In 1977, the year In Patagonia was published, I was headed back to Argentina for eighteen months to research the social history of the British and the development of the Anglo-Argentine community, a relatively small immigrant group that had a very large impact on Argentina's banking industry, transportation infrastructure, sports, customs, and agriculture. In Patagonia, called 'a landmark in contemporary travel writing' by the Cambridge Companion to Travel Writing, fed my fascination with Argentina and its history as well as my strong interest in the movement of peoples, how and why individuals chose -- way before the days of instantaneous communication and easy transportation -- to travel long, long distances to live in places radically different from their homes, and how they accommodated and assimilated once there. Patagonia, as Chatwin vividly shows, has attracted and become home to a vastly diverse array of people, among them Boers, English, Lithuanians, Germans, Scots, Welsh, Basques, Russians and of course the native Tehuelches and Mapuches. Reading In Patagonia provoked in me a magnetic attraction to the 'Southern Cone,' a part of the world that has drawn me back, over and over, farther south with each visit.
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