Tony Perrottet has written a travel book about tourists, but these tourists had never been seen by the world. Route 66 A.D. is not just a travel book, but a history book, for its real characters are tourists of ancient Rome, who began an industry which has become one of the greatest money-making industries in the known world, and in many cases is what towns and cities depend on for survival.
Perrottet became interested in the subject of ancient tourism when he discovered the oldest guidebook in the New York Public Library, and from there charted a detailed history of where ancient Roman tourists went on vacation, and why the went to places like Egypt, Greece, the end of the Nile and the supposed location of the ancient city of Troy. The result is a book that is both like and unlike any other travel guidebook every written; safe to say that if anyone has an interest in traveling and an interest in reading, this is the book for you.
The author’s only true failing is in not fully appreciating what he has uncovered. He addresses these gems of history in a very cavalier way, sub-heading everything with annoying titles like: “Island Hopping the Aegean,” “Traffic Jam on the Sacred Way,” and “VIP Seeks Crocodile God.” Nevertheless, the book is filled with many photographs and details like the infamous directions to the brothel in Pompeii – cared penises on the walls – as well as a detailed index that can help navigate anyone on a most unique vacation into the ancient world.
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Originally published on October 7th, 2002.
Originally published in the Long Beach Union.