Life at Full Tilt

Dervla Murphy, Ethel Crowley


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Eland Publishing Ltd
2 November 2023
ISBN: 9781780602110
256 pages

From the publisher

Life at Full Tilt is a whirlwind tour of Dervla Murphy's travels. It begins in Spain in 1956, before her first book, and follows in her tracks for over fifty years, including descriptions of her beloved Afghanistan in 1963, of the Peruvian Andes, of South, West and East Africa and most recently of the troubled territories of Palestine and Israel.

Dervla's style of travel, to go somewhere that interested her and see who she met, made for fresh encounters every day, recorded faithfully each evening in her journal. She read hungrily to prepare for her journeys and folded her learning seamlessly into her books. Finally, between these covers, we are able to catch up with her work in its entirety. What shines through is her passionate engagement with the world and its injustices, and her utter independence of mind.

Ethel Crowley, an Irish sociologist, has for the first time looked at all Dervla's writing her journalism and her twenty-four books selecting half-a-dozen extracts from each. She introduces us to a complex character, hard to pin down, but a role model for women and environmentalists, Irish to her fingertips and a crucial part of the larger English tradition of travel writing. With a preface by Colin Thubron