally, Santiago being to the south.
Eventually they found themselves in Iquitos, a decaying city in the heart of the Peruvian jungle, "the smallest town of its size in the world." In Iquitos, where they stayed with cockroaches at the Gran Hotel Malecon Palace, they met a desperate young American who was trying to stay faithful to a girl back home and finding it practically impossible.
"The streets of Iquitos," avers Mr. Dodge, "are full of lovely little full-bodied jungle princesses who would knock your eye out at forty paces anywhere in the world."
From Iquitos the Dodge [sic] floated down the Amazon to Belem aboard the Morey, a craft 60 or 70 years old, displacing 215 tons and burning 10,000 three-foot chunks of wood every 24 hours.
The trip downstream took 15 days (the upstream schedule is 38 days) and what with monkeys, parrots, leoncitos and Kendal, they had a lively time.
A week out of Iquitos came the Fourth of July and in honor of their passengers the ship flew a flag, recognizable despite certain errors, such as only 17 stars, and fired off a cannon outside Dodge's cabin, and Kendal got to steer the boat the whole afternoon. Mr. Dodge was so appreciative he got out the rest of his whisky, which was the real reason for the celebration.
After 10 days in the "mouldy, fungus-covered beauty" of Belem, the Dodges concluded that the jungle was no place to send a child to school, the ever-present humidity tending to lower the spirits. So they took a cabin on a ship called the Itape, leaving for Rio.
Rio de Janeiro came up to all their expectations; they lived in a hotel on Copacabana Beach and did all the sights; but Rio was both a city and a resort, which made it too expensive for a peripatetic writer traveling with his family.
So when the American agent for hickory ax handles told him Buenos Aires was the place he was looking for, Mr. Dodge packed his family again and they set off for B.A.
On the way they stopped in Montevideo, "the most friendly, open-armed, amiable and receptive to tourists" city of any in South America. But--alas--Uruguay had a sound, stable currency, and "if you want to live comfortably on a small income, hunt up some country that had a rickety currency on a failing market, dribble your dollars our wisely, and you can live like a king for peanuts."
The exchange was favorable in the Argentine and B.A. was a lovely city and the Argentinians cordial and friendly--but schools as well as radio and newspapers were "controlled," and as the Dodges didn't want Sr. Peron to control Kendal when they couldn't, they soon were off again--at long last for Chile.
Chile had everything--fine climate, nice people, cheap living, good schools, freedom of speech, real democracy. This was the place the Dodges had been looking for all the time.
However, they hadn't been there long enough for Kendal to go to school when Mr. Dodge had a letter from his Paris publisher, who had heard the Dodge [sic] were on the move again.
The publisher laid it on: France the glorious, Paris in the spring, blooming chestnut trees, Notre Dame, Chanel No. 5, Roquefort cheese, Nice, Rheims, the Maritime Alps, fine wines, black lace lingerie, the Louvre, the Cote d'Azur, chic women, the Sorbonne, Existentialism, le jazz hot, the Opera Comique, etc., etc.
The Dodges were last heard of from the Riviera. Kendal is learning French.
San Francisco News, v. 49, no. 99 (June 27, 1951), p. 18
(reviewed by Basil Woon)
Dodge, David. 20,000 LEAGUES BEHIND THE EIGHT BALL. Random House. $2.95.
A sequel to How Green Was My Father, How Lost Was My Weekend, and the Crazy Glasspecker, this returns to Arequipa where the Dodges' [sic] break up housekeeping and embark on nine months of perpetual motion, in search of a place to live which will provide a good school for Kendal, peaceful politics and a favorable deal on the dollar. They take a boat trip down the Amazon (an odyssey of considerable discomfort), to the Brazilian Coast, go to Rio (spectacular and spectacularly expensive), Montevideo, and B.A., on to Chile and back to Arequipa where they pack up for good, and finally set off for the French Riviera via the Canary Islands and Lisbon. Kendal, now nine, and her cicerone, Carmen, Elva, a monkey, a parrot, all brighten this itinerary and Dodge, a fast hand at beating the exchange, will show you how to cruise around cheaply. A brassy bounce to all of this.
Bulletin from Virginia Kirkus' Bookshop Service, vol. 19, no. 3 (Feb. 1, 1951), p. 94
A Pension is Cheaper
20,000 Leagues Behind the 8 Ball. By David Dodge. Illustrated by Irv Koons. 246 pp. New York: Random House. $2.95.
Other people's trips usually are a little bit like other people's operations--of more interest to that side than to this. Credit, however, as one of the occasional exceptions, the traveler known as David Dodge, who is at it again, this time in "20,000 Leagues Behind the 8 Ball," which is as handsome a title as you can find in any rack.
On this occasion Mr. Dodge, plus wife, plus young daughter and a Peruvian servant, wander in search of a new home, going back and forth across South America before finally falling off that continent altogether and landing on the French Riviera, where the rolling 8 ball ultimately comes to rest at a place with a good school. Travel is by plane, train, boat.
During his trip Mr. Dodge suffered no major catastrophes nor, as in the case of many fearless explorers, was he charged by wounded, vicious animals. He just went along, shepherding his flock, nursing the supply of canned milk through customs and playing the angles on the various rates of exchange. Having made the trip as cheaply as possible, he enumerates certain dodges which might be of interest to anyone wandering through South America, the one advice most often stressed being to stay at a pensi?n rather than a hotel. Cheaper and better.
With a brisk style, Mr. Dodge is an amiable voyager, taking neither his trip nor himself too seriously, playing it for laughs. Usually these are against himself, as chief victim of his own contrivings which misfire back of the 8 ball.
The New York Times Book Review, vol. 56, no. 16 (Apr. 22, 1951), p. 27
(reviewed by Lewis Nichols)
By an Amusing Family Man
20,000 LEAGUES BEHIND THE 8 BALL. By David Dodge. Illustrated by Irv Koons. 246 pp. New York: Random House. $2.95.
Any strange place and any bargain hooks David Dodge, and with the price of cabbages going up on Second Avenue and causes running up the taxes, the fellow is perfectly understandable. He had heard about a 2,100-mile trip on an Amazon river boat, a fifteen-day float and chug, at the price of sixty bucks for a party of four. Irresistible! Why spare any expense to get such a bargain? So he left Ariquipa [sic] in the southwestern Peruvian desert where it was none too easy to educate his little girl of nine, and where his wife was, I presume, fairly happy, and the family, complete with pharmaceuticals and gadgets enough to establish the American Way of Life almost anywhere, fell for the bargain. They could have taken a flock of sheep without a sheepdog more easily than the luggage they carried along. They fared forth, and with the shot of momentum they got on the bargain trip, they never stopped going.
The family ended up in Juan-les-Pins on the French Riviera, via the Amazon to Belem on the Atlantic coast of Brazil, south to Forteleza, Natal, Bahia, to Rio. Then to Montevideo and across the River Platte to Buenos Aires, by rail to Mendoza also in the Argentine and across the Andean corderilla to Valparaiso and Santiago. Out of breath? Take another. On to the Canary Islands, Lisbon, Barcelona. Family intact, a lot of luggage dear knows where, and the book complete with crazy delicate line drawings by Irving Koons had better sell or that $60 bargain will leave the Family Dodge grounded. Child, Papa, and Mama have had themselves a time, and enough jokes and surprises to last a long lifetime (spent, I wager, in further trekking). Meantime, if you mean to travel you can get a lot of tips about everything from the caprices of valuta and white and black markets; and national manners (mind you own, Americanos, for the Argentinians generalize about you, too) and food, from an expert, an amusing family man who writes, knowing folks back home need to laugh to survive.
New York Herald Tribune Book Review, vol. 27, no. 41 (May 27, 1951), p. 15
(reviewed by Ernestine Evans)
Dodging Through Life
20,000 LEAGUES BEHIND THE 8 BALL. By David Dodge. New York: Random House. 246 pp. $2.95.
Whether the current interest in travel books can be traced to the excellence of the product ("Kon-Tiki," "The Lost Continent," and others) or to a deep-seated anxiety with the ever-present present that we all of us live with, David Dodge is a very fortunate middle-aged man. His specialty is making his living from writing about how he makes his living, a gimmick that Ernie Pyle, Henry McLemore, and Earl Wilson--to run the gamut from the sublime to the ridiculous--have tried out successfully before him.
Mr. Dodge's passion seems to be travel of the low-budget shoestring category, and his last three books could have been titled "How My Wife Elva, My Little Daughter Kendal, and My Fat Maid Carmen Saw South and Central America on Slightly Next to Nothing." Since that is obviously an unsuitable title--for one thing it wouldn't leave space on the dust jacket for a humorous drawing--Mr. Dodge has dug not so deep into his trunk and found teasing titles for his books, such as "How Green Was My Father" and "How Lost Was My Week End" and "The Crazy Glasspecker."
This kind of title sells more books, no question about it, and that is what Mr. Dodge has in mind when he sets pen to paper. He wants to sell enough books to bring him enough money to keep traveling on a little bigger shoestring--so that he can have more time to write more books on how he likes to travel so that he can make more money, etc. Where it will all end we can each of us surmise, but, at any rate, for the present we can envy Mr. Dodge and his hardy family their Argentine steaks at ten cents a pound, sympathize with their plight on the Amazon River boat with the brackish drinking water, get angry at Argentine customs, Peruvian dollar exchange rates, Chilean transportation, and so on.
To pick up on where we left the Dodges at the close of the last chapter, we find them deciding that it is time they moved on from their idyllic existence in Arequipa in the southwest Peruvian desert. Daughter Elva [sic] was getting old enough for school, of which there was none, the golf course was being used as target range for the newly formed Nacional Guard, and the word hazard had taken on an added meaning. All in all, thought the Dodges, it was time to pull up stakes, destination Chile in a meandering roundabout way. What happened and how make up this saga, written in a good-natured, never offensive, mostly interesting way.
I don't think it will be giving anything away to mention that they wind up in Juan les Pins on the Cote d'Azur in southern France, a fabulous watering hole for the international smart set. What's more, they find a beautiful house overlooking the blue Mediterranean, furnished complete with a French cook for about a seventy-five dollars a month. We can all now be looking for the blurbs announcing the new David Dodge book about what happens to them in France, some of which will be funny, some sad, all fabulous.
The Saturday Review of Literature, vol. 34, no. 14 (Apr. 7 1951), p. 15, 36
(reviewed by Lionel Olay; photograph by Joy Griffin West)
Dodge, David. 20,000 leagues behind the 8 ball; with illus. by Irv Koons. 1951. 246 p. illus. Random, $2.95.
The usual Dodge brand of travel talk mixed with zany and ribald humor. After several years of irresponsible and inexpensive residence in southern Peru, the Dodges decided on a typical procedure for locating a place that would combine low living costs and adequate schools for nine-year-old Kendal. With Carmen, the indispensable maid, they set out on what was probably the most unusual tour of South America on record; it could hardly have surprise anyone who knew them that they ended their search on the other side of the ocean, on the French Riviera. 51-10184
The Booklist (American Library Association), vol. 47, no. 17 (May 1, 1951), p. 308
The Poor Man's Guide to Europe
A Nickel-Nurser in Europe
A lot of people know David Dodge's mystery yarns, and also his very special travel books, those wildly screwball yet extremely informative volumes like "How Green Was My Father," or "20,000 Leagues Behind the 8-Ball" for example.
Now he has a new one which falls into neither category, "The Poor Man's Guide to Europe," (Random; $2.95). It is written with the light touch; Dodge remains basically Dodge; you needn't worry about his going too solemn on you. but this time he has a theme to expound and he sticks to it. His theme: "How to go farther, live better, and have more fun for less money in Europe."
Mr. Dodge writes from first-hand experience. He has just spent six consecutive years abroad, a good part of the time in Europe. He has visited all of Europe this side of the Iron Curtain, Vienna and Berlin on the other side, and Yugoslavia which, he writes, is "half Iron-Curtained." Traveling with his wife and daughter, he had to cut corners and he learned how; there are few angles he doesn't know.
Being a writer, Mr. Dodge naturally thought there might be a book in his experience. Not all traveling Americans have money to throw away, despite the general European impression. There are guidebooks in plenty; that wasn't what Dodge had in mind. What he wanted to do, as he puts it, was to write "a tipsheet for travelers in Europe," a book of hard, practical advice from one nickel-nurser to another.
This is that book. And if Americans who plan a European trip--excepting those who don't need to think about money--really discover the book, Dodge's fortune ought to be made.
The first thing to remember, if you want more for your money in Europe, is not to try to take the U.S. with you.
You can get the American kind of thing in hotels, cocktail lounges, hamburger, American breakfasts, if you want. But they're imports. Like all imports anywhere, they cost money. Lesson One, then: If you want to see Europe and get value for your dollars, travel as the Europeans do and keep quiet about the marvels of the U.S. Says Dodge, very frankly, "Americans who are too vocal about the superiority of everything American over the European equivalents are asking for a shearing wherever they go. They frequently get it."
Right at the beginning, then, Mr. Dodge gives you an enormously valuable chapter called "Wanna Change Dollars, Jack?" It is a detailed account of exactly how, legitimately, you can make your dollars go from 10 to 15-per cent farther by really understanding the exchange. No, it isn't a chapter you can skim. Study it, however, and it will pay you big dividends. Dodge knows the answers.
He knows a lot of other answers too, as his book will show you.
Learn some of the language wherever you go; you don't have to be fluent; a little will help a lot. Tips? There's a section on this, which again can save you plenty; the average American overtips. Eating and drinking? Well, you may want to splurge once in a world-famous restaurant, but there are other ways to get good food. Dodge's advice: Eat in a middle-class restaurant; the European is constitutionally against putting out his good money for poor cooking. How to find such places? Dodge tells you.
You will find the same kind of hard-headed good counsel on all points Dodge touches--wines, driving your own car, sightseeing, what to buy in a given country and where to buy it (on basic principles, not with the names of shops), how to handle yourself going through customs, when and how to use a travel agent, what to do about passports, visas and such, when to argue with a taximan and when not to--well, you see. You might pick up the book in your bookstore and take a look at the jacket, on which the publisher has printed several dozen questions, with page-references to the answers Dodge provides. You'll get some idea of its scope that way, and you'll probably walk out with a copy, too.
As for the manner in which its all done, you can be sure Dodge is never dull. There are anecdotes from his own experience, sometimes very funny ones too. But the book is written in all seriousness, to help the American who is sensible enough to want his money's worth. It can and will give just that help to thousands.
San Francisco Chronicle (Apr. 13, 1953), p. 23
(reviewed by Joseph Henry Jackson)
SEEING EUROPE AT LESS COST
"THE POOR MAN'S GUIDE TO EUROPE," by David Dodge. [Random, 308 pages, $2.95]
David Dodge has handled excellently a difficult assignment: to convey information so agreeably that it is a pleasure to read his book whether or not one cares to have the information supplied. The primary audience, of course, consists of those planning a trip to Europe. But the publishers are accurate when they say the book is fun to read even if one never gets a passport.
The information is varied, valid, and helpful. Dodge has not only been around western Europe, from Yugoslavia to Spain, from Italy to Scandinavia; he has traveled with wife, child, and a light bankroll. An ingenious man of wide ranging tastes, he knows about most of the things any American tourist will want to do, and has learned how to do them inexpensively.
Some of the particulars concern the best places to buy foreign currencies (Switzerland or the United States), the best country in which to be ill or injured (England), the best way to react to a charge beyond what the taxi meter shows (don't), the best place to buy Parisian fashions (not Paris), the cheapest way to get around (youth hostels), the best buys at bars (local produce), the ideal place for an electric razor (at home), etc. Hardly any practical topic is neglected and there is even an index. One good way to save money on a European trip is to buy this book.
Stay-at-homes (and others) will find the personal experience anecdotes a good value in themselves.
Chicago Sunday Tribune Magazine of Books (Apr. 12, 1953), p. 5
(reviewed by Alfred C. Ames)
For Regular Consultation
The Poor Man's Guide to Europe, by David Dodge. (New York: Random House. 308 pp. $2.95)
Anyone with a trip to Europe in the offing, particularly if he is making his first, will do well to read "The Poor Man's Guide to Europe" and then take the book with him for regular consultation.
Mr. Dodge leaves to others the philosophy of travel, concerning himself with the how rather than the why. But if the American voyager wants to know how to deal with the intricacies of the European currencies and come out on top, what to carry with him, where to stay, what to do or not to do about an auto, how, in brief, to get about enjoyably as far as possible on as little as possible, this is the book for him. Even the subject of tipping, as ubiquitous and pointless as Mark Twain's weather, is covered with conclusive finality in one chapter. Mr. Dodge's book guides, where other have abandoned the traveler to his inexperience.
On reading "The Poor Man's Guide," this reviewer was reminded to some extent of the army training manuals of his cadet days--Supply and Replenishment in the Field, Obstacles, Withdrawal Operations, Camps and Installations, etc. Here, as in those more pedestrian pamphlets, everything is covered, all the contingencies examined and the solution given. In fact, if one could suggest anything it would be a somewhat more pedestrian approach. The author writes "with a punch." He is hot after the laughs like an eager harrier, sometimes taxing even his well-developed muscles in the process. It is all very well to be funny if the plain reader responds, but sometimes that sedentary creature is not sufficiently in training, just not physically up to it.
As Mr. Dodge clicks off the kilometers, one is aware of almost no errors of fact. He might have mentioned something about that imposing British supernumerary, the hall porter, as well as the somewhat disconcerting item that travelers beyond the hotel belt in the west of Ireland will sometimes be asked to pay "whatever you please." This latter is usually considered to mean slightly over standard hotel rate.
The Christian Science Monitor, vol. 45, no. 137 (May 7, 1953), p. 11
(reviewed by Francis Russell)
The travel tipsheet is in a special category. It is more likely to tell you how to locate the best cheap bistro in town (answer: tail your concierge) than how to find some fine examples of Serpotta's plaster figures. The author of a tipsheet must be both a Big Operator (in the G.I. sense of the phrase) and a fairly sensitive tourist willing to accept the local way of life, people and customs--and willing also to admit that he may be able to learn from both people and customs. Such a priceless man is an apparently expatriate young American, David Dodge, and his The Poor Man's Guide to Europe (Random, $2.95) goes this reviewer's top nomination for this or any other recent year. This book is indispensable reading for anyone planning to go to Europe and hoping to return solvent.
Mr. Dodge know the ropes--(and we will guarantee, after spending two recent months in several parts of Europe, that the ropes Mr. Dodge may have missed are not worth knowing). He also has a formula for getting along with people in Europe which will do us more good the a thousand Voice of America broadcasts. He can tell you how to get the most francs for the least dollars and stay just this side of the clink: how to buy a Pullman ticket from Toledo to Detroit with free-market lira (or some such improbable deal): he can also tell you that the only civilized way for people to go to visit other people in the homelands is for the visitors to adjust themselves to the ways of their hosts. The 1 per cent or so of our fellow countrymen abroad that does not accept this simple rule invariably supplies headline material for the Communist or pro-Communist press.
Mr. Dodge's book will help people to remain solvent after a European trip and be asked to come back by the natives: it will also prove highly entertaining reading to those who feel they already know all there is to know. He is a very funny man with an episode and a reasonably brisk writer--a blessing in this sphere of literary endeavor. His book can be read without trouble between Idlewild and Gander (but ought to be read even before you pack your suitcase): in fact, all you need to pack is Mr. Dodge and one of those suits they make in a test tube.
The New York Times Book Review, vol. 58 (Apr. 12, 1953), p. 7 (reviewed by Peter Blake)
TOURIST TIPSHEET: For those who would learn how to juggle the Yugoslav dinar, and other ways of seeing Europe at wholesale prices, here is David Dodge's "The Poor Man's Guide to Europe" (Random House, $2.95). This is not a guide to the what and the where of Europe, but rather to the how. It mentions no hotels or restaurants by name, and in this regard the publisher's advertisements have been somewhat misleading. Neither dies it tell what to see aside from the banks. It does tell you all manner of ways of squeezing the last red Indian out of your dollar, and this theme pervades much of the thinking. Learn a few words of a foreign language so as to make better deals, says Mr. Dodge. Choose European airlines that may deposit you in places where currency switching is a national art--Switzerland and Portugal, for example. Once Mr. Dodge left Bern with eleven different kinds of currency all bought at advantageous rates, and another time he flew all the way to the USA with a ticket bought on foreign currency at a fraction of its cost in dollars. Not only that, but an experienced eater in England can learn to stow enough chow at breakfast--a meal frequently thrown in with the cost of the room so that he might not have to buy another morsel until teatime. The danger in this kind of traveling is that the author is inclined to put the cost before the heart. Witness this: "Greece is a tough country on tourists for transportation of any kind as well as other costs and should be visited only to see the sights at the price, never as an economical move." There are hints on how to beat the customs, how to buy a car, how to tip, and how to eat, as well as the intelligence that the author once got dinner for four for $3.33 including wine and brandy. But he omits the address and invites the reader to turn to other guide books (more money) for that kind of information. Any number of anecdotes concerning the Dodge family keeps the pace lively, and frequently funny, and there are some wonderful sketches by Irv Koons.
The Saturday Review of Literature, vol. 36, no. 23 (June 6, 1953), p. 40
Dodge, David. THE POOR MAN'S GUIDE TO EUROPE. Random House. $2.95.
This report, which is designated as a tip-sheet for travelers, by an inveterate itinerant and conscientious nickel-nurser, is intended to make your trip to Europe more enjoyable and less expensive--which will of course make it appreciably more enjoyable. Based on two years of travelling--with Elva and Kendal, the fine art here of milking a minimum of bankroll has no shady implications or practices--but is based on the premise that you will not be buying an American way of life (from hotels to hamburgers) but trying to absorb the varied best which Europe has to offer. The fine points of currency and exchange; traveling light; passports and visas; planes versus ships; travel agents; packaged tours; travel drinking; tipping; your best buys, and getting them home again (customs officials) provides a complete coverage on where you will be spending what. It's a solid investment, and Dodge is a highly entertaining escort. (LC: 53-5163)
Bulletin from Virginia Kirkus' Bookshop Service, vol. 21, no. 5 (Mar. 1, 1953), p. 172
THE POOR MAN'S GUIDE TO EUROPE. By David Dodge. 308 pp. New York: Random House. $2.95.
In "The Poor Man's Guide to Europe," Mr. Dodge has written an entertaining book which shows you how to cut corners if you're traveling on a budget. Although the advice is usually general, rather than specific, the chapters on how to take best advantage of foreign exchange, and where and when to do your shopping are excellent. All completely legal, too, although he does mention occasionally how some friend did something not quite licit. Other subjects covered are transportation, hotels and pensions, restaurants, tipping and customs officials. Even nontravelers will find it highly amusing.
New York Herald Tribune Book Review, vol. 29, no. 37 (Apr. 26, 1953), p. 16
(reviewed by Beach Conger)
The Poor Man's Guide to Europe. By David Dodge. Random House. $2.95.
If you are planning a trip to Europe and if your pocketbook is limited, don't fail to read this book. It is full of common sense and practical suggestions for the European traveler. Even if your traveling this summer is going to be done in a hammock, it's still worth reading.
The American Mercury, vol. 77 (July 1953), p. 144
(reviewed by Frank Meyer)
Dodge, David. The poor man's guide to Europe; with illus. by Irv Koons. 1953. 308 p. illus. Random, paper-covered boards with cloth backbone, $2.95.
Tips on cut-rate travel in Europe, for the American tourist who is willing to stretch his funds by adapting himself to native ways of life. A handbook rather than a guidebook, containing the general principles which date less quickly than current information. The odds and ends of useful knowledge include advice on currencies, passports, transportation, lodgings, tipping, and eating and drinking. 52-5163.
The Booklist (American Library Association), vol. 49, no. 17 (May 1, 1953), p. 282
DODGE, David. The Poor Man's Guide to Europe. 308pp. 52-5163. Random. 4/10. $2.95.
FIELDING, Temple. Fielding's Travel Guide to Europe, 1953-54. 780pp. 52-13835. Sloane: Morrow. 2/25. $4.95.
Dodge's book is the most comprehensive and intriguing for the conscientious "nickel-nurser" on the market, and essential reading for the prospective visitor, for as Fielding points out, the cost of living has risen sky-high. Dodge shows you how to take the European; legitimately, of course, while fielding offers many tips on how to keep from being taken. Dodge is humorous and good natured; while Fielding has a tendency to be pettish at times. Both books, though are indispensable.
Library Journal, vol. 78, no. 11 (June 1, 1953), p. 998
DODGE, David. The Poor Man's Guide to Europe; 1955 rev. ed. 307pp. 55-6652. Random. 2/18. $3.50.
DODGE, David. Time Out for Turkey. 235pp. 54-8421. Random. 2/4. $3.50.
The new edition of Dodge's guide, like its predecessors, is written for those who "are slow to unleash a dime unless they get 12 cents for it," and it is not hard to believe that the author has learned most of the angles. This isn't a "what to see," but simply how to get more for your money. How he comes by his information is evident in the second book. He bought a low-powered European car for his wife's birthday and then aimed it in the general direction of Turkey. Their merry misadventures ranged from outsmarting diplomats in Yugoslavia over hotel rooms to trying to buy a doll in Istanbul and ending up with more ear ornaments than you would find in a harem. Both books are quite engaging.
Library Journal, vol. 80, no. 7 (Apr. 1, 1955), p. 806
(reviewed by W.K. Harrison, III, Head of Circulation, Ferguson Library, Stamford, Conn.)
The Poor Man's Guide to Europe. By David Dodge. Random House, Revised Edition, 1958. $3.50.
The Poor Man's Guide to Europe is gay and light, personalized, and fun to read. David Dodge's particular slant is currency exchange, or how to come out ahead. He gives a number of suggestions on hard and soft money, and writes amusingly of his own adventures with--and without--money. His is the voice of experience on the subject of European hotel bathrooms, their cost, kind, and location.
This is a travel book rather than a guide and makes enjoyable reading whether or not the reader has any intention of going to Europe. The Dodges were frequently off the beaten path. There is a gay story, for example, about wife Elva's driving her own car sightseeing in Zagreb. Mr. Dodge's advice to learn a little of the language is illustrated with anecdotes of his own struggles and successes. The experiences of his eleven-year-old daughter, Kendal, add an unusual dimension.
The Antioch Review, vol. 18, no. 4 (Winter 1958), p. 523-524
Time Out for Turkey
More European Travel by the Dodge Family
David Dodge, a San Francisco accountant, decided after the war that he would write detective stories with one hand and travel books with the other, and somehow manage to squeeze in magazine pieces as he went along. It seems like quite a program, but he has brought it off, selling a couple of his yarns to Hollywood while he was at it.
Just published is Mr. Dodge's "Time Out for Turkey" (Random; $3.50), in which he tells the story of the last major trek the Dodges made before returning to America from their 3-year European sojourn. Like his others ("A Poor Man's Guide to Europe" for example), this is a pleasant mixture of deliberate zanyism and practical information.
Dodge and his wife got into this particular bit of travel trouble when they bought one of the very small European cars and then found they had two months on their hands before they had to be back, December 23 at 8 p.m., to watch their young daughter in the school Christmas play in Cannes. They'd never been to Istanbul, and the very sound of its name, like Carcassonne or Ternate or Rarotonga, was romantic. They'd driven over a lot of Europe. Why not try to make the trip in the new car?
They did. They gave up in Greece, and flew the rest of the way, but the little car took them across Northern Italy, Yugoslavia, Albania, Thrace, and down to Salonika. Mr. Dodge is careful not to name the make of the car, since it more or less fell apart several times on the wild journey. He just calls it "Invictus" after the Henley poem, though the reader will feel that if any unconquerable souls were involved they were the Dodges' own, for the roads and the weather were about as bad as they could be.
Dodge tells the story in his special style, which conceals very nicely that fact that he's giving you a surprising amount of information along with his kidding and intimate chitchat.
In Yugoslavia, of course, he and his wife were subversives--members of the decadent, capitalistic, Wall-Street-banker society to which Communism (even Titoism) is anti-pathetic. He's very amusing about this, especially when he keeps meeting up with Yugoslavs who are willing to talk when they're alone, and who all turn out to be somewhere to the right of William McKinley. In Greece, on the other hand, they emerged into their own familiar capitalist economy and it felt pretty good; they went to see Abbott and Costello their first night in Athens, and the neon signs and Coca-Cola ads looked just fine.
They fell completely in love with Istanbul; Dodge actually becomes serious about that city: "Sometimes, in traveling, a pot of gold really is waiting at the end of the rainbow when you get there. Istanbul was one of those." More, he gives you quite a full rundown on what he and his wife saw and did there.
For the rest, this saga shows the Dodges struggling with road signs in Cyrillic lettering, Thracian mud, unsteady bridges, and chuckholed roads that have to be seen, he says, to be believed. It follows the familiar Dodge pattern, complete with high old family rows, worries about their child (who was fully able to take care of herself, of course, though no parents ever know that), passport difficulties, language confusions, and of course their troubles with "Invictus," though the midget car did get them there, after all. Not as wildly mad as, for instance, Dodge's "How Green Was My Father," it is still in much the same mold, and therefore highly amusing.
And if you'd like my own view of the most entertaining bit among many--well, try Dodge's deadpan interview with the workers on one of Tito's collective farms, pages 64-68. No, maybe not pure political objectivity, but pretty funny nevertheless.
Or maybe their bedraggled arrival in Greece and their inability to find anywhere to eat. They did see signs which read PECTOPAH, but it never occurred to them that, in Roman letters, this was RESTORAN.
San Francisco Chronicle (Feb. 1, 1955), p. 19
(reviewed by Joseph Henry Jackson)
Including Ptuj and Krk
TIME OUT FOR TURKEY. By David Dodge. 235 pp. New York: Random House. $3.50.
When the rehabilitation of the Slav has finally been accomplished for devotees of light reading in the West, special credit should go to the indomitable goodwill of American tourists generally, and to the dauntless effervescence of David Dodge in particular. Much spade-work remains to be done as yet, it appears (the Dodge epos, though technically a humorous travelogue, leans pretty heavily on the humor of exasperation as Slavophobes may well surmise). The laughs, though regular enough, frequently have a hollow sound.
Yet Mr. Dodge's book is both amusing and valuable in its unpretentious fashion. Moreover, for all of his anti-Communist flippancy, the author is scrupulously fair to the individual Yugoslav--from the inefficient secret police to the highly efficient automobile mechanics--whom he encounters in his transit of the Balkan enclave. If the reader can forget for a moment that a Communist enemy, on the whole, seems a less speculative long-term risk than a Communist pal, he may settle down comfortably to enjoy the scenery and characters of Tito's Wonderland, as he might those of Alice's.
The governing principle seems to be identical in both locales, namely "jam yesterday, jam tomorrow, but never jam today." The reader may frankly acknowledge the incomparable charm of an itinerary which includes such points of interest as Skpje, Krk, Ptuj, Split, Pec, and Bled. It is nothing but the simple truth that within Yugoslavia's linguistic boundaries are to be found the most hauntingly lovely words in Europe's vocabularies, especially when transliterated into the Cyrillic alphabet. Although Xoten and Pectopah, for instance are said to mean merely "hotel" and "restaurant," their barbarous splendor is unmatched except in the ancient Mexican languages, or possibly Etruscan.
Turkey has the title role in Mr. Dodge's book, and Greece is prominently featured, yet without question Yugoslavia steals the script. The flight from Athens to Istanbul--last leg of the Dodge journey--seems commonplace compared with the adventure of driving in a semi-midget motor across a Montenegrin mountain pass officially closed for the winter.
There is a type of superficiality which tends to confuse the reader. It may even become a menace to intellectual navigation by being mistaken for profundity. No such effect is foreseeable for Mr. Dodge's lively and entertaining treatise.
The New York Times Book Review, vol. 60 (Feb. 6, 1955), p. 12
(reviewed by Ben Crisler)
THEIR TRIP THAT WENT PREPOSTEROUSLY HAYWIRE
"TIME OUT FOR TURKEY," by David Dodge. [Random, 235 pages, $3.50].
France, Italy, Yugoslavia, Greece, Turkey. The route looked perfectly feasible on a map. Autumn rains seemed unimportant. David Dodge and his wife, Elva, would simply pile into their car in Cannes, and drive across southern Europe until they reached magic Istanbul.
So the pair started out, with a firm commitment to be home in two months. "Time Out for Turkey," like several previous sightseeing books by the author ("20,000 Leagues Behind the 8-Ball," "How Green Was My Father"), records a well intentioned trip that went preposterously haywire.
Some of the most appalling and hilarious travel experiences ever to befall an American motorist awaited Dodge in communist Yugoslavia. Driving the length of the country in their tiny new European car--renamed Invictus because of its "unconquerable soul"--David and Elva found the Slovenian tongue impossible, hotel accommodations primitive, secret police exasperating, and road conditions ranging from terrible to impassable.
By the time they arrived in Greece a month had already elapsed and the roads thru Thrace were hopelessly flooded. Only by abandoning their original plan were the Dodges able to reach Istanbul.
Undoubtedly the most brilliant part of "Time Out for Turkey" is its description of Yugoslavia, which abounds in comedy, vivid personal contact, and local color. Lovers of political satire will especially relish the author's visit to a collective farm near Belgrade.
The Yugoslavs may not welcome a return trip by the Dodges, but anyone who has ever contemplated a motor trip thru Balkan country will bless Dodge for telling the truth.
Chicago Sunday Tribune Magazine of Books (Mar. 6, 1955), p. 8
(reviewed by Mark Reinsberg)
TIME OUT FOR TURKEY. By David Dodge. 235 pp. New York: Random House. $3.50.
Obviously, only a couple of "crazy Americans," as we are sometimes collectively regarded by Europeans, would try to drive across the mountains of Yugoslavia and northern Greece to Turkey during the late fall and early winter months. The trip looked easy enough to David Dodge when outlined in red crayon on a map, but he soon discovered that Yugoslavian road maps are not necessarily to be trusted. And as a matter of fact, Mr. Dodge never did actually get all the way to Istanbul by car--he flew the last lap from Athens. But his book--like all his others--is a most amusing account of the trials and tribulations encountered on the trip; of unstable bridges, replacements for war-bombed structures, which were negotiated only on a strong mixture of coffee and rakia; of misleading information by tyros and experts alike; of secret police who were actually helpful; of meals and accommodations in remote mountain villages; and of champagne and bourbon in Salonika and Athens. It makes for delightful reading.
New York Herald Tribune Book Review, vol. 31, no. 36 (Apr. 17, 1955), p. 11
Dodge, David. TIME OUT FOR TURKEY. Random House. $??
Another highly irregular itinerary (How Green Was My Valley, [sic] etc.) leaves Kendal behind in a boarding school in Cannes and takes David and Elva on a rather drastic course behind the Iron Curtain and down to Turkey. There is the initial purchase of Invictus, an unconquerable crate, and the expensive repair bills which resulted from potholed roads and high altitudes. There is the expected bickering and bill and cooing between the two of them, while for David, the high cost of traveling--whether in drachmae or dinars--results in the usual purse pains. In Belgrade, there's the guidance of Vassily who wanted to be paid off in nylons and a beret; in Titograd, a mellow evening of slivovitz; in Istanbul, the miserable toilets--as well as mosques and market places and minarets and an expensive (Elva's earrings) tour of the Covered Bazaar. And finally the news that Kendal has broken an arm hurries them back--via Italy and Greece--to school in time for a Christmas play.... Even for stay at homes, strenuous stuff.
Bulletin from Virginia Kirkus' Bookshop Service, vol. 22, no. 23 (Dec. 1, 1954), p. 803
Dodge, David. Time out for Turkey. 1955. 235 p. Random, paper-covered boards with cloth backbone, $3.50.
Diverting glimpses of Central Europe by a husband-wife travel team who set out from Paris in a small French car to visit Greece and Turkey. Distracted from culture by the idiosyncrasies of a car not built for Balkan roads, by difficulties with the Slavic languages and Cyrillic alphabet, and by the constant search for garages, mechanics, gasoline, and information, they finally reached Athens, but resorted to air travel for the last lap to Istanbul. Lively observations on Communist Yugoslavia, friction in Trieste, billboard-studded highways in Italy, the wonders of Greece, and shopping in Turkey. 54-8421 (W)
The Booklist (American Library Association), vol. 51, no. 15 (Apr. 1, 1955), p. 314
Talking Turkey. By David Dodge. (Barker, 12s. 6d.)
Mr. Dodge and his wife went by car from Cannes to Istanbul crossing the Balkans. It was a small car, swiftly named Invictus, and its ups and downs figure largely in the fun, which is very forced. I think by now it ought to be realised that foreigners qua foreigners aren't as good for laughs as they were when Marco Polo went travelling. It's difficult in 1955 to roll in the aisles over chauffeurs called Ibrahim or frontier guards seized with nostalgia. Motorists planning a comparable odyssey might pick up a few helpful facts from this book: the general reader will find the journey as heavy going as Invictus did.
The Spectator, no. 6,621 (May 20, 1955), p. 655
Dodge, David. Time out for Turkey. Random House. $3.50.
The widely-traveled Dodges set forth in a brand-new midget car, "Invictus," and this is the hilarious account of its conquest of the mountain roads of Italy, Jugoslavia and Greece and a rest during a plane trip from Athens to Istanbul before giving up the ghost in France.
The Bookmark (New York State Library), vol. 14, no. 6 (Mar. 1955), p. 133
(reviewed by Florence Boochever)
(Y=young people; P=prisons; R=reformatories; H=mental hospitals)