Around the World in 50 Years: My Adventure to Every Country on Earth by Albert Podell

Around the World in 50 Years: My Adventure to Every Country on Earth by Albert Podell
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Non-Fiction, Recent Historical, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (354 pgs)
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Lavender

Around the World in 50 Years is the inspiring story of an ordinary guy who achieved two great goals that others had told him were impossible. First, he set a record for the longest automobile journey ever made around the world, during which he blasted his way out of minefields, survived a serious accident atop the Peak of Death, came within seconds of being lynched, and lost three of the five men who started with him: two to disease, one to the Vietcong.

After that, Albert Podell set another record by going to every country on earth. He survived riots, revolutions, civil wars, trigger-happy child soldiers, voodoo priests, jihadists, robbers, corrupt cops, and Cape buffalo. He traveled through every kind of earthquake, cyclone, tsunami, volcanic eruption, snowstorm, and sandstorm that nature threw at him. He ate everything from old camel meat and African field rats to dung beetles and the brain of a live monkey. And he overcame encounters with crocodiles, hippos, anacondas, giant leeches, flying crabs―and several beautiful women who insisted that he stop this nonsense and marry them.
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Around the World in 50 Years is a remarkable and meaningful tale packed with some of the most memorable, frightening, and hilarious adventure stories you have ever read.

Has anyone been to every country on earth? Albert Podell has, and he wrote about it. He started his travels as a young man and finished them in his twilight years. He left the most dangerous and harrowing countries for last.

The subject matter alone is fascinating. Readers get glimpses of other countries and cultures through the eyes of an American traveler. Podell doesn’t describe all 196 countries here. He mainly goes into his wild adventures in the countries where he encountered real trouble, whether of the natural type—wild animals or extreme desert conditions in Africa—or the human type—dealing with wars and radical politics.

There are only a few pleasant experiences described within these pages, and the author’s words offer great insights into these other lands. One will appreciate getting a peek into how so many other people live. Podell is honest, and his interpretations are laced with humor. This book is not for kids though. There is adult content, telling readers how it really is.

Since it took him fifty years to do this, Podell sometimes updates readers on the situation in certain countries. He also had to backtrack at times because new countries were created or disappeared. One can often feel his stress and surprise as well as feel relieved for him when he barely escapes one life-threatening predicament after another.

This adventurous tale will very likely give readers in certain places a whole new appreciation of where they live. It will make them grateful for what they have and maybe even make them want to stay home. It’s an eye-opening experience going along with this author on his world-wide journeys, and I’m glad I read this book.

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