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A Short Ride in the Jungle: The Ho Chi Minh Trail by Motorcycle cover art

A Short Ride in the Jungle: The Ho Chi Minh Trail by Motorcycle

By: Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent
Narrated by: Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent
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Summary

For the first time in my life I felt that death was a possibility; a stupid, pointless, lonely death on the aptly named Mondulkiri Death Highway.

The Ho Chi Minh Trail is one of the greatest feats of military engineering in history. But since the end of the Vietnam War much of this vast transport network has been reclaimed by jungle, while remaining sections are littered with a deadly legacy of unexploded bombs. For Antonia, the chance to explore the Trail before it was lost forever was a personal challenge she couldn’t ignore - yet at times it would be a terrifying journey.

Setting out from Hanoi on an ageing Honda Cub, she spent two months riding 2000 miles through the mountains and jungles of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. Battling inhospitable terrain and multiple breakdowns, she met former American fighter pilots, tribal chiefs, illegal loggers, and bomb disposal experts.

A thrilling, poignant tale of war, bravery and learning to face your fears.

©2014 Summersdale Publishers LTD (P)2020 Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent

Critic reviews

"I enormously enjoyed every page." (Dervla Murphy)

What listeners say about A Short Ride in the Jungle: The Ho Chi Minh Trail by Motorcycle

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  • 30-10-22

Great Listen

A great book and excellent descriptions of where Antonia went and how she got there.

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Engaging travel adventure

easy to listen to, good story and very interesting facts, will have to listen again as such an interesting journey.

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A well worth book

A thoroughly easy to listen to book. Narrated by the traveler herself. I have this in paperback, but wanted it in audio, so I can listen to at anytime. If you enjoyed this I’d recommend Sam Manicom and Chris Donaldson.

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Enjoyed cover to cover

Loved the book, makes a change to here the other side of the Vietnam War, how it’s still affecting the area today.
As for the Ho Chi Minh Trail well it really was a massively understated, biggest feat of Engineering hats off to the people who worked on it lived it and perished on it.

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A story

Not sure what to say except don’t expect a motorbike adventure that will have you frantically searching for your helmet and flying goggles

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Amazing journey

This wasn’t my usual listen but I got completely absorbed in Antonia’s journey and realised how little I knew about this area of the world and this particular time in history. It was really well read by the author and I was really taken to the jungle mentally dragging Panther out of the mud with her along the way! A really good listen/read and I’ve now ordered another book about the Vietnam war to find out more about it

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very factual

a very interesting read, i learnt a lot of info, i would never of known

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Some insights shocked me

There were chapters which didn’t do much for me but there were some notable moments which will stay with me.
1) Finding out that the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia was part funded from a UK govt
2) The terrifying extent of illegal logging in Laos
3) The Lumphat Episode chapter.
4) The legacy of the Vietnam war even in the 21st century

I had an opportunity to speak with Antonia recently and she is incredibly moved by the things she has seen and in particular the deforestation and the continued destruction. of the unexploded mines

Highly recommend this

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History of Vietnam war and travel in one

If you are keen on travel and history of a not too distant conflict this is the right book for you. Read by our book club we found the writer provided vivid imagery in words of the countryside and people she met on her over her solo 6 week journey on a small motorbike. I've learned so much about three countries and admire Antonias capacity to travel alone, over long distances by embracing fear and trust of strangers as she travels. Just say 'Yes'.

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Our March 2021 bookclub book!!

An extraordinary journey made by the author on her own with just a pink moped and a few essentials to navigate the Ho Chi Minh Trail before it is lost forever to the jungle and the ravages of deforestation and damming.
Antonia vividly brings to life her travels mostly alone, through the remotest of places. She narrates the book beautifully and we travel along the ups and downs of her six week adventure. Daring to go so I don't have to!!
From dingy brothels and indecent propositions, to breathtaking beauty and back through the tragic deforestation currently going on in Laos, we learn the real history of what went on during the Vietnam War , lives lost and the terrible price Vietnam Laos and Cambodia paid and are still paying.
Time restrictions and also language barriers prevented us from really getting under the skin of the people living in these countries but this book has definitely left me wanting to know more! A great read and would definitely recommend!!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 13-07-21

NOT about riding motorcycles at ALL

This book has nothing to do with riding motorcycles through the jungle. It's about how Americ is evil and Communism in N Vietnam awesome.... its crap.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mark R. Ariansen
  • 09-11-22

Better than expected

Being told from a female’s perspective made a change from the usually adventurous travelers takes I have read.

I do have one grip useing me instead of I is my only grammer bazar issue I have. ;-).

Will look for more of her takes

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-02-22

Fantastic book!!

Absolutely loved this book!! Really enjoyed the history of of all the places visited on her adventure, along with the adventure of the bike as well. I really love adventure motorcycle adventures, particularly when it spans multiple countries and thousands of miles! Hope she considers more adventures like this and on a motorcycle again!

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  • Charlie Maguire
  • 11-01-22

over dramatic and whiney

I thought this would be a good read based on Dervla Murphy's recommendation and while the author can create a descriptive picture through her writing the book is very whiney, whingy the whole way through. Having visited this part of Asia myself, I find it hard to believe the wildness of the adventure. The author is very over dramatic. She also tells her story in that common British way of mistaking arrogance for humour sadly. It grates.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 22-09-21

Inspiring Ride Through History

As a traveler and photographer, Southeast Asia holds a special place in my heart. This made the book a particular pleasure to read (hear) but I believe it would be engaging to anyone who loves travel writing and contemporary adventuring. Ms. Bolingbroke-Kent’s goal of riding a small motorcycle the length of the notoriously difficult trail is a good excuse for direct contact with the people of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Fortunately, along with the necessary pluck to reach the end of the journey, given all the challenges you might expect in a jungle - oppressive heat, torrential rain, insects, mud, river crossings by whatever means available, she is a sensitive, empathetic presence. I learned some history, caught up with contemporary politics of the region and laughed often, as the author used wit to navigate the peculiarities of her undertaking. A fun, informative “ride.”

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  • steve
  • 22-03-21

Motorcycle travel and history excellent book!

The author's research of the Ho Chi Minh Trail was a good lesson for me. l enjoyed learning about the history of the trail while being brought through the land on a small motorcycle. Great travel adventure book! Steve from New Mexico (cfr250L)