A Week at the Airport: A Heathrow Diary by Alain de Botton

By Alain de Botton

From the bestselling writer of The artwork of Travel comes a wittily exciting exploration of the unusual "non-place" that he believes is the ingenious heart of our civilization.

Given remarkable entry to at least one of the world's busiest airports as a "writer-in-residence," Alain de Botton discovered it to be a exhibit for plenty of of the key crosscurrents of the fashionable world--from our religion in know-how to our destruction of nature, from our worldwide interconnectedness to our romanticizing of the unique. He met tourists from everywhere and spoke with every person from luggage handlers to pilots to the airport chaplain. Weaving jointly those conversations and his personal observations--of every little thing from the poetry of room provider menus to the eerie silence in the midst of the runway at midnight--de Botton has produced a rare meditation on a spot that almost all folks by no means decelerate sufficient to work out sincerely. Lavishly illustrated in colour by way of popular photographer Richard Baker, A Week on the Airport finds the airport in all its turbulence and soullessness and--yes--even beauty.

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Extra resources for A Week at the Airport: A Heathrow Diary

Sample text

In 1850 he received an o√er from a small parish in the California mountains, where the gold rush had Sources of Pride and Strength : 29 created a frenzy of migration. ∞≠ Cornelia Harriman must have blanched at the news. Her strong sense of family and social pride were firmly rooted in the East. That was where she and her children counted for something, where she hoped to see them prosper. In the West they would be one more batch of nobodies, and poor ones at that. If one had to be poor, better to be among family and friends who knew your social worth.

Kennan showed no resentment but remained as deferential as ever. ’’∏π On February 28, 1922, Kennan read the last proof and signed o√ on the work Prologue : 21 that had occupied eight years of his life. ’’ In reply Mary poured out her gratitude ‘‘for satisfying my hopes & desires. You have been so faithful & loyal to Mr. ∏∫ Kennan needed all the help he could get. The book earned critical success despite the inevitable charge that he was biased in Harriman’s favor, but it sold only about twenty-seven hundred copies the first year.

The same held true for Harriman’s much publicized break with his longtime 20 : Prologue friend Stuyvesant Fish, which had aroused almost as much bitterness and censure as the clash with Roosevelt. Friends advised leaving an ugly pot unstirred, but Kennan disagreed. ∏≥ In August 1920 Kennan finally surrendered his New York apartment and moved back to Medina with all his material. His pace of writing had picked up during the past year despite severe attacks of diarrhea that left him weak and dispirited.

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