Finalist, 2021 Next Generation Indie Book Awards: Travel and Regional Non-Fiction categories.
The journey continues in Part 2 of Into the Carpathians: an engaging and informative chronicle of a 2005 hiking and wildlife research expedition along the Carpathian and Sudety Mountains, from Romania to Germany, some 800 miles as the crow flies. Still on the trail of wolves, we now explore the enchanting mountain landscapes of Slovakia, Poland, and the Czech Republic, where encounters with wolves, bears, and lynx; lumberjacks, shepherds, and outlaws; poets, tyrants, and saints; nomads, nobles, and knights; sprites, spirits, and witches--and such ancient peoples as Neanderthals, Celts, and Quadi, and such imposing historical figures as Marcus Aurelius of the Roman Empire, Svatopluk I of Great Moravia, Stephen I of the Kingdom of Hungary, Boleslaw the Brave of the Kingdom of Poland, and Jan Sobieski of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth--provide broad insight into the natural, historical, and mythological forces that have shaped, and continue to shape, the nations, cultures, and psyches along the way. 72 illuminating color photographs also emblaze this memorable trek (this is the Deluxe Color Edition; we also offer an edition with the photos in black & white at a lower price; see ISBN 978-0578754475).
About the Author
Alan E. Sparks is the award-winning author of Dreaming of Wolves and Into the Carpathians, and has written articles about wolves for International Wolf Magazine and other publications. He has a BS degree in engineering physics from the University of Maine and an MS degree in computer engineering from Stanford University, and worked for over twenty years developing advanced technologies in the telecommunications industry. A voracious reader and student of the natural and cultural histories of the places he visits, he has supplemented his indoor studies with training in mountaineering, expedition leadership, and winter ecology/animal tracking from the Colorado Mountain Club, the National Outdoor Leadership School, and renowned animal tracker Dr. James Halfpenny. As a teacher of english, commercial actor, and web designer - and as an avid hiker, backcountry skier, and animal tracker - he has lived, worked, and trekked extensively in the Carpathian Mountain region of Central and Eastern Europe.
"... the star of the book is always the setting. It describes grand mountainsides, picturesque towns, crumbling ruins, and ever-changing weather in reverent prose. Throughout, it weaves in extensive, enthusiastic discussions of each region's history and culture, both ancient and modern.... Into the Carpathians depicts a journey so breathtaking that it will make even those who dislike the outdoors want to pack a bag and see Sparks's marvels for themselves." ―Foreword Clarion Reviews
"Sparks offers complex observations of Carpathian life, past and present, and skillfully captures camp life.... His details of nature often take readers there: One feels the rain pounding the tent, the fairytale-evoking mood of an ancient forest. The writing is a pleasure to read, even the packed, long sentences dense with historical or ethnographic information.... those who love trekking, outdoor adventure narratives, and Central European history, will enjoy learning about this little-covered geography in travel and nature literature." ―BlueInk Review
"... readers will appreciate the thoroughness of Sparks's research, and the way he tells the story of the trip will keep them turning the pages." ―BookLife Reviews