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


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 such a trip.  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.

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From the Library

As the 20th century evolved, rational man turned to science to explain mythology that had pervaded for thousands of years. How could a man be mistaken for a vampire? How could someone appear to have been the victim of a vampire attack? Science, in time, came back with answers that may surprise you.Anemia
A million fancies strike you when you hear the name: Nosferatu!N O S F E R A T Udoes not die!What do you expect of the first showing of this great work?Aren't you afraid? - Men must die. But legend has it that a vampire, Nosferatu, 'der Untote' (the Undead), lives on men's blood! You want to see a symphony of horror? You may expect more. Be careful. Nosferatu is not just fun, not something to be taken lightly. Once more: beware.- Publicity for Nosferatu in the German magazine Buhne und Film, 1922  

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