Short Walks from Bogota : Journeys in the New Colombia Paperback
by Tom Feiling
For decades, Colombia was the 'narcostate'. Now it's seen as one of the rising stars of the global economy.
Where does the truth lie? How did a land likened to paradise by the first conquistadores become a byword for hell on earth? And how is it rebuilding itself after decades of violence?
Writer and journalist Tom Feiling has journeyed throughout Colombia, down roads that were until recently too dangerous to travel, talking to people from former guerrilla fighters to nomadic tribesmen and millionaires. "Vital, shocking, wry and never simplistic, Short Walks from Bogota unpicks the tangled fabric of Colombia to create a stunning work of reportage, history and travel writing". (Books of the Year 2012 Boyd Tonkin, The Independent). "Creates a portrait of Colombia that is perceptive, unsensational, and full of humanity...Feiling is a brilliant reporter, lucid, unflinching, morally engaged, and with an occasional deadpan sense of humour.. one of the most consistently intelligent and compelling books to have appeared on any South American country in recent years". (Michael Jacobs, Independent). "Tom Feiling takes us on an enlightening journey through a changing country that few understand". (Rachel Aspden, Observer). "A deeply political account of one man's journey to the violent heart of modern, rural, Colombia ...a must read". (Kevin Howlett, Colombia Politics). "Feiling...venture[s] into areas that have been off limits for decades ...the sense of a vibrant nation worth discovering peeks out". (Siobhan Murphy, Metro). "The best British travel writers like Norman Lewis or Bruce Chatwin give the reader more than simple travellers' tales.
Feiling is of their company ...a brilliant, penetrating and highly readable account". (Robert Carver, Spectator). "Some of the best insights in the book come from the people Feiling meets, and memorably portrays ...a well-written, thoughtful book". (David Gallagher, Times Literary Supplement Dramatic and captivating Wanderlust). "Elegantly written and knowledgeable. Feiling writes with the eye of a seasoned journalist and the style of a travel writer". (Carl Wilkinson, Financial Times). Tom Feiling spent a year living and working in Colombia before making Resistencia: Hip-Hop in Colombia, which won numerous awards at film festivals around the world, and was broadcast in four countries. In 2003 he became Campaigns Director for the TUC's Justice for Colombia campaign, which organizes for human rights in Colombia.
His first book was The Candy Machine: How Cocaine Took Over The World, which was based on over sixty interviews with people involved in all aspects of the cocaine business and the 'war on drugs,' and was published by Penguin in 2009.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 288 pages, maps (black and white)
- Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
- Publication Date: 29/08/2013
- Category: Reportage & collected journalism
- ISBN: 9780241959909
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Review by bezoar44
This is a fine and sensitively-written introduction to Colombian geography and history - colonial and more recent - with a heavy emphasis on the continuing fallout of insurgent, drug industry, and paramilitary violence on Colombian civil society and politics. Feiling travels all over Colombia, and gives a great sense of the country's huge diversity of landscapes, as well as the challenges the terrain presents to governance and economic development. Feiling's own background includes heavy involvement in civil rights advocacy; that's soft pedaled across most of the book, but emerges directly late in the book, and certainly underpins his interest in the disappeared throughout his chapters. He clearly loves and respects the country and its citizens, even while grappling with the incredible toll that violence has taken on individuals and communities all over the country.