Book Review: The Hippie Trail

Book: The Hippie Trail

Authors: Sharif Gemie and Brian Ireland

Pages: 246

Publisher: Aleph Book Company

Genre: Non-fiction

Rating: 3

Get it on: Amazon

 

80 travellers. One unlike the other. Unique personalities, the majority adorned with peculiar looks-long hair, colourful clothes, ragged appearance. Some pulled by the magnanimity of the East’s spirituality. Some on a hunt for the cheapest and most effective drugs. While some were on a quest to find love on the road, others had a deeper purpose – to find meaning in life. While some were on a quest to satisfy their hunger for travel, others had no reason at all. Some took the coach, while others simply hitchhiked. But, they all had one thing in common – the Hippie Trail.

He learned incessantly from the river. Above all, it taught him how to listen, to listen with a silent heart, with a waiting, open soul, without passion, without desire, without judgement, without opinion.

The Hippie Trail by Sharif Gemie and Brian Ireland put forths a never-before detailed history of the Hippie Trail. With insights from 80 travellers that traversed the path during the 1960s and 1970s, the duo dwells deep into the joys, fears and hardships the travellers encountered in their travels to the East. The book is divided into five sections, each discussing aspects that drove the travellers to the hippie trail, like drugs, love and sex, tourism, pilgrimage and the last section is a look into how hippies have been portrayed in novels, films and autobiographies.

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The book began like a good smoke – delusional and promising- only to disperse off like one. The authors had a different approach to narrating the history of the Hippie trail. Instead of talking about each traveller’s experience as a different story, they clubbed together similar experiences of each person under specific sections, which I feel was a brilliant way to pen the book. The introduction had everything to draw a reader to it. Well compiled facts, rightly timed anecdotes, catchy quotations, and most importantly, a looming curiosity about the Hippie Trail. But unfortunately, from the second section on, the spell wore off and I found it very hard to move from page to page.

The Hippie Trail by Sharif Gemie and Brian Ireland is an enlightening read for travel enthusiasts and those who have an inkling towards historical accounts of travel. It clears several myths that have been circulated regarding hippies and the Hippie Trail.

 

PS: I received a copy of the book from the publishers in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

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