Travel Books

How Green Was My Father (1947)

How Lost Was My Weekend (1948)

The Crazy Glasspecker (1949)

20,000 Leagues Behind the 8-Ball (1951)

The Poor Man’s Guide to Europe (1953)

Time Out for Turkey (1955)

The Rich Man’s Guide to the Riviera (1962)

The Poor Man’s Guide to the Orient (1965)

Fly Down, Drive Mexico (1968)

Koons drawing

Book Reviews


Dodge family passport photo

   In addition to writing successful mystery and suspense novels, David Dodge enjoyed a profitable second career as the author of humorous travel books. After publishing four mysteries, Dodge and his wife Elva and 5-year old daughter Kendal packed up their belongings and set out to see the world via the Pan American Highway.

   In 1949, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine offered the following anecdote about how Dodge’s travel-writing career began: “[David] Dodge started writing a letter to his friends in the States, telling all about the first leg of their trip, through Mexico and Guatemala. The letter got so voluminous that Dodge concluded it would be more economical to publish it as a book, and send out copies, than to mail carbons to all and sundry by air. Thus, his best-selling travel story, How Green Was My Father.


   We went to Guatemala to get a fresh outlook on the business of murder. I had shot, strangled, stabbed, poisoned and otherwise knocked off so many people in the vicinity of San Francisco that the well was running dry. Unless I could find a fresh crop of victims, the time was fast approaching when I would have to give up writing murder mysteries and take a job in a shoe store to earn a living. This fate worse than death was precluded when one of my wife’s distant relatives left her with a small inheritance. Together with our lifetime savings of $172.50, it gave us enough of a bankroll to follow the swallows south to Central America.
   How Lost Was My Weekend, p. 4.

   David Dodge was fond of explaining that while many writers traveled in order to gather material to write about, his goal was to write in order to gather money to travel. As evidenced by his numerous and far-ranging travel diaries, as well as an astounding number of magazine articles, he was certainly successful in reaching this goal.

   We had learned in Mexico how useless it was to try to spell “Dodge” for anybody who didn’t understand English. Half the time it came Dogde, and even when they put it down right they made two syllables out of it; Dode-gay. The simplest thing, we found, was to introduce ourselves as Dawtch-como-el-Carro -- Dodge-like-the-car -- and everybody caught on right away. Dawtchcomoelcarro became the family name on everything but our passport. Kendal, because her name sounded like “candle,” ended up as Candela, or sometimes Candelaria, Dawtchcomoelcarro, an interesting handle for a small American girl.
   How Lost Was My Weekend, p. 24.

Detail from High Life in the Andes jacket

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