Yeadon, David 1942–

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Yeadon, David 1942–

PERSONAL:

Surname is pronounced "Yee-don"; born May 29, 1942, in Castleford, England; son of Claude Wade (a grocer) and Margaret Louise Yeadon; married Anne Coultish (a director of rehabilitation services and a writer), March 16, 1968. Education: Leeds University, B. City Planning, 1965. Hobbies and other interests: Travel, adventure, illustration, photography, budget-gourmet cooking, reading and writing fiction, handmade homes.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Mohegan Lake, NY. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

City planner in Wakefield, England, 1959-65; senior city planner in London, England, 1965-67; project coordinator for city of Tehran, Iran, 1968-70; associate city planner in Los Angeles, CA, 1971-72; author and illustrator, 1972—.

MEMBER:

Royal Town Planning Institute, Authors Guild.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Lowell Thomas Gold and Silver Medals, Society of American Travel Writers, 1993, for best travel book and best foreign travel feature; has received other awards for travel writing.

WRITINGS:

Exploring Small Towns in California, two volumes, Ward Ritchie, 1972.

Hidden Restaurants in California, two volumes, Camaro (San Francisco, CA), 1972.

Wine-Tasting in California, Camaro (San Francisco, CA), 1973.

Sumptuous Indulgence on a Shoestring (cookbook), Hawthorn (New York, NY), 1974.

(With wife, Anne Yeadon) Towards Independence, American Federation for the Blind, 1974.

New York Book of Bars, Pubs, and Taverns, Hawthorn (New York, NY), 1975.

Hidden Corners of New England, Crowell (New York, NY), 1977.

Hidden Corners of the Mid-Atlantic States, Crowell (New York, NY), 1977.

When the Earth Was Young: Songs of the American Indian, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1978.

Nooks and Crannies: A Walking Tour Guide to New York City, Scribner (New York, NY), 1979, revised edition published as New York's Nooks and Crannies: Unusual Walking All Five Boroughs, Scribner (New York, NY), 1986.

Backroad Journeys of the West Coast States, Harper (New York, NY), 1979.

(With Anne Yeadon) Living with Impaired Vision, American Federation for the Blind, 1979.

Backroad Journeys of Southern Europe, Harper (New York, NY), 1981.

Hidden Corners of Britain, Allen & Unwin (London, England), 1981, Norton (New York, NY), 1982.

Offbeat England, Penguin (London, England), 1982.

Island Retreats of America, two volumes, Crown (New York, NY), 1982.

(With Anne Yeadon) Free New York: 1,500 Free Pleasures and Entertainments, Free City Books (New York, NY), 1982.

Secluded Islands of the Atlantic Coast, Crown (New York, NY), 1984.

New York: The Best Places, Perennial Library (New York, NY), 1987.

The Back of Beyond: Travels to the Wild Places of Earth, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1991.

Lost Worlds: Exploring the Earth's Remote Places, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1993.

The Way of the Wanderer: Discover Your True Self through Travel, Travelers' Tales (San Francisco, CA), 2001.

National Geographic Guide to the World's Secret Places: Escapes to 40 Unspoiled and Undiscovered Earthly Paradises, National Geographic Society (Washington, DC), 2003.

(And illustrator) Seasons in Basilicata: A Year in a Southern Italian Hill Village, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2004.

(And illustrator) Seasons on Harris: A Year in Scotland's Outer Hebrides, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2006.

Contributor to numerous travel and guide books, including Caribbean Guide, St. Kitts-Nevis, Insight Guides, 1992; Philadelphia, Comcast Pub. Co., 1995; Chicago, Comcast Pub. Co., 1995; New York, Comcast Pub. Co., 1995; India, Travelers' Tales, 1995; Spain, Travelers' Tales, 1995; Hong Kong, Travelers' Tales, 1996; The Earth's Last Wild Places, National Geographic Books, 1996; Love and Romance, Travelers' Tales, 1997; The Road Within, Travelers' Tales, 1997; The Gift of Travel: The Best of the Best, Travelers' Tales, 1998; America's Hidden Corners, National Geographic Books, 1998; The Adventure of Food, Travelers' Tales, 1999; The Ultimate Journey, Travelers's Tales, 2000; Australia, Travelers's Tales, 2000; America's Small Town Escapes, National Geographic Books, 2000; Central America, Travelers' Tales, 2002; Tuscany, Travelers' Tales, 2002; China, Travelers' Tales, 2004; and Stories to Live By, Travelers' Tales, 2005.

Contributor of illustrated articles to periodicals, including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Cue, National Geographic, National Geographic Traveler, Washington Post, and America. Editor, with Anne Yeadon, of eight self-study books on rehabilitation techniques for older blind individuals, Center for Independent Living, 1977-79.

SIDELIGHTS:

The backroads of New York, the West Coast states, New England, and of the Mid-Atlantic States are among the many that David Yeadon has traveled. Indeed, since the 1970s, he has made a career of writing about less-traveled places. In his books as in his journeys, Yeadon downplays major sightseeing attractions and seeks out lesser-known neighborhoods and local landmarks. Typically, he discusses a place's architecture, its parks, its ethnic holdouts, its markets, and its local museums. He sometimes peers into corners so obscure that they are unknown even to many of the region's inhabitants. For the more adventuresome visitor, Yeadon suggests unconventional activities such as traveling desert backroads, attending unusual fairs, visiting out-of-the-way lakes and valleys, discovering unique examples of folk architecture, and losing oneself on forest tracks. He looks at everything from mountain paths to cranberry festivals, and he discusses all types of attractions from uncommon front yards to resident recluses in desert hideouts. Yeadon chats with the inhabitants of backroad communities and collects their folklore to preserve their oral histories.

Yeadon's 1981 book, Backroad Journeys of Southern Europe, records fifteen thousand miles of his travels through southern France, Portugal, Spain, Italy, and southern Switzerland. "His book is studded with nuggets of history and quotations from other authors," a New York Times critic reported. "But many of his best passages concern small, unplanned-for adventures." The critic further remarked that Yeadon "writes expansively about food … markets and festivals, landscape and architecture, people and animals," and called Backroad Journeys of Southern Europe "a remarkably sunny-natured book."

Yeadon takes readers further afield in his subsequent books. In The Back of Beyond: Travels to the Wild Places of Earth he visits twenty destinations, most located in Asia but a few in the British Isles and the Caribbean. Furthermore, in Lost Worlds: Exploring the Earth's Remote Places he treks through locations in Panama, Venezuela, Tasmania, Australia, Fiji, and the Caribbean. According to a Kirkus Reviews critic, the latter work is full of the author's "trademark good humor [and] contagious love of wandering," as well as "heavy doses of ecomysticism." With The Way of the Wanderer: Discover Your True Self through Travel Yeadon makes the travel diary form a collection of reflective essays on the benefits of visiting the unknown. In it he writes: "To know the world still remains a thing of mystery, silence and secrets—this I find one of the greatest joys of all."

The great appeal of many of Yeadon's travel guides is his dedication to locating and sharing out-of-the-way places that few travelers have seen or read of in other guidebooks. Yeadon goes off the beaten path to give travelers a sense of adventure. In National Geographic Guide to the World's Secret Places: Escapes to 40 Unspoiled and Undiscovered Earthly Paradises, he chronicles some of these adventurous journeys. However, in Seasons in Basilicata: A Year in a Southern Italian Hill Village, he offers a glimpse of a place that is just as rare and just as much a treasure, though it seems less remote and less unique. Yeadon includes sketches of his visit to the Italian town, providing a warm glimpse of his experiences when he traveled their with his wife. Mary Ann Smyth, reviewing Seasons in Basilicata for Bookloons.com, called the book "a fascinating tale of a year in another world—divorced from the rest of the universe but still very much a part of it. It's written by a man who has heart and cares about his fellow man." The feeling of Yeadon's "Seasons" books, which will be a series similar to his more adventurous National Geographic travel books, is a much more intimate one. Rather than traveling far and wide, Yeadon will concentrate on some corners of the globe—single locations—and share them with readers on a detailed level.

Yeadon once told CA: "After ten years of professional practice, I put aside my city planning career and dabbled. At first an article, a few illustrations, and then came the aroma of that first check, disbelief at the gangling contract, all staples, folds, and formalities. How could anyone be so gullible to pay me for traveling America in a beat-up VW camper with very hazy notions of what I was doing? Not that they paid much at first. I made up the difference on the journey by selling pen sketches of lopsided gold towns and postcards of Victorian gothic fantasy architecture (six for a dollar, custom-backed by Anne in the back of the camper). It was supposed to be a short trip, a sabbatical from designing never-never new towns and solving the unsolvable, a chance to write about real places and people before cashing in the camper for a responsible expense-account-and-Cadillac career. Only it didn't happen that way.

"I never went back. I chose the backroads—thousands upon thousands of miles of them. I explored the hidden corners of America and even came into the big cities searching out the secrets of their nooks and crannies. Occasionally I'd digress for a book on budget gourmet cooking or on the songs of the American Indian. Anne and I collaborated on her work with the aging blind in New York and then set off again together on backroad odysseys of Britain and southern Europe. The books got longer, the illustrations better, and the themes clearer. Odd adventures and delights of discovery increased. We met wise people out there in quiet places, and they became both part of the book and our lives.

"In an era of mass travel on a global scale, many modern-day explorers overlook the riches of local environments and substitute superficial, fast-paced itineraries through exotic locations for the adventures and surprises of backroad travel closer to home. They miss a lot this way—the hidden places, the little legends, the heritage and the folklore of small communities, people living a quieter way of life reflecting more durable values.

"Further plans? Very vague, just as they should be. More of the same? It's never the same. Each book is a fresh experience, a bevy of new challenges and surprises.

"Yes, I'd like to build our home (an exercise in fantastitecture). I'd like to circle the earth, slowly and on the ground. I'd like to avoid predictability. I'd like to experiment with new writings and illustrations. Most of all, I'd like to keep alive."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Bloomsbury Review, June, 1991, review of The Back of Beyond: Travels to the Wild Places of Earth, p. 27.

Booklist, April 15, 1984, review of Secluded Islands of the Atlantic Coast, p. 1146; February 1, 1991, review of The Back of Beyond, p. 1111; July, 1993, Joe Collins, review of Lost Worlds: Exploring the Earth's Remote Places, pp. 1939, 1953.

Christian Science Monitor, September 7, 1984, reviews of Secluded Islands of the Atlantic Coast, Hidden Corners of Britain, and Backroad Journeys of Southern Europe, p. B2; January 28, 1991, Mary Warner Marien, review of The Back of Beyond, p. 13.

Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 1990, review of The Back of Beyond, p. 1663; May 1, 1993, review of Lost Worlds, p. 587.

Library Journal, January, 1991, Harold M. Otness, review of The Back of Beyond, p. 130; June 15, 1993, Harold M. Otness, review of Lost Worlds, p. 89; April 15, 2001, Ravi Shenoy, review of The Way of the Wanderer: Discover Your True Self through Travel, p. 123.

Los Angeles Times Book Review, July 18, 1993, review of Lost Worlds, p. 6.

New York Times, August 16, 1981, review of Backroad Journeys of Southern Europe.

Publishers Weekly, December 7, 1990, Genevieve Stuttaford, review of The Back of Beyond, p. 68.

Quill and Quire, February, 1994, review of Lost Worlds, p. 30.

Washington Post Book World, April 14, 1991, review of The Back of Beyond, p. 12; July 4, 1993, review of Lost Worlds, p. 13.

ONLINE

Bookloons.com,http://www.bookloons.com/ (April 16, 2007), Mary Ann Smyth, review of Seasons in Basilicata: A Year in a Southern Italian Hill Village.

David Yeadon Home Page,http://www.davidyeadontravel.com (April 16, 2007).