The guru of extreme tourism sets out to face his worst fears in Africa, India, Mexico City, and—most terrifying of all—at Disney World
In the widely-acclaimed Smile When You’re Lying, Chuck Thompson laid bare the travel industry’s dirtiest secrets. Now he’s out to discover if some of the world’s most ill-reputed destinations live up to their bad raps, while confronting a few of his own travel anxieties in the process. Whether he’s traveling across the Congo with a former bodyguard from notorious dictator Joseph Mobutu’s retinue or diving into the heart of India’s monsoon season, To Hellholes and Back delivers Thompson’s trademark combination of hilarious stories and wildly provocative opinions, as well as some surprising observations about America’s evolving place in the world.
Trouble starts as soon as I clear customs and meet Henri in the parking lot of Kinshasa's N'Djili International Airport. Henri introduces himself, shakes my weary hand with his damp one, pulls the cigarette from the side of his mouth, exhales like the last survivor at Dien Bien Phu, and says, "There are a few problems we need to discuss."
Five minutes in country and already things are going to hell. Actually, things have been hell here for some time. It's just me who's new to the game.
The problems concern the itinerary Henri and I have spent the past month hammering
Praise for To Hellholes and Back
"Riveting, hilarious, and wildly entertaining." --Booklist
"His observations are sharp and honest. A witty, provocative tale that … packs in plenty of local flavor and amusing anecdotes.--Kirkus
"[From] the original rogue travel writer…. Well-written, funny, and fast-paced.… It's refreshing to read a travel writer who eschews all the ‘sun-dappled vista’-style prose and tells it like it is."--Jaunted.com
"Filled with hilarious stories, wildly provocative opinions and unvarnished observations about world travel, To Hellholes and Back proves Thompson is not only a sharp, gritty writer but a fearless man of travel."--Zink Magazine
"Extremely irreverent."--Outside Magazine
"[A] tour de force à la Eat, Pray, Love, only with snarky commentary and well, not a hint of spirituality…"--Brave New Traveler
"[A] humorous send-up to these four … fascinating destinations…. It’s dirty, scandalous, and it’ll give you a completely fresh perspective on travel, travel writing, and the travel industry."--The Lost Girls
"[Thompson’s] incisive observations and biting sense of humor make for some riveting reading."--The Denver Post