The Rich Man's Guide to the
The Poor Man's Guide to the Orient
Fly Down, Drive Mexico
The Rich Man's Guide to the Riviera
THE RICH MAN'S GUIDE TO THE RIVIERA, by David Dodge [Little, Brown, 239 pages, $4.95]
Every oddball on the Riviera is colorful. So it seems to David Dodge, free-lance writer who says that nowhere could he have found as good a supply of situations and characters. What he does with the material isn't worth reading. Tho [sic] Dodge's "The Poor Man's Guide to Europe" was a good book, this one is a dreary collection of fact and fable that is easy to put down, if ever picked up. It is not a guide in any sense of the word.
One wonders why Dodge wrote such a book; he tells how he wrote it in the 11th chapter. He keeps a file of index cards of "characters gleaned from the realities" and plots "consisting mostly of clippings from French newspapers. ... Whenever it becomes necessary to go to work I would take them ... and deal them out ... properly arranged thru movement of characters onto plot and plot onto characters [they] became a story in two dimensions. All that was then necessary was to fill in a third dimension with penciled hackwork. The rest was up to my wife, the mails, a literary agent, and luck."
Luck is as luck does.
Chicago Sunday Tribune Magazine of Books (Jan. 6, 1963), p. 4
(reviewed by Lawrence Townsend)
Rich Man's Guide to the Riviera
DAVID DODGE, the novelist and travel writer, inadvertently contributed his bit to history a few years back by writing a suave whodunit called "To Catch a Thief." Alfred Hitchcock made a film from it starring a Philadelphia girl, Grace Kelly. They shot on location in Monoco [sic]. The local prince fell for the girl and ...
Well, Dodge, who once wrote a book called "The Poor Man's Guide to Europe" now publishes one called "The Rich Man's Guide to the Riviera." He should know, having lived in this glamorous Gomorrah for several years, and very well, too. As a free lance writer, he could pick up a motley and bizarre cast of characters by just looking out the window: "frocked and unfrocked royalty, montebanks, playboys, playgirls, gamblers, goldbricks, confidence men, body builders, geniuses, loonies, artists, writers, exhibitionists, cinema personalities, smuggler, poules de luxe, gigolos, cool cats, kookies, cupcakes and multicolored jelly beans of one sex or another."
Still a free-lance writer, but now residing off the Cote d'Azur, Dodge has put together an informative, anecodotal, slightly wicked and unquestionably entertaining book on the terrain and denizens of this sun and sex-drenched Disneyland for grownups. In spite of his tongue-in-cheek approach, it remains a first-rate guide to the region, as well as an analysis of its attitudes and manners.
His rundown on the celebrated Cannes Film Festival is as ironic as anything I have read on this affair. His accounts of smuggling and piracy on the Mediterranean shore are intertwined with outrageous stories involving personalities from the late Errol Flynn to Anita Eckberg, one of the mainstays of "La Dolce Vita."
I doubt that it was David Dodge's intention to present the Riviera as one of the most unattractive watering-places of our time. The way he describes it, it becomes so, and darned expensive to boot.
The result is escape reading of the most tinseled sort. It is frank, amusing, uncomplicated entertainment. And how are things with Princess Grace, whose climb to the Palace was assisted somewhat by David Dodge's old thriller? He's not sure. Couldn't get an appointment with her the last time he tried as a representative of Holiday Magazine of Philadelphia, H.R.H.'s old home town.
The Rich Man's Guide to the Riviera. By David Dodge. Little, Brown; 239 pp.; $4.95.
San Francisco Chronicle (1962)
(reviewed by William Hogan; with photograph of Anita Eckberg)
Dodge, David. THE RICH MAN'S GUIDE TO THE RIVIERA. Little, Brown. $4.95.
The title is undeniably elegant, though somewhat misleading. This book is neither a travelogue nor a guidebook to gambling halls and restaurants. It is more analogous to a journal. The author, making effective use of his memory and his card index of characters, presents the reader with autobiographical ramblings of his life on the Riviera: an account of the theft that inspired his successful novel To Catch a Thief, of his experience in crossing the Atlantic to buy French bread for his wife, of his visit to a nudist colony, of the origin of the bikini, of cigarette smuggling and prostitution and playboys. The book is both lively and witty, and, surprisingly enough, does convey to the reader a lasting impression of this area of the world. If it is somewhat reminiscent of a Hollywood gossip column, it must be said, in all fairness to its author, that the book is superbly written. It should appeal to all those readers who have a consuming interest in the lives of actresses and actors and princesses. The "poor man's guide" has stepped out of his accustomed role. That's what success does to you. (LC: 62-17948)
Bulletin from Virginia Kirkus' Bookshop Service, vol. 30, no. 16 (Aug. 15, 1962), p. 803
I suppose that vivid is the word for The Rich Man's Guide to Riviera (Cassell, 21s.). Mr. David Dodge sets the tone of his book by his choice of cover. This, as we are led to expect, is a brash, rumbustious account of the Cote d'Azur and 'its motley population of frocked and unfrocked royalty, mountebanks, playboys, playgirls, gamblers, gold-bricks, confidence men, body-builders, geniuses, ... poules de luxe, gigolos, cool cats, kookies, cupcakes and multicoloured jellybeans of one sex or another'.
The Listener (London), vol. 71, no. 1815 (Jan. 9, 1964), p. 78
(reviewed by Joanna Richardson)
DODGE, David. The Rich Man's Guide to the Riviera. 239pp. 62-17948. Little. $4.95 TRAV
This book is obviously a labor of love. Having lived on the Cote d'Azur, Mr. Dodge has an affection for this seaside strip of paradise and its whacky [sic] inhabitants, where no one labors, that is as warm as the Mediterranean sun itself. His observations include rollicking sketches of a society too improbable to be anything but true, so that his "rich man's" Riviera sounds like the funniest, sunniest spot on earth. For travel collections, large or small.
--Frederick B. Davenport, Regional Br. Ln., Cuyahoga Co. P.L., Cleveland, Ohio.
Library Journal, vol. 87, no. 22 (Dec. 15, 1962), p. 4543
TOUT VA PLUS
The Rich Man's Guide to the Riviera. David Dodge. Cassell 21/-
The pleasures of family life in the South of France are enhanced if you are an American making a creamy living from writing stories about the less respectable inhabitants of the pleasure strip from Menton to Marseilles. Mr. Dodge's easy blend of autobiography, anecdote and social history is very good journalism, entertaining while you are reading it and disquieting in retrospect. In his casual way he covers the Riviera thoroughly, from its geography to its crime, and shows the dirty skin under the maquillage. His eccentrics include one who publicly ate straw hats and another who grew daisies in his beard.
Punch, vol. 244, no. 6405 (June 12, 1963), p. 867
(reviewed by Lewis Bates)
BOCCA, GEOFFREY. Bikini Beach. 174pp. W.H. Allen. 16s.
DODGE, DAVID. The Rich Man's Guide to the Riviera. 239pp. Cassell. 21s.
These two amusing books about the French Riviera cover much the same ground: beaches, bikinis, casinos, film stars, jewel robberies, and money. The subjects discussed are predictable enough but both Mr. Dodge and Mr. Bocca write brightly and easily about them. In particular, a chapter in Mr. Dodge's book about cigarette smuggling makes enlightening reading.
The Times Literary Supplement, no. 3,196 (May 31, 1963), p. 395
The Poor Man's Guide to the Orient
Dodge, David. THE POOR MAN'S GUIDE TO THE ORIENT. Simon & Schuster. $4.95.
That favorite traveling tightwad, making ends meet where the twain never does, in a second (Europe certainly went through several editions) overview which is not in competition with the conventional guide books and does not itemize prices, places, names, rates, fares, etc. By poor, Mr. Dodge does not mean penury but a desire to receive fair value, and there is a lot here about converting dollars into other currencies, travel agents and bookings (Stay Loose), transport from airlines to taxis, pads and plumbing, shopping, eating, night life, passports and clothes, and finally "Baksheesh, Tips and the old Clippola." Mr. Dodge will tell you in the Orient "caveat emptor ... is a way of life," but the recommendation here is to buy before you go. The amusing illustrations by Carl Rose are compatible. (LC: 65-15035)
Virginia Kirkus' Service, vol. 33, no. 9 (May 1, 1965), p. 493
Dodge, David. The poor man's guide to the Orient. With illus. by Carl Rose. 1965. 309 p. illus. Simon & Schuster, $4.95.
As in his The poor man's guide to Europe (BOOKLIST 49:282, My 1 53) Dodge writes for the economy-minded tourist. The handbook opens with general advice on planning and preparing for the trip, transportation to and within Near and Far Eastern countries, and the role of the travel agent. Brief subsequent chapters on hotels, food, shopping, and entertainment draw examples from several Near and Far Eastern countries. A short list of hotels is appended. 65-15035 (W)
The Booklist and Subscription Books Bulletin (American Library Association), vol. 62, no. 1 (Sept. 1, 1965), p. 36
DODGE, David. The Poor Man's Guide to the Orient: ill. by Carl Rose. appendix. 412 pp. S. & S. Jul. $4.95. 65-15035. TRAVEL
This is a light-hearted "aid" to travel in the Orient, stretching from the Middle East to Japan, but not including mainland China, Outer Mongolia, and other areas. At the beginning of each chapter Mr. Dodge gives a capsule view of what is to be talked about in it, and then proceeds to charm his way through many topics. Using his wife and his daughter as "scape-goats" in the one-man dialogue, he makes the human side of travel vividly present. While he does give pertinent information on travel, his chief contribution in this book lies elsewhere: it gives the armchair traveler a good glimpse of things he may not have seen. For leisure reading and as a travel guide. --Wen Chao Chen, Prof. of Pol. Sci. & Ln., Kalamazoo Coll., Kalamazoo, Mich.
Fly Down, Drive Mexico
Dodge, David. Fly down, drive Mexico; a practical motorist's handbook for travel south of the border. 1968. 227 p. illus., maps. Macmillan, $5.95.
A selective, candid guide for the economy-minded motorist, whether he drives from the U.S. or rents a car upon arrival as the author recommends. Customs, rental procedures and costs, automobile regulations, road maps, and accommodations are covered thoroughly. Tours of varying length to remote areas as well as visits to familiar cities are described in detail with Dodge's wry humor, but archaeological, historical, and artistic background information is sketchy. Appendix includes lists of U.S. and Mexican travel offices, trailer-park details, place-name pronunciation, and other data. 68-18871.
The Booklist and Subscription Books Bulletin (American Library Association), vol. 65, no. 5 (Nov. 1, 1968), p. 288
FLY DOWN -- DRIVE MEXICO GUIDEBOOK [sic]. David Dodge. Macmillan, $5.95.
This book is subtitled "The Practical Motorist's Handbook South of the Border" and it is more than that. Any motorist (and especially the impractical one) should have something like it.
It is geared toward the expectation that the 1968 Olympic Games at Mexico City will attract a prodigious number of visitors South of the border. Dodge says it will not do to take your own car to Mexico. The long drive down, the material hazards to U.S.-registered cars in Mexico, and sheer cost militate against it. Air travel is the only practical way in but, once there, the advantages of the hired car become impressive and this is a book about how to maximize them.
The author talks concretely in terms of dollars and sense. He speaks authoritatively from over 20 years of experience, and when he discusses a subject he invariably makes his case. You learn a number of useful (some indispensable) pieces of information: when to tip customs officials, why not to drive at night, how to read traffic lights and negotiate Mexican streets (you are frankly told not to drive in Mexico City under any circumstances), and what not to expect from Mexican motels. There are generous descriptions of most of the worthwhile places (known and lesser known) in Southern Mexico and frank (if less than graphic) descriptions of their shortcomings, and pitfalls. Included are a key to pronunciation of Mexican place names, Mexico City car rental rates, and a bibliography of selected guide books.
Publishers' Weekly, vol. 193, no. 12 (Mar. 18, 1968), p. 51
Dodge, David. FLY DOWN, DRIVE TO [sic] MEXICO. Macmillan. $5.95. (4/29. LC: 68-18871)
With his most strident stricture in the title, for emphasis, the jaunty Mr. Dodge (novelist, humorist, traveler), puts forth an all-ye-need-to-know companion to Mexico. Costs, road procedures, hostelries, routes, things to see where'er you roam, plus a section on the Olympic games, just in time for October's gala. But above all--fly down, rent a car, then drive where you will. A section titled "What It Costs to Rent a Car There" is followed by another, "What It Really Costs to Rent a Car There," but Mr. Dodge's cost and comfort estimates make the case. A fat friendly index contains a pronunciation key, rates, agencies, offices of pertinent organizations, consular office for times of stress, and delightfully, an evaluative round-up of other guides to Mexico. Excellent for the roamer; helpful for Hilton hibernators, too.
The Kirkus Service, vol. 36, no. 6 (Mar. 15, 1968), p. 366
DODGE, David. Fly Down--Drive to [sic] Mexico. 244 pp. Macmillan. 1968. $5.95. 68-18871. TRAVEL
David Dodge, author of Poor Man's Guide to Europe (Collier, 1963), has now written a selective guide to Mexico, in which he advises the traveler to leave his car home, fly to Mexico City, and rent a car for touring. He states that anything north of a line through Guadalajara and Guanajuato is the "great bald spot," and a waste of time. Within these limits, he provides a sprightly--sometimes too sprightly--written guide to the best things to see and do, places to stay and eat, and routes to take, with average driving times; he also provides information about the upcoming Olympics. Because the book was reviewed from galleys, it is impossible to determine the adequacy of maps and illustrations. His guide is intended to and does supplement such standard guides as those of the AAA, and is recommended for public libraries and for academic libraries with travel interests. --Donald M. Powell, University of Arizona Library, Tucson.
Library Journal, vol. 93, no. 10 (May 15, 1968), p. 2005
(reprinted in: The Library Journal Book Review, 1968. New York: R.R. Bowker, 1969, p. 214)