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12,000 Miles
in the Nick of Time

A Semi-Dysfunctional Family Circumnavigates the Globe

By Mark Jacobson
With commentary by Rae Jacobson
Atlantic Monthly Press
$23 U.S./$37.95 Canada
271 pages


Winner of the Elle Reader's Prize
Listen to Mark and Rae's Morning Edition interview!


Praise for 12,000 Miles:
The book New York magazine calls the "extreme parenting" guide of the century

"The book is very funny--the trip doesn't go exactly as the parents plan--but it is also hugely educational, history presented as a grand adventure. The kids learned a lot and so do we."

Praise for Mark Jacobson:
A writer with "the ability to spin a yarn at the speed of light."
--The Los Angeles Times

Photographs by Nancy Bray Cardozo

[Excerpts from the book]

The Mission--to Compare the Immortal Works of Man with the Junk on TV

It was a rare chance to stand at a sacred crossroads of existence, I told the children. The Infinite Round of Being was playing out before us. A billion believing Hindus dreamed of coming to this very place. To have one's body burned here, the ashes tossed into the Holy Ganges River, was to assure a good burial, a release from the endless karmic cycle of birth and rebirth. Here, it was possible for souls to attain nirvana, which was the goal of all souls.

Still, I could tell the Burning Ghat in Varanasi's Holy City was not making it as a family-fun destination. The kids were not digging it.

"This is horrible! Disgusting!" critiqued sixteen-year-old Rae.

"Bad," chimed in twelve-year-old Rosalie.

"Really bad," assented Billy, nine at the time.

The three of them were united on this point. They were all going to throw up if we didn't get out of there immediately.

Nattering like some ninny Chevy Chase, I'd told my wife: you'll see, the Burning Ghat is going to be a pick hit. Knock their unchanged socks right off. As it turned out ...
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