What Chris Scott has done, while not exactly the impossible, is at the least difficult – he’s made a great book better. The seventh edition of his authoritative guide on all things adventure riding – now a surprising 25 years in print – is his best yet.
‘AMH’ has lasted so long precisely because Scott does take the time and care to update it regularly. And also because he’s established an enviable network of experienced contributors – who feed back to Scott up-to-date information and advice on motorcycle travel in all four corners of the world – it is almost certainly the most reliable and considered source of information for adventure riders probably on the whole planet.
The basis of the book is as a route and planning guide, on which it delivers so well; Scott is equally as thorough as he is practical as he is eloquent. But it’s the depth as well as the range that sets it apart. There are ‘picture books’ that set out adventure motorcycling in a far more eye-catching manner, and we’ll not take anything away from them, we need them too, but Scott’s book is the ultimate tome.
Okay, given that AMH is the size of a slightly longer paperback and fairly ‘longhand’ is presentation, it is then a touch analogue in an increasingly digital age, but three-quarters of the world is still analogue. There’s an analogy we can apply: break an alloy luggage rack in Namibia and you’re pretty much hamstrung, break a steel rack, though, and you’ll find a bush engineer with welding torch who’ll have the rack heated, re-bent or welded-up in no time. Scott is no technophobe, but he – and his contributors – understands the world outside of the digital, global-courier serviced, network.
What’s better about the seventh edition? Well, to contradict everything I’ve just written, by the inclusion of some glorious full-page full-colour photography to accompany the updated ride reports Scott’s made it visually more appealing! Photos are access points, you see. But as well those sections which will naturally date, such as on bike choice and advice on access to countries around the world, have all been revised. And as AMH is over 350 pages, an update is no small task.
Bottom line, if you only ever buy one book on adventure riding then make it this one.