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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 li

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’t.

I didn't read a single book by Kipling before. A friend of mine inherited a whole leather-bound, gold ornamented library through an old-school relative of his. I was intrigued by the look and feel of these books that I borrowed seven titles. 'Letters of Travel' has plenty of enjoyable insights into

This is mainly of interest if you're a fiend for travel writing or have some odd interest in world travel in the late 1800s. Personally, the most interesting chapter was "Our Overseas Men", an excellent sketch of a breed of Far East merchants, who serve as a sort of missing link between colonialists