Steven P. Unger,
In the Footsteps of Dracula:
A Personal Journey & Travel Guide

(World Audience, 2010)

In the Footsteps of Dracula gives readers exactly what the title promises. Steven P. Unger provides, in exhaustive detail, a tourist's perspective on the places walked by Count Dracula, the world's most famous vampire created by Bram Stoker, and Prince Dracula, the Romanian tyrant whose cruelty inspired a monster.

This book takes you from Whitby, England, where Stoker lived for a time and where the Count landed on England's shores, to the far reaches of Wallachia, which Stoker never visited but was the Count's ancestral home and is where Vlad "the Impaler" Tepes, son of the dragon, engraved his name in the mountains through fear, barbarity -- and, in the eyes of his people, at least, some degree of heroism.

Unger is obviously an enthusiast for the subject. He describes the places in great detail, comparing Stoker's version to reality, explaining what is different and what has changed, discussing amenities for the modern tourist. He talks about the Count's fictitious history and how it compares to Stoker's inspiration, the 15th-century warlord who impaled thousands of living foes on spikes to die in anguish and inspired terror among invading Ottoman armies.

The book benefits from nearly 200 black-and-white photographs from Unger's travels. I'd have liked to see them in color, but they still give great visual cues to accompany the text.

But the text is the vital element here, and Unger completely satisfies. Besides specifics about the places and people you'll meet there, Unger let's you know what to expect for accommodations and travel, the value of money and the availability of banking and credit. He's covered all the bases, making travel planning a breeze.

If I were able to take a trip like this, Unger's Footsteps would be a vital resource. Anyone considering a visit to even one of these locations should read this book before going. And, for those of us who can't make the journey ourselves, I'm glad Unger has done it for us. Through his eyes, I've received a clear image of Dracula's world, and I thank him for the experience.

book review by
Tom Knapp

13 November 2010

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