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Travels with a Tangerine

Ibn Battutah set out in 1325 from his native Tangier on the pilgrimage to Mecca. By the time he returned twenty-nine years later, he had visited most of the known world, travelling three times the distance Marco Polo covered. Spiritual backpacker, social climber, temporary hermit and failed ambassador, he braved brigands, blisters and his own prejudices. The outcome was a monumental travel classic.

Captivated by this indefatigable man, award-winning travel writer Tim Mackintosh-Smith set out on his own eventful journey, retracing the Moroccan's eccentric trip from Tangier to Constantinople. Tim proves himself a perfect companion to this distant traveller, and the result is an amazing blend of personalities, history and contemporary observation


The Thomas Cook/Daily Telegraph Travel Book Award is not handed out lightly, and is almost invariably given to travel writing of a rare order. Tim Mackintosh-Smith is a very worthy recipient, and Travels with a Tangerine will no doubt inspire (as did his earlier Yemen) comparisons to the giants of writing about the Arabic world, from Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom to Wilfred Thesiger.

'Battutah couldn't enjoy a better champion . . . This is a considerable book, mind-broadening, not only in the way that it revives the history of a remarkable traveller, but also for its representation of modern Islam as tolerant, hospitable, humorous and cultured' (The Times)


'Sometimes, as [Mackintosh-Smith] travels from Cairo to the Crimea, across deserts, into assassins' strongholds, it seems that Ibn Battutah is just a swish of a robe ahead' (Independent)

'A fluent Arabist who has lived in Yemen for the best part of two decades, Mackintosh-Smith is an accomplished etymologist who delights in his field of research and shares Ibn Battutah's roving intellectual curiosity, if not his boundless sexual appetite . . . Travels with a Tangerine has all the makings of a classic' (The Spectator)

'Mackintosh-Smith is an intrepid and determined traveller, with an uncanny instinct for right turnings and the necessary conviction to pursue them . . . Mixing archaic language . . . with a twenty-first-century sensibility, fogeyism with an appetite for fun, food and a good smoke, he slips effortlessly between our world and that of the fourteenth century. In so doing, he has created a gripping and accomplished travel book' (Sunday Times)

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