• Where the West Ends

  • Stories from the Middle East, the Balkans, the Black Sea, and the Caucasus
  • By: Michael J. Totten
  • Narrated by: Steven Roy Grimsley
  • Length: 8 hrs and 36 mins
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars (127 ratings)

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Where the West Ends  By  cover art

Where the West Ends

By: Michael J. Totten
Narrated by: Steven Roy Grimsley
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Publisher's Summary

Prize-winning author Michael J. Totten returns with a masterpiece of travel writing and history in this journey through 13 nations - all but two formerly communist - just beyond the edge of the West where few casual travelers venture.

His work as an independent foreign correspondent takes him deep into the field beyond the sensational headlines, from his hilariously miserable road trip with his best friend to Iraq to the Wild West of Albania, the most bizarre country in Europe; from the killing fields in Bosnia and Kosovo to a Romania haunted by the ghosts of its communist past; from the front lines in the Caucasus during Russia's invasion of Georgia to the otherworldly post-Soviet disasterscape in Ukraine. Where the West Ends is high-octane adventure writing at its finest and is Michael J. Totten's most entertaining work written to date.

©2012 Michael J. Totten (P)2013 Michael Totten
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about Where the West Ends

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Not a right wing fanatic

I just have to comment on one of the earlier reviews which state that Totten is a right wing fanatic, it almost put me off from reading this book. This is far from true, sure he is pro-Israeli and has an American perspective but he could very well be a Democrat. There is nothing fanatical or even extreme about his views.

13 people found this helpful

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Independent?

He's a right wing fanatic. Had I known that, I wouldn't have bought this book.

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Like being there

Totten's retelling of his journeys through the Mideast, the Balkans, and former Soviet republics is very entertaining and informative, always against the backdrop of recent history and the people who live there.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Loved this book

If you could sum up Where the West Ends in three words, what would they be?

Riveting Travel Essay

What did you like best about this story?

Was looking for more information about the Balkans and this was not only informative, but very entertaining and would call it a page turner except I listened to it. Would definitely listen or read to other books by him just because I liked the author and his style of delivery. If you have any interest in this area of the world, this would be a good read/listen.

Any additional comments?

Solid book. Wish he had more about this area and I could find more like this.

3 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Tedious

The author displays a peculiar lack of depth or complex analysis. He appears to view the entire region through a one-dimensional analysis of whether countries are more "west" (good) or "east" (bad). Countries are rated on whether they are pro-American (or for a Muslim country, pro-Israel). There isn't much to learn in this book.

2 people found this helpful

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Interesting travels

A very interesting book about parts of the world you don't really hear much about. Partly travelbook, but mostly about the places itself. Highly recommended

2 people found this helpful

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Uninteresting

Would you try another book from Michael J. Totten and/or Steven Roy Grimsley?

No

Has Where the West Ends turned you off from other books in this genre?

I love travel books and will continue to read them, but this was awful.

Any additional comments?

Almost the entire section on the Ukraine describes how they couldn't read menus at restaurants. I couldn't read menus in the Ukraine either, but I'm not an award winning journalist and travel writer. Even if that is what happened, why write about it? Over all, there was too much "the east is weird and strange and has concrete buildings" and not nearly enough real insight into the people of the areas they visited. Disappointing.

2 people found this helpful

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Good for Political insight at the local level.

Good for political insight at the local level in the countries the author visits. Medium story quality, but it's more because nothing that crazy happened to the author. What he does experience, he tells about in solid form. Good for political science nerds or intelligence about regional issues. The book won't age well, as it is mostly about current issues, and will be less relevant 10 years from now to anyone not looking to read history.

1 person found this helpful

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Hard to stomach the authors naked contempt for Arabs and the Arab world

Unfortunately, the book is sullied by the authors naked contempt for the Arab world. Muslims in this book are often described with tired and plain old racist stereotypes, and painted as bloodthirsty is devious. The writing tone the author uses to talk about the Muslim world is hard to stomach. What a shame.

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    2 out of 5 stars

Curiosity

this book is some sort of curiosity. I downloaded it intrigued by the subject without thoroughly researching before buying and I found myself listening to the authors extensive complains about problems of English speaking adventurists ordering at restaurants in remote places, descriptions of the local macdonald's and the quality of their offering in different locations, lists of junk food consumed en route to the next challenging and always dangerous location to be visited, dialogues with locals while trying to appear local or over stressing descenting from the US, depending on the case, seemingly always in a hurry for one reason or another. interesting as an account of how an American from Oregon perceives these parts of the world but with very little other information of interest it offers little else to the reader resembling one of the discrepid Ukrainian landscapes it describes.

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  • olly_s
  • 05-18-15

An average story, with awful narration

I was hoping for some informative, descriptive, possibly even insightful stories about the countries Mr Totten travelled through. Unfortunately, the book seems to be more of a "we did this, then this, then went here" without ever really giving you a feel for the places visited - he certainly doesn't paint a vivid picture of anywhere he visits. Perhaps it feels like it was written by a journalist rather than a travel writer - the narrative doesn't really flow, even within a chapter. It's more like collected snippets.

While the story wasn't great, the narration is awful. Mr Grimsley sounds like he has a terrible cold and stresses odd syllables. His intonation is all over the place. It's a real effort to listen to him, which is the kiss of death for an audio book! If you like the sound of this, I'd probably track down a written copy.

2 people found this helpful