Short Walks from Bogotá: Journeys in the New Colombia
By Tom Feiling
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Penguin UK (August 1, 2013)
For decades, Colombia was the "narcostate." Now it's seen as one of the rising stars of the global economy. Where does the truth lie? How did a land likened to paradise by the first conquistadores become a byword for hell on earth? And how is it rebuilding itself after decades of violence? Writer and journalist Tom Feiling has journeyed throughout Colombia, down roads that were until recently too dangerous to travel, talking to people from former guerrilla fighters to nomadic tribesmen and millionaires. Vital, shocking, wry, and never simplistic, Short Walks from Bogota unpicks the tangled fabric of Colombia to create a stunning work of reportage, history and travel writing.
About the author:
Tom Feiling spent a year living and working in Colombia before making Resistencia: Hip-Hop in Colombia, which won numerous awards at film festivals around the world, and was broadcast in four countries. In 2003 he became campaigns director for the TUC's Justice for Colombia campaign. His first book was The Candy Machine: How Cocaine Took Over the World.
"Creates a portrait of Colombia that is perceptive, unsensational, and full of humanity. . . Feiling is a brilliant reporter, lucid, unflinching, morally engaged, and with an occasional deadpan sense of humour. . . one of the most consistently intelligent and compelling books to have appeared on any South American country in recent years."
"Tom Feiling takes us on an enlightening journey through a changing country that few understand."
—Rachel Aspden, Observer
"A deeply political account of one man's journey to the violent heart of modern, rural, Colombia. . . a must read."
"The best British travel writers like Norman Lewis or Bruce Chatwin give the reader more than simple travelers’ tales. Feiling is of their company. . . a brilliant, penetrating and highly readable account."
"Some of the best insights in the book come from the people Feiling meets, and memorably portrays. . . a well-written, thoughtful book."
—Times Literary Supplement
Amazon Reader Reviews
The best contemporary book about Colombia
…Feiling knows his stuff. You may not agree with the politics but as you will soon gather this is no average book on Colombia, cutting away at general travel chaff—and there's a lot out there—Feiling explores the politics through personal interviews, in depth research and what can only be described as a profound understanding of Colombia and a love of its people.
Very interesting and informative book that is easy to read and provides very good information about the recent history of Colombia and the current culture and flavor of Bogota and other unique areas around the country. I read it in preparation for my first trip to Colombia and felt very much up to speed on the culture and recent history of Colombia. Highly recommend.
Buy this and you won’t look back
If there's only one book you will read about Colombia, make sure this is it. It's an excellent read. I have never been to Colombia but I'm very interested in the culture and this book throws the windows wide open. The narrative follows the time-tested format of the travelogue and the author always maintains the delicate balance between personal story (the writer's inner journey) and the reality of the landscape and its people.
It's a personal, heartfelt and very astute observation of Colombia and its people.