Book Review: “Five Weeks One Summer” by Martin E. Block

categories: europe travel

A rustic cabin sits by a lake with the high elevation of the Swiss Alps looming behind itIf you are curious about what it would be like to spend a summer in the Swiss Alps as a solo hiker, then “Five Weeks One Summer” by Martin E. Block might fit the bill.

Before discussing this book further, there are a few pieces of housekeeping that are important to understand.  Five Weeks One Summer is not a guidebook for hiking the Swiss Alps, even though that was Martin E. Block’s original intention.   Knowing that it wasn’t a guidebook, I incorrectly assumed that I would be reading a memoir of travel.  Block does share his thoughts with the reader yet it doesn’t have the feel of a memoir, so labeling it a diary, record or collection of notes is more appropriate.  Once I understood the book’s genre, I could more easily put aside my critical eye for writing style and deep introspection and enjoy Block’s journey.

Block stays true to his natural voice throughout the book so being privy to UK slang and terminology is helpful.

Would it be beneficial to read this book prior to a hiking trip to the Swiss Alps?  Possibly.  The book illustrates the ups and downs of hiking in this region with an emphasis at times of what not to do.  At one point, Block realizes his 30 year old guidebook would have been harmful in his trip planning after someone allows him to peruse a newer version.

Even though a great deal of the book focuses on hiking, I found myself more intrigued in the hiking culture of lodging, wrestling with what gear to take and what to leave behind and Block’s numerous challenges and triumphs with laundry, food, and social encounters.

In addition to a diary of his hiking journey, Block also includes over thirty-five photographs he took during his five week adventure.  Each photograph has a description yet it would have been more helpful to reference each photograph as it is mentioned in the book (see image 2.5, etc.).  The inclusion of more detailed maps would have also been helpful to fully understand Block’s travels and the distances among his various hikes.  I understand that this is not meant to be a hiking guide yet simple hand drawn maps that provide an overview of each section of his journey would have given me a better sense of place and relationship among his hikes.  There is a “map of where I went” at the beginning of the book yet it is small and the type is challenging to read.

If you are a hiker, have hiked the Swiss Alps, are planning to hike the Swiss Alps or are curious about the life of solo hiker, then you might find some value in reading Five Weeks, One Summer.

Disclaimer: A free copy of this book was given to the volunteer with an expectation that an honest review would be written for it.

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by Kelsey Pyle

Kelsey Pyle loves to travel to places that garners the response: “Why would you want to go there?” Avoiding tourists is her favorite game. When she’s not visiting her native Oklahoma, Kelsey is feverishly planning her next world adventures from her home in LA.

One Response to “Book Review: “Five Weeks One Summer” by Martin E. Block”

VijayShankarPal

Says:

Hi this is a very well article because the article is very use information of travel of Europe and before discussion 
further book read and the Each photograph has a description yet it would have been more helpful to reference each photograph as it is mentioned in the book

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