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Letters of Travel

Rudyard Kipling

Book Overview: 

Three books of travel writing covering the USA, Canada, Japan and Egypt. Rudyard Kipling (an Englishman born and raised in India) offers an interesting outsider's view of the places he visits, candid and sharp witted, yet with a deep humanity.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . . payable in cash on a three, or as some say a five, yearly settlement. But, according to certain officials, there has been no settlement since 1875. Land lying fallow for a season pays the same tax as land in cultivation, unless it is unproductive through flood or calamity (read earthquake here). The Government tax is calculated on the capital value of the land, taking a measure of about 11,000 square feet or a quarter of an acre as the unit.

Now, one of the ways of getting at the capital value of the land is to see what the railways have paid for it. The very best rice land, taking the Japanese dollar at three shillings, is about £65:10s per acre. Unirrigated land for vegetable growing is something over £9:12s., and forest £2:11s. As these are railway rates, they may be fairly held to cover large areas. In private sales the prices may reasonably be higher.

It is to be remembered that some of the very best rice land will bear two crops . . . Read More

Community Reviews

From this book, I have learned that there are two Rudyard Kiplings, and the fault line runs right through the middle of Letters of Travel, 1892-1913. The first 60% of the book is about his travels to the United States, Canada, and Japan. In those places, he seems to be bored and restless, writing...more

I’ve read a little bit of Kipling, and so I have much the same view of him as most people who have read only a little bit of Kipling, so this book was a real eye opener. He isn’t an archetype. I’ve always thought that Kipling’s British boosterism was basically pro-English, but here we find it isn...more

I will read any travelogue, but this is one of my favourites. A beautiful read, ironic, very much a product of its time and the education of its author; tells you more about the people traveling than the places visited (and I think that was the intent). As the book is a collection of newspaper ar...more