Monday, December 05, 2011

In the Footsteps of Dracula by Steven P. Unger

While reading In the Footsteps of Dracula, it felt as if author Steven P. Unger was sitting in the same room, speaking to me with great enthusiasm of his journey through England and Romania. However, as in most cases when someone describes their favourite trip, there are times when they tend to go on a tangent here and there, repeat themselves a little, and maybe show one too many photographs. Such is the case in this book, but for me, that's what makes it much more personal and all the more interesting.

More than just a travel guide, Footsteps is indeed a personal journey, following the author as he tracks down sites relating to both the fictional Count Dracula and the very real Vlad Dracula. From the shores of Whitby to the mountains of Poenari, we get a real feel for the people and places along the way, and although Unger's journey at times may have been rough-going, we get a sense that it was a trip worth taking.

He also delves into the history behind the major places and players, devoting sections to author Bram Stoker, his classic novel, and the infamous Vlad the Impaler. Such a guide would not be complete without offering the nuts and bolts for making the actual journey -- so Unger includes a practical guide to following the Dracula trail, with itineraries, hotel and restaurant suggestions, and travel do's and don'ts.

Unfortunately, the guide is almost too conversational at times, and could have been streamlined by adding footnotes; I found it somewhat distracting having wordy parenthetical notes interspersed with the main passages. And although events and locations are richly described, the related photographs are printed in black and white, and much of the detail is lost. The images themselves are still a valuable addition, but one wonders how much more striking they would have been had they been printed in colour and at a higher resolution.

Minor issues aside, Footsteps is a fun read, and will be of value to those who are planning a trip to the land beyond the forest. Even still, it works on its own as a story of one man's journey as he follows the events and history behind a novel that has obviously made a great impact on his life. In his introduction, Unger states that he wrote the book "to entertain, to inform, perhaps even to inspire," and I believe he has succeeded on all counts.

4 out of 5

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: World Audience, Inc.; 2 edition (January 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935444530
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935444534

  • Purchase In the Footsteps of Dracula: A Personal Journey and Travel Guide from

    Monday, December 05, 2011