Biography/History

Backpacking with Dracula by Leif Petterson

I debated whether to rate this a 3 or 4 star, I enjoyed the humor in it (if you don’t like cursing this book won’t be for you).

It’s written by a person who’s actually been to the Dracula castle multiple times, and clearly has a good deal of background knowledge of not only Dracula, but the history of Transylvania and Romania (where Transylvania is now located).

I knew vaguely that Dracula the vampire was based off a psychopath who lived a long time ago, but didn’t know much more than that, and I thought a funny book might lighten the mood of the horrors he inflicted on people – and it did to a point..

This guy was a total wack job, killing people for no more reason than he found them irritating, and he did it in some of the most creative and brutal ways I’ve ever heard about, and I know about Caligula and his nutbaggery.

He obviously loved impaling people, his nick name is Vlad the Impaler, but he did it on such a scale it’s hard to believe that the claims aren’t exaggerated. At one point it’s said that he had over 20,000 people impaled all around his castle as a deterrent to invaders to stay away from his castle, and it worked. I mean, why wouldn’t it, that’s insanity. He loved to eat while he watched people get impaled, and impaling wasn’t his only execution method – he skinned people alive, cut off body parts, boiled people alive etc. He just loved watching people die in agony, and even for the brutal times which he lived, he took it a step above the rest and stood out as a Tyrant among tyrants.

There was a lot of history of romania in this book going up to modern times, and that was interesting to learn about as well. And since he has personal experience in the towns he writes about, you get an in depth view of towns, castles and ruins the book is referring to which is really nice, you even get some travel tips if you ever plan on going there.

So, why 3 stars?

The book is pretty disjointed, within the same page you could jump from the 1400’s to modern times, back to the 1600’s and back again. It would have read much better if he talked about each of those periods in different chapters, or at least different sections within the same chapters, it made it really difficult to follow sometimes. I had to re-read a few times to figure out what was going on.

I still may bump this up to 4 stars, I’m not sure, overall I think it’s like a 3.5 – 3.7, lots of good info and humor, but it feels like it was put into a blender.

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