Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyAlthough books about Eastern Europe tend these days to become outdated even as they are being written, the British author's journey, related with delightfully subtle wit, has period charm. A lone traveler making his way from the Federal Republic across the Berlin Wall to the DDR, on to Prague, Cracow, Riga, Vilnius and Leningrad, Tanner, a one-time Anglican seminarian and now a correspondent in Belgrade, seems not to have detected signs of the ferment about to erupt. He found the mainline DDR folk ``pronouncedly bourgeois''; that the Czechs ``neither learn nor forget anything''; that the Poles are enterprising at fleecing the Western tourist; that in Vilnius and Leningrad, even with Intourist to take over the burden of arranging his accommodations, his hotels proved to be ``dumps.'' The main interest in the book, however, is in the history Tanner relates, especially about unfamiliar Lithuania. (Sept.)
Library JournalLess than a year ago, this might have been considered an intriguing, though eccentric, glimpse of life in the Eastern bloc. Now, however, given the stunning collapse of the Communist order in Europe, Ticket to Latvia survives only as a very thin piece of period literature. In many respects, the work is similar to the hundreds of 19th-century travelogs done by wealthy or enterprising travelers before the age of mass communication. Digressions on local architecture abound, as do stories of interesting folk and good food discovered along the way. Though engagingly written, Tanner's observations are generally simplistic and sometimes painfully superficial. More than anything else this book is a casualty of the information age. Recommended only for libraries with large Eastern European collections.-- Joseph W. Constance Jr., Boston Coll. Lib., Chestnut Hill, Mass.
- Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
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