Mike Robbins is a journalist turned development worker. This book consists of nine essays covering his experiences in diverse places he has lived in or visited over nearly thirty years--Sudan, Ecuador, Bhutan, Syria, Turkestan, Kyrgystan, and New York. Although there are nine chapters, there aren't nine countries. Some countries get more than one chapter. I doubt that the book is intended to be a definitive description of the place and time (is such a thing possible?). It is simply his personal experiences, but there lies the strength of the book. As a writer, he has a keen eye for detail. The places he has visited are by now almost certainly changed beyond recognition, and I am thankful for the opportunity to see these places through his eyes.