The Adventurist: A Life in Dangerous Places

Robert Young Pelton, Author Doubleday Books $24.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-385-49567-7
In this jumble of exploration tales, Pelton (The World's Most Dangerous Places) combines biographical anecdotes, travel log entries, personal musings and philosophical realizations. Tests of survival begin early on when his parents enroll him in the ""toughest boys school in North America,"" where he partakes in grueling excursions in the wilderness of Alberta, Canada. Painful but crucial childhood memories are often interlaced with accounts of his defiant journeys to the world's most dangerous places. One wonders why he seeks out outrageous peril, such as walking through minefields in Afghanistan, dancing with headhunters in Sarawak, communing with pirates on the Sulu Sea or simply visiting Algeria. He counts among his global acquaintances Robin Hood-like ruffians, freedom fighters and terrorists, including Taliban members in Afghanistan and hit men in the Philippines. His thirst for adventure appears insatiable. But behind Pelton's wild exploits lies something deeper--the search for meaning in life: ""I am happy running, at high speed, through danger, past even the most remote and unseen places. There is something here that is deeper than religion, a timeless window to what makes life worth living."" Pelton's self-assurance can be supercilious, but the denouement of each episode brings personal reflections imbued with humility. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/29/2000
Release date: 06/01/2000
Paperback - 268 pages - 978-0-7679-0576-3
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