Marble and Mud: Around the World in 80 Years

by Marion Kaplan

Postscript by Sir Michael Palin

  • RRP £19.99
  • ISBN: 978-0-9557208-5-7
  • Pages: 373
  • Photographs: Over 800
  • Published: September 2020
  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback

Jacket text...

Photography in all seven continents and wildly different islands inspired photojournalist Marion Kaplan to pack the madly mixed results — old photos in black-and-white to sparkling digital colour — into one book. Along with her text blending history, personal viewpoint and anecdote, here is an exuberant view of much of the world as she found it.

Her travels include a two-year solo hitchhike from South Africa to Morocco in the early 1960s, when she was young and trusting, and a five-month voyage in an Arab dhow from Dubai to East Africa on assignment for National Geographic.

Stories became her meat and drink, initially in Africa where, as freelance, she worked for Time and Newsweek, and the UK’s The Observer and The Times. Now she is in her 80s, and Marion Kaplan is worried—not for herself but for planet Earth. The changing climate, she despairs, is taking lands, oceans, peoples and wildlife into unknown and frightening realms.

“But there is still excellent reporting and superb photography on our marvellous planet, and science watches closely," she observes. "Let us hope they prevail.”


Sir Michael Palin (from the postscript)

"This is not a tick-off book, a ‘been there, seen it’ country-spotter’s list. All these disparate locations are part of a lifetime narrative of exploration, enquiry and experience which is deliberately and unashamedly personal. Marion Kaplan is, as all good travellers should be, insatiably curious.”


Reviews and comments

"I just had to write to say how much I love it! What an extraordinary life you’ve led. It is such a marvellous collection of images and, as Michael Palin says, they are all accompanied by fantastic, informative, insightful captions. You have a very distinctive style of photography, which few people can claim, and I particularly like the extraordinary mix of subjects hanging together so beautifully. It’s quite an achievement!” Mark Carwardine (zoologist, environmental activist, wildlife photographer, author and TV and radio presenter)


"When a world traveller such as Sir Michael Palin says that 'there’s hardly a corner of the planet untrod by Kaplan’s boots', you know you’re in for a treat and a roller-coaster ride around the globe. And Marion Kaplan’s big book of photo-journalism provides just that — hundreds of images taken over the past 60-plus years, taking in all seven continents and offering tantalising glimpses, in some cases, of worlds which no longer exist.” Jenni Frazer, The Jewish Chronicle


About the author...

Marion Kaplan is a London-born photojournalist and writer. She lived in Africa for twenty years and, as freelance, worked for a wide range of magazines and newspapers including National Geographic, Time and People in the United States, The Observer and The Times in London. From her Africa work arose her book on the post-independence period, Focus Africa (Doubleday and Elm Tree). Later, based in Portugal, she contributed articles and photos to the international magazines of Reader's Digest and travel articles to The New York Times. She is author of The Portuguese: the Land and Its People (Viking, Penguin and Carcanet). Her photographs have also appeared in numerous other books and international media. She now lives in southwest France.