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Long Way Round - Ewan McGregor

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Genre: Travel / Author: Ewan McGregor, Charley Boorman / Hardcover / 352 Pages / Book is published 2007-10-11 by Sphere

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      13.02.2012 11:39
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      A round the world motor bike trip with Ewan McGregor

      Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman ride east from London to New York on BMW motorbikes in this book, Long Way Round.  They made a television programme about the same trip, which was the forerunner to their @long Way Down' adventure going south from Scotland to South Africa.
       
      I've seen and read both, and can comment that as real life adventure stories go, I think that this book, the Long Way Round, is the better adventure to read.  The reader is easily sucked into the sense of discovery and hard times that Ewan and Charley encounter as they learn about the perils of motor biking through road-less terrain the hard way.  By the time they set off to do the Long Way Down, their adventuring cherries have been well and truly popped and there is less of an element of a boys' own adventure about it.
       
      Ewan takes the credit for having the idea to ride around the world, and ropes in Charley Boorman (an acting / bike loving friend) and together, the two of them plan the mammoth trip.  The planning stages are covered in the book, and I reckon they sound like very tense times as they try to raise the funding.  They finally manage to raise the required cash, diaries are cleared and off they go.
       
      The first few days of the trip take in western and central Europe.  I thought that this part of the journey was the least interesting as places like France and Germany are too close to home to be considered as anywhere near exotic.  As they enter the Ukraine though, it's like the trip starts and the tale takes a bizarre twist when they encounter a man named Igor - I won't give too much away about this apart from to say that their time with him is full of guns, uncertainty and vodka.  It's one of those encounters that make travelling so unique - situations like that would never happen if you sat at home all day.
       
      As they progress through Kazakhstan, Russia and Mongolia, the adventure aspect of the trip becomes more prominent as they camp in the wilderness, are in some extremely isolated places with little support and the descriptions of the scenery are breathtaking.  This middle chunk of the journey takes up a good portion of the book as there is more to write about than their time in France and America.  When they reach Magadan in Eastern Russia and cross over to Alaska, Canada and the US states en-route to New York, I felt that the book was a bit of an anticlimax after their wilderness adventures in Mongolia.
       
      Understandably, Ewan and Charley have highs and lows during the gruelling expedition, but after a while I found Charley's tantrums very grating.  He quite often flew off the handle at Ewan and Claudio (their mounted camera man who did most of the journey with them on his own bike) and their support crew, David and Russ.  Ewan comes across as quite a deep sensitive soul and does himself no harm in this warts and all account of the pair going through some gruelling times.  The way the book is written, Ewan will write a section about a particular event then Charley writes his own piece so you get a balanced view and can make your own mind up - I did and came to the conclusion that Charley is a sulky so and so!
       
      The entry into Canada and the US see the two adventurers return to the comforts of hotels and convenience food, and there is a nice moment when they are surprised by a meeting (planned in secret by their support crew) with their loved ones.
       
      During the trip, they take part in a few awareness raising visits on behalf of Unicef and I found these parts to be very touching and a stark contrast to the main theme of the book.  Ewan resolved from then on to do as much work for Unicef as he could.  He also overcame his inherent mistrust of the kindness of strangers during the trip - something which he blames on living in London.  I found these human aspects of the trip very rewarding to read through, and made me feel part of Ewan's personal journey.  Charley meanwhile just sulks a lot and acts like a diva.
       
      I'd recommend this book to those who like real life adventure stories, and I certainly wouldn't say that you have to be a fanatical motor biker to appreciate it - if anything it seems that the bike aspect of the tale has been toned down.  I enjoyed it immensely, the full five stars from me.

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        09.08.2009 18:29
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        Overall a solid travel book, but not the best out there.

        Long Way Round is a first collaboration by best friends Ewan McGregor (of Trainspotting fame) and Charley Boorman. It is their series of stories, jokes and mishaps when riding two long range BMW motorbikes around the world from London to New York (and back to London although obviously not on their bikes!).

        The book offers a series of great anecdotes from all sorts of different cultures - from Ukrainian mafia to Mongolia herders living in wattle and daub huts on plains. Boorman has a wicked and black sense of humour, while McGregor is the more sincere of the two, this shows through from the off. At times the book, or rather the authors themselves get very emotional - a direct result from the trials and tribulations of the task they have set themselves. But this is all part of the story and it is wonderful to read when they pick themselves up again and again, no matter what goes wrong with their bikes, bodies or the terrain they keep on going with one specific goal in their sights - home.

        The book is roughly split into large chapters covering each leg of their journey, but to me each different day seem to change so much with their emotions and the terrain that it does not really need chapters at all - you just pick it up and read if for a dozen pages, put it down, and the next time you pick it up, it'll be a totally different book. As with many travel books, it is interspersed with some wonderful photos to accompany their descriptive writing.

        Now do not expect too much from the quality of their writing, as they actors and not writers. They both offer up as much description as their limited writing abilities will allow but rely heavily on their senses of humour in the text. This okay as you can see that they just want to get their ideas across roughly and let you create the scene in your own head without being force fed exactly what it looks like - they are allowing your imagination to run wild when reading their book.

        All in all a good first outing for this pairing, and a very worthwhile venture which they undertook, meeting some fascinating people along the way.

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        12.07.2009 19:39
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        A real plesant read about a once in a lifetime adventure

        Long Way Round - Chasing Shadows Across the World by Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman is the companion book to the TV series of the same name, which saw Charley and Ewan journey 20,000 miles in increasingly tough terrain from London to New York, crossing the Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Russia along the way.

        I absolutely adored both the Long Way Round and the Long Way Down when they were on the television and after reading the Long Way Down earlier this year I decided that it was high time I read this one. I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed every single page of this book and the true spirit of the boys that travelled it and the journey itself really shines through.

        The book's blurb in my opinion really epitomises the whole journey and therefore the book. It explains how what started as a daydream became true and how two friends could against the odds realise their dream.

        "It started as a daydream. Poring over a map of the world at home one quiet Saturday afternoon, Ewan McGregor - actor and self confessed bike nut - noticed that it was possible to ride all the way round the world. So he picked up the phone and called Charley Boorman, his best friend, fellow actor and bike enthusiast, 'Charley,' he said. 'I think you ought to come over for dinner.'"

        Like I have just said I think that this one paragraph alone really highlights what the whole journey was all about. The aim was simple to travel around the world as un-noticed as physically possible in an attempt to take in the countries they passed in the most natural light available to them.

        The book itself is written as a day-by-day account of events that help and hinder the journey that they undertake. The book isn't however written in diary form like you might expect and to be honest I'm glad it isn't because I just don't think it would have suited it. The book actually flows like a complete set of prose yet is broken up into sizeable chapters, which are again broken down into different sections written by Charley and Ewan alternatively. This switching between authors means that you get both perspectives on what is happening, what is to be seen and both points of view in the many of the decisions, discussions, debates and arguments.

        As well as the account of the journey itself the book also includes 30 pages of full colour pictures, which really bring the whole journey to life and allow the reader to witness some of the things that faced the travellers. Each of these pictures is accompanied by a caption containing information about the content. Some of these captions are humorous and others a little emotional yet it is this that gives the book a solid heart and a firm grounding in the reality of the trip itself.

        Having seen the TV series I was well aware of how the trip was going to pan out and therefore under no illusion of what the ending would be. I did however find that I learnt much more about the people involved and the journey undertaken by reading the book, as the TV show doesn't show everything and the book itself contains a lot more humorous and heartfelt moments. Furthermore the book delves deeper into the sites that it was possible to see and digs deep into the feelings and emotions of the two intrepid bikers.

        These feelings I am pleased to say aren't put forward ina macho, I won't be knocked down, sort of way but in a real honest and heartfelt way that really lets the reader feel part of the journey. The two boys express their emotions in a way unique to them and come across exceptionally well. Yes there are times when they don't agree or when we as a reader may not agree with them but the book does let you see the true them and that openness and honesty lets us see that both Ewan and Charley are simply themselves: true family men with a great sense of duty to what they see around them. This on its own is very refreshing to read.

        On top of this emotion is a mass of humour as you get to see the funny and loveable sides to their characters. The natural relationship between the boys is apparent from the start of the book as they describe each other and the events that befall them with a real natural ease. This humour is in many ways what ties the whole journey together as it is the light hearted feelings that transcends the book and therefore the travel, as not matter how bad things get they always seem to be able to se the funny side eventually.

        A lot of this humour is directed towards each other but some also at the other members of the crew, as it must be remembered that the pair didn't do this entirely alone. Back in London was a massive team behind them preparing visas and other paperwork and travelling with them was a dedicated support crew. Claudio travelled alongside them filming their journey whilst Russ, David and second cameraman Jimmy travelled within recovery distance meeting up with them at various points to replenish supplies and cross borders. It is the relationships between the entire team as a whole that really touched me though as by the end of the book you come to realise how close the team have really become and I don't think that that is particularly apparent when watching the programme.

        I must say that I really did thoroughly enjoy reading this book as it made me appreciate what a real accomplishment their journey was. It also gave me a lot of respect for all those involved, as the journey was never simply about them showing off but about what they could learn and how they could help. Their enthusiasm for the countries they visited and their willingness to get involved was really infectious to read and made a thoroughly refreshing change.

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          09.01.2009 13:19

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          A great read, for travel and motorbike enthusiasts.

          This book of the three month journey from John O Groates to Cape Town undertaken by Charlie Boorman and Ewan McGregor is a fascinating read. In fact, the book is far better than the TV series as it really captures the sense of friendship and adventure that they had in their first adventure, the Long Way Round.

          The book is written by both Charlie and Ewan, generally one will do a few pages, then the other. This is very insightful as you get to see both of their views on the many and varied things they see and do on their trip. In this book you also see more of the reasons for their bust ups and moaning from the tv series and you can see that the tv series was badly edited, presumeably they were trying to make it more dramatic but this backfired. A gripping and interesting read that will have you wanting to get on your bike and following in their footsteps - I just can't wait for their next great adventure!

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          10.11.2008 16:20
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          a great read / watch which I will never tire of!

          Having seen both the tv series and read the book for this series I would recomend both to everyone.
          The series follows friends Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman on their adventure from John O'Groats to Cape Town, the long way down.

          This follows on from a similar journey both actors took from London to New York: the long way round, and also Charleys own expedition following his adventure trying the world famous Dakar Rally.

          This story is follows their ups and downs from start to finish covering anything and everything from mechanical problems, problems getting visas, to the emotional journey following the good work for unicef they carry out whilst on their journey.

          The book that accompanies the series is a great read, even if you have already seen the tv series as it goes a lot deeper into the adventure by telling you some moments that didn't make the final TV edit.

          This is a great show for anyone, whether you like motorbikes, like documentaries, like reality TV or like following the emotional journeys of 2 best friends.

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          01.08.2008 11:58
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          Hey look, its Ewan!

          The 19,000 mile trip in question is not the distance you need to travel around Ewan McGregor's head these days but a motorbike journey he, his best mate Charley Boorman and what felt like a 200 back-up team, trail blazed from London to NY in the year of 2004.
          Ewan and Charlie became firm friends after meeting on the set of the highly rated film, The Emerald Forest (1985), directed by Charley's famous dad Peter Borman, his son clearly cast because of. Charley, of course, is an atrocious actor and it's unclear if he has worked since. This is his only film listed in the Radio Times film book. But he knows Ewan, they both like bikes, and his dad is very rich so here he is riding around the world with Obi Wan Kenobi.

          The film is in documentary form, first following the team getting things organized for the trip and the actors getting in shape for the demands to come with the occasional sit up, inoculation and map reading lesson. Two episodes of the six spent on this trivial aspect are perhaps one too many, their fragrant wives and kids also thrust in front of the camera like the FA Cup. Yes we know your risking your perfect lives to get all oily, dusty and dangerous with normal people. But it's a tough trip as they and the boys back up crew intend to ride from London to New York on specially built bikes. The only time they are not on the bikes is when they keep falling off onto jagged rocks and when they will fly from the most eastern coast of Russia to Alaska, the challenge of riding the occasionally iced over Bering Straight one risk to far, especially with post production of the Attacks of the Clones still being cut together by George Lucas at the time. George likes to re-shoot scenes in search of perfection. If ever you needed Edward Scissor hands it's was for the final cut of that movie! I would like to remind Ewan and Charley that Jeremy Clarkson and the little fella did the trip on Top Gear in a couple of much heavier 4x4s.

          This was, of course, filmed along time before the boy's trip down the spine of Africa, 'Long Way Around', the precursor to 'Long Way Down'. In fact I watched that film first and the only reason I got into the repeats of this on TV. Presumably the next bike adventure will be a trip down the Americas in a few years from now called 'Your Careers a Long Way Down'... I think its fair to say Ewans film career has peaked and his boyish good looks and 'cheeky chappy' approach can only last so long. He's a likeable guy, don't get me wrong, but he does like to mug to camera at every opportunity in these documentaries. The goggle eyed ogre that is Charlie Boorman, on the other hand, can only make him look good on screen.

          The third and forth episodes were the boys on the road, sweeping through Benelux and Germany, the hot and flat tarmac smoothing them towards the perils of the dirt tracks to come in the old Eastern Europe, every border guard and cop demanding an autograph or a bribe. When they hit Russia things started to get very eclectic, Ewan and Charlie put up in a very swanky hotel, care of the Ukrainian mafia no less. There were AK47s on the dinner table and grenades in the fruit bowl. But that's what traveling is all about and the team appreciated the absurdity of it. I suspect Luke Sky walkers dad as light saber can't deflect bullets.

          Kazakhstan and Mongolia were next up, the bumps and ruts really beating up the bikes on the gravel roads. The Kazakhstan cops and people were very courteous, determined to escort the team through their mountainous and surprisingly green country for every mile. Mongolia was a different kettle of fish altogether, baron and rocky like the moons of the Dagabar System (Empire Strikes Back!), the boys toppling off the bikes more times than a drunken page three girl does the Soho pavement. The specially built rough terrain bikes to the people there were like the pods from War of the Worlds, frightened horseman not sticking around to talk to Ewan and Charley in their expensive decaled leathers, Boormans alien like looks scoring them back into the wilderness. We come in peace.

          To justify the boys jolly a bit of charity work is thrown into the mix and Ewan and Charley put on their charity faces as young children claw at him with big smiling faces. We also have the crew creeping into the film at this point, which I'm never comfortable with on documentaries, as the thing can be contrived around personalities and not the scenery and experience. I did like the mix of travelogue and human interest here, a star out of his comfort zone, but at times it felt that wasn't the case and Ewan and Charley could just be on location for a movie.

          One of the funniest bits in the sequel the boys did when they biked own Africa was the diversion through Tunisia, clearly suggested by Ewan so he could stroll through the Star Wars set that is situated there as a tourists attraction. When the two rolled up on their bikes, know one seemed to recognize him, even though there was poster of him on the tourist office walls. These guys were clearly, like the rest of us, not Phantom Menace fans. Maybe the producers did edit out people making the double-take on set but I did chuckle, the boy's ego never recovering. And, that if we are honest, is the point of these two films-seeing star being humbled by this beautiful world we live in where two thirds of the population don't have running water, let alone a DVD player to watch Young Adam.


          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_Way_Round

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            16.04.2008 15:57
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            2 actors, 2 bikes and all of africa

            This was a book I bought my husband for christmas, which he really wanted to read after seeing the TV series. It is written by actors Ewan McGregor (Star wars, Miss Potter, Moulin Rouge....) and his best friend, Charley Boorman (Hope and Glory, The Bunker...), who met on a film set and discovered a shared love of motorbikes. In 2004, the two set off on their first motorbike adventure, Long Way Round, where they traveled east around the globe. After the success of that journey, thy soon decided to start planning their next adventure, and that is where Long Way Down fits in. A three month journey from the northerly tip of Scotland to the very south of Africa, covering nearly 15, 000 miles on the bikes and nearly 20, 000 miles all together. The journey was intended to raise funds and awareness for several charities which the two are involved with, Unicef, Riders for Health and CHAS especially.
            The book is written in a diary format, with contributions from both men, reflecting on how they were feeling and what they were seeing. I wondered if having seen the TV series I would find it a little dull as I already knew what they would see and do. However, I really enjoyed the book and actually liked Ewan and Charley more in "book form" than "TV form." In the series they came across as a bit grumpy and ungrateful at the beginning of the journey. The book explains the tension at the time and it is more easy to feel sympathy for their felings. The change between the beginning of the journey, where they were rushing in order to make charity visits and ferry crossings in time and the later, more relaxed travelling is more marked in the book.
            I enjoyed learning a little more about the charity visits, and how Ewan and Charley felt about them. They visited several projects along the way, and were constantly amazed by the feeling of hope in the hospices, schools, clinics and war-torn areas they saw. I was also pleased that, as in Long Way Round, the bikers did not stay secluded in hotels or private camp sites on their journey. They met some amazing people along the way, fellow travellers and locals, which sem ro have made the trip for them.
            Charley and Ewan are convinced that being on the bikes allowed them to interact more with the people they met than they would have done in a car. I have no doubt it made for a harder journey, as a lot of the riding was off road or on rough tracks.
            If you enjoy travel writing, diaries or biographical books, I think you will enjoy this. It is a very people based story, telling you a lot about the authors, their families, support crews and the people they met. I did not find that having seen the TV series detracted from the story in the book for me at all. The only critisicism I would have is that reading Long Way Round within the last month detracted from my enjoyment! The books are very similar in style and I think I maybe just had too much of the same! The only other problem with this book is the wanderlust it inspires!

            RRP: 20pounds hardback, though Amazon are selling it for 8.99 now I think.

            Also posted on ciao.

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              29.12.2007 12:53
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              One of the best Trael log's I've read

              Following on from the success that the Long Way Round came to be, Ewan Mcgregor and Charley Boorman decided to set off on another trip on their motorbikes. This time the intention was to ride from John O'Groats in Scotland to Cape Town in South Africa. The trip would cover some 15000 miles, visiting 20 different countries in just under 3 months on the road. This book is the accompaniment to the BBC series of the same name and gives a further insight into the trip and what appears to have been an amazing, eye opening trip for both of them.

              Now I'd never really paid much attention to the first trip and it wasn't until I started to watch this series on TV that I decided I should read the book. It is written by both of them as they teamed up once again with the team from Long Way Round to create The Long Way Down. It is written in very much a diary format with both Charley and Ewan giving their views and feelings on the experiences and sights that they see a long the way and that for me was the real draw of this book.

              This isn't the normal sort of travel log and I think that really added to the appeal of both watching the series and reading the book. It strikes me as the sort of thing I would write with a friend or two if we were doing a similar sort of trip. I think that really adds to the appeal of the writing style as it doesn't seem to pretentious or written with that travel writing style. It is instead written in a much easier to read format that will expand the target audience for the book. It makes for a more relaxed read and infact I've found that compared to other travel accounts I've read it makes it harder to actually put it down.

              The length of the trip seems to have put a real strain on the whole team and this is reflected in Ewan and Charley's accounts of the trip in the first half. As they didn't want to be away for as long as the first trip they have had to create a schedule that means they are rushing on every day for the first month or so. As the reader you get the feeling that this didn't bother Charley quite as much as it did Ewan but there is a clear tension in the writing until they reach Ethiopia. The friendship appeared to be suffering as a result of the schedule and this seems very much like a book of two halves.

              Of course there isn't a lot of difference between the book and the TV series. It covers a lot of the same events but where I feel the book is stronger is in giving you more of an insight into the thoughts that they both have along the way. In particular there is far more detail regarding their UNICEF visits in the book and I found these to be incredible eye openers. The thoughts and feelings of both Charley and Ewan come across far better in writing and I feel that this was the main difference between this and the TV series.

              Overall would I recommend the Long Way Down? Well actually yes I would, I found it to be a very interesting and insightful read to accompany a trip that would fascinate me. Of course I don't have the ability to compare it back to the first trip and the book of that at the moment but I did thoroughly enjoy reading about this amazing journey. It's an eye opening book that takes you to parts of the world you wouldn't really think too much about and will raise awareness for the work of the likes of UNICEF and Riders for Health. It's a decent read and one I have certainly enjoyed and would have no hesitation in recommending.

              Amazon: £8.99
              Amazon Marketplace: £6.45

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                17.11.2005 17:35
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                Great in theory, disappointing in reality - this book is a let down!

                When we succumbed to the advertising and bought a set top digital television box, we were rather disappointed (an under-statement) to find out exactly what you get for your (one-off) payment of fifty quid. I can safely say that during the first three months the only thing we made a point of watching was "Long Way Round", which had already been screened on Sky One.

                My feelings about the book more or less mirror what I thought about the television series but I bought the book on impulse when I saw it on e-bay without having seen a copy in the shops. Therefore I did not know whether the book accompanied the series (in which case I hoped that it would enhance what I had already seen and add some new details which hadn't been seen on the show) or whether it was merely a verbatim book version of the TV show.

                "Long Way Round" is an account of a motorcycle journey from London to New York, via northern Europe, Russia, Mongolia and (after a quick hop across the Bering Sea by plane) the entire breadth of the United States. This is exactly the kind of story that usually appeals to me; readers here may know that I love to travel and regularly review travel books. But I have long moaned about the fact that there are few travel programmes these days devoted to independent or adventure travellers. Why would some one suddenly commission one now?

                The answer must, surely, be that this expedition was carried pout by Scottish actor Ewan McGregor and his friend and fellow-thespian Charley Boorman. I wonder if two nobodies proposing this trip would have been quite so lucky in landing a book and TV show deal. Admittedly both are eloquent and intellligent young men eager for adventure and with the confidence to meet strangers but soon into the story you begin to question their dedication and commitment to the task in hand.

                The book is written by the two with Robert Uhlig credited as a co-writer and the account is told in three voices. Sadly I found this meant that there was a lot of "insight" into the feelings of the two riders and how they felt about the trip though not much about how they felt about what they had seen and the people they met. A great deal is given over to the pair's complaints about the amount of publicity they are attracting and how tedious it is to have to attend presentations and be greeted on their arrival in a new town by the local big-wigs. It does make you wonder why they took so many signed "Star Wars" photographs....

                It is difficult to review the book without making mention of the television series; the two are inextricably linked for several reasons. Firstly, the filming of a television series usually requires a film crew and this is no exception. Driving a massive motorbike through some of the terrain the lads encounter is no easy task and sometimes, after a fall, two people are needed to right one machine. Basically, a camera man is needed so that the two stars can ride safely. Then a back up team is needed in case of emergencies and to carry the equipment that the riders can't carry, and to transport a doctor and often an interpreter (and, if you're as cynical as me, probably to carry all those things that McGregor and Boorman claimed they didn't have!). It would be perfectly feasible to make the journey by bike, later presenting your experiences in a book, but - for obvious reasons - less likely if making a television show.

                Furthermore, while two Brits on huge motorbikes is likely to raise an eyebrow in some of the more remote parts of the world, it is even more remarkable when a film crew is close behind them. As one would expect this generated a great deal of excitement and could have led to some interesting encounters but the emphasis was always on the trip and getting the miles in and one feels that the book is really about the making of a television programme rather than an account of the wonderful and unusual places and people the two were exposed to.

                There are some great sections on individual parts of the trip. The two are invited to take part in a traditional Mongolian wrestling festival and are terrified one evening when their host comes downstairs with a machine gun in one hand and a guitar in the other, intent on showcasing some Kazhak folk numbers. They meet orphaned children elswehere when representing UNICEF but, while this is an admirable stop-off, there is simply not enough of this type of activity in the book. What they see there humbles them for a short while, it's not long before they are grumbling again, often at the slightest setback and all this with the best support team they could possibly have.

                In it's favour the book is well written and anyone who has not seen the television show will probably find some of it fairly gripping. There is adventure a-plenty in terms of the cycling - falls, injuries, roads that vanish altogether, being carried on lorries across fast-flowing icy rivers where bridges have been washed away. This is clearly why McGregor and Boorman made this trip; the location is irrelevant, they could have cycled 20,000 miles over arduous terrain anywhere in the world. Anyone expecting a fascinating and insightful accounts of the countries taken in on the trip will probably be disappointed; motorcycle enthusiasts will be more lilely to enjoy "Long Way Round". I would liken it (though on a much smaller scale) to the achievements of Ellen MacArthur - travelling the world but seeing so little of it. I do not doubt that the two met some wonderful people whom they will never forget and saw some amazing sights, I just wish they had been more vocal about them in this book. "Long Way Round" is more about the execution of the challenge than joutney itself.

                Quite soon into the book I became irritated by McGregor and Borrman's dejection when things went wrong or their "Boy's Own" bravado when they successfully overcame a challenge. They became the worst kind of toff's - the members of the rugby team you avoid in the pub, swearing like troopers and wanting it all their own way (apologies to rugby-ists). Much as I like Ewan McGregor I do not feel he brought anything special to the book; I am not particularly a fan of these documentaries where celebrities are sent to the jungle to rescue elephants or cast away on desert islands to make shoes out of an old bra (a la Joanna Lumley). I would much rather see an ordinary presenter specialising in travel do the job (of course that's not how things are done these days when every celebrity gets the chance to try their hand at pretty much whatever they like).

                There are some good photographs in the book but it's not enough to make up for the disappointment of the direction taken. Next time, lads, focus a bit less on the old bikes and open your eyes to what's all around you.

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                Published by Time Warner Books
                ISBN 0136728683
                Available from £5.59 in paperback through Amazon

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              • Product Details

                After their fantastic trip round the world in 2004, fellow actors and bike fanatics Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman couldn't shake the travel bug. And after an inspirational UNICEF visit to Africa, they knew they had to go back and experience this extraordinary continent in more depth. And so they set off on their 15,000-mile journey with two new BMWs loaded up for the trip. Joining up with producer/directors Russ Malkin and David Alexanian and the Long Way Round team, their route took them from John O'Groats at the northernmost tip of Scotland to Cape Agulhas on the southernmost tip of South Africa. Riding through spectacular scenery, often in extreme temperatures, Ewan and Charley faced their hardest challenges yet. With their trademark humour and honesty they tell their story ? the drama, the dangers and the sheer exhilaration of riding together again, through a continent filled with magic and wonder.