Every Friday, Marilyn Knapp Litt, who blogs at ClassicKindle.com, brings us her recommendation of a free classic book to discover (or rediscover) on Kindle. Find more of Marilyn’s recommendations at her blog, ClassicKindle.com, a guide to the best free and inexpensive classic literature for the Kindle. You can also get Marilyn’s blog on Kindle and I recommend that you “Like” the Classic Kindle Facebook page as well so you don’t miss anything. Here’s Marilyn’s post:
Twenty Years Of Balkan Tangle, a travel memoir published by Edith Durham in 1920.
Edith Durham is well known for her travel writing, all of it set in the Balkans. She is not without controversy, because she took sides, but in her preface she seems to acknowledge that she does not tell the whole story.
MINE is but a tale of small straws; but of small straws carefully collected. And small straws show whence the wind blows. There are currents and cross currents which may make a whirlwind.
The book has a very promising beginning.
It was in Cetinje in August, 1900, that I first picked up a thread of the Balkan tangle, little thinking how deeply enmeshed I should later become, and still less how this tangle would ultimately affect the whole world. Chance, or the Fates, took me Near Eastward.
Completely exhausted by constant attendance on an invalid relative, the future stretched before me as endless years of grey monotony, and escape seemed hopeless. The doctor who insisted upon my having two months’ holiday every year was kinder than he knew. “Take them in quite a new place,” he said. “Get right away no matter where, so long as the change is complete.”
Along with a friend I boarded an Austrian Lloyd steamer at Trieste, and with high hopes but weakened health, started for the ports of the Eastern Adriatic.
Here is a little bit of truth about diplomacy:
But in truth if people really want to get something out of you they do not care what you look like. Nor will any costume in the world assist you if you have nothing to say.
The great travel writers of old were writing about places that most people would never go, because travel was difficult, expensive and hazardous and it took a special person to be a traveler. When we read their books, we read about trips we can never take, because that world is gone and today we can only be tourists.