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Turn Left At The Trojan Horse: A Would-Be…

Turn Left At The Trojan Horse: A Would-Be Hero's American Odyssey (2010)

by Brad Herzog

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About 4 chapters in: The description is spot on, so, ironically, I'm having trouble empathizing and and appreciating. I've never fretted about aspirations or expectations and I'm not a fan of Greek mythology. I did hope for more travelogue, less philosophy.

I'm also troubled by odd things: for example at one point Herzog feels bound by duty to be a good role model to his son and at the next point he almost kills himself on a primitive mountain road just in order to visit a hamlet called Troy. What, he thinks he can be a dead role model?

But much of it is beautifully written and much is engaging so I will continue.

ok done

I believe that a reader's appreciation of books like this depend upon the connection the reader feels with the writer. While flipping these pages I felt much as I do when reading Bill Bryson. I don't like either of those men, I don't empathize with them, I'm not interested in enough of the same things that they are, and their writing wasn't spectacular enough to transcend those challenges.

In particular, Herzog annoyed me in that the premise of the book was to explore the meaning of heroism, and yet he actually does know what it means to him all along. All throughout the book he speaks of 'hero to one's children' and 'heroic acts in the course of everyday duties' and 'well-lived lives are those that are spent doing honest work from which one derives blessed satisfaction.' (I paraphrase, of course.) And at the end, when he rejoins his family, well, I'm sure you can guess how that made him feel.

I wouldn't mind reading a collection of his short pieces - he does have a way with words. But really, imo, in this he seems to be not much more than a blogger.

( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
Using The Odyssey and The Iliad as travel guides Brad Herzog travels the U. S. stopping in small towns between his home and his alma mater using the 30 days given to him by his wife to solve his mid-life crisis. This was an interesting travel story. He hits a lot of small towns with classic names to determine what he has accomplished and what has brought him satisfaction. He does come to an answer. I liked how he compared his life to Odysseus' life. It helps to have read The Odyssey for the frames of reference. I liked the people he met and the stories he told of them. An neat way to get through a mid-life crisis. ( )
  Sheila1957 | May 29, 2016 |
interesting journey through middle america. Reminds me of a kinder Paul Theroux. ( )
  jerry-book | Jan 26, 2016 |
This is a travel memoir, but an unusual one. Initially, Herzog receives a class reunion notice for his alma mater, Cornell, and begins to go into a bit of a mid-life crisis because he feels that he has not achieved the level of excellence in his life that his classmates will have. No doubt after discussing and arguing it ad naseum, his wife suggests that he take a 30-day tour of the United States, and meet her in Ithaca for the reunion -- in the meantime, in her words he'd "better have figured it out." He decides to take Odysseus with him as his ride along and visit sites in the U. S. which have a connection to the Iliad, the Odyssey, or Greek mythology.

I enjoyed Herzog's choices to visit and the reminders of how excellent the Iliad and the Odyssey were, but enjoyed much more the people he met along the way. He clearly has an engaging interview style because he got lots of information from his subjects. Most of them were really interesting, two were fascinating.

This was a very interesting, readable, and appealing travel book. ( )
  whymaggiemay | Jan 21, 2011 |
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Mount Olympus has vanished, so I order another beer.
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A modern-day Odysseus, Herzog plunges into a solo cross-country search for insight. With middle age bearing down on him, he takes stock: How has he measured up to his own youthful aspirations? In contemporary America, what is a life well lived? What is a heroic life?… (more)

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