Title:  The Lunatic Express: Discovering the World Via Its Most Dangerous Buses, Boats, Trains, and Planes
Author:  Carl Hoffman
Release date:  March 16, 2010
Publisher:  Broadway
Pages:  304
Genre:  Nonfiction, World Issues, Travel, Memoir
Source:  Publisher

Carl Hoffman set out on a journey to travel on the world’s most life-threatening and dangerous modes of transportation in order to expose the reality of millions of people worldwide for whom travel is a daily struggle, so different from those of us who get to sit back, relax, and enjoy the experience of traveling.  Part journalistic expose and part memoir, Hoffman’s fascinating look at how the majority of the world lives will make anyone thankful for the comforts we enjoy on a daily basis.

I really got into this book.  It is exactly the type of nonfiction that I love – the kind that enables me to learn something while also having that personal touch that keeps me connected to what’s written in its pages.  I liked Carl Hoffman right away, although it was clear that this journey was his way of escaping some of his issues at home, he went into it with a hopeful heart and really good intentions.  He risked his life many times over in order to experience what millions of people have no choice but to experience every day of their lives.

Learning about how dangerous so many different types of transportation are was astounding.  There are some airlines that have obscene rates of fatal crashes, ferries that sink a couple of times a year, and trains that derail with startling frequency.  Hoffman experienced all of these.  Obviously, he lived to tell the tale, but it was so interesting to learn about the risks people are forced to take just to live a regular life – to get to work, school, or to visit family.

I don’t have much else to say about The Lunatic Express other than the fact that I highly recommend it.  If you like interesting nonfiction with a memoir feel, this is the book for you.