Leading the Blind: A Century of Guide Book Travel - Alan Sillitoe

See my full review and more on my blog Mystereity Book Reviews

I requested this book from Netgalley because I was intrigued about tourism in the nineteenth and early 20th century. And I wasn't disappointed, this well researched book details several of the popular travel guides of that period and highlights how little the vagaries of travel have changed, and yet how much it changed the world.

After the industrial revolution created an affluent middle and upper class with spending money, tourism to Europe steadily increased in the nineteenth century. Despite filthy lodgings, poor roads, and culture clashes, the popularity of traveling abroad grew, fed largely by the many travel guides published during the 1800s. I thought it was very interesting to see how the influx of tourists and travelers improved many aspects of life in Europe. Early in the 1800s there were few inns, particularly outside of the major cities. Those rest stops that were in business were usually squalid rooming houses with poor sanitation. By the end of the 1800s, the hospitality industry improved by leaps and bounds, no doubt spurred by the bad write-ups in travel guides and the lucrative competition for tourist money.

Leading The Blind is a fascinating look into the history of travel and its social impact all over the world. Great for lovers of history, geography or sociology, it will enlighten readers today as much as the original guidebooks did for the Victorians.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.