5 out of 5 stars
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Four books for the price of one could be the advertisement for Stuart Katz's book Travel Therapy: Around the World in Search of Happiness. The book is one part Jewish history, one part travel memoir, one part humanitarian guideline, and one part mental health journey. Katz's honest writing style makes for an entertaining and educational experience.
The book begins with a long list of testimonials from mental health professionals and Jewish leaders. Then there is a dedication to his wife and then a foreword from Kevin Hines who explains the author's purpose for writing the book. Because I like to jump right into the meat of the book, all these pages felt excessive.
My favorite part was the section of passages written by Katz's four children as they described what growing up with a father in the travel industry was like. Their reflections on the family trips were endearing and showcased the family's close bonds.
Katz's wanderlust as a volunteer nomad opened my eyes to the plights of refugees that I hadn't considered before. His trip to Greece in 2015 was especially relevant. In Chapter 14, the author provides some valuable tips to individuals who are interested in volunteering during the aftermath of a disaster.
Chapter 10 is timely as it discusses the author's involvement as a volunteer during the 2012 Hamas attack on Israel. Obviously, this book was written before the current war, but I searched Katz's Facebook page and found details about how he is again involved with relief efforts for Israel. It was interesting to compare the two situations.
My rating is five out of five stars. I found no reason for any deductions. I enjoyed learning how the author has used his travel experiences to promote his own mental health journey and how he has been instrumental in getting better mental health care for Israeli citizens. I recommend all parts of this book (history, humanitarian, travel, and therapy) to anyone interested in learning more about how to find happiness.
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