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Book review: 'Hidden Tuscany' is a cultural adventure

By Micah Klug

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, Aug. 16 2014 1:00 p.m. MDT

Updated: Friday, Aug. 15 2014 2:33 p.m. MDT

Utahn John Keahey is the author of "Hidden Tuscany."

Steven R. McCurdy

"HIDDEN TUSCANY: Discovering Art, Culture and Memories in a Well-Known Region's Unknown Places," by John Keahey, Thomas Dunne Books, $26.99, 296 pages (nf)

Utahn John Keahey vividly captures the beauty of Tuscany as he narrates his travels to this area of western Italy. “Hidden Tuscany” is not meant to be a guide book with lists of places to go and see for a world traveler. Instead, Keahey creates a capitvating narrative of this area's best-kept secrets and wonders.

As he details his travels to the towns and communities, most of which are mainly unknown to the common tourist, he passes along a desire to walk the same streets and to visit the same cathedrals and architecturally rich cities.

Keahey encourages potential visitors to have an agenda when traveling but also to be flexible enough to break from their plan and create a new adventure. He describes the people — from sculptors to restaurant owners and chefs — with whom he becomes acquainted during the months he tours Tuscany. He shares details about the native food, drink and habits that provide insight and instruction into these places off the beaten paths of tourists.

Keahey, who lived in the area for several months, explores Tuscany’s historic and culturally rich past to provide context for the present. Keahey also shares survivor accounts of the Sant'Anna di Stazzema massacre that occurred toward the end of World War II. The accounts, though brutal in nature, are not graphically detailed.

There is no swearing or other foul language or sexual themes.

A brief account of Utah U.S. Sen. Elbert D. Thomas is mentioned in relation to his work with the Japanese-American community that served America during WWII.

Keahey, a University of Utah alumnus, retired in 2011 as a reporter and news editor for the Salt Lake Tribune. He is also the author of “Seeking Sicily,” “Venice Against the Sea” and “Revisiting the Ionian Sea.” He and his wife, Connie, currently live in Salt Lake City.

If you go …

What: Weller Book Works' 85th anniversary celebration and John Keahey book signing

When: Saturday, Aug. 23, signing at 2 p.m., open house from 5-9 p.m.

Where: Wellers Book Works, 607 Trolley Square, Salt Lake City

Web: samwellers.com, johnkeahey.com

Micah Klug graduated with a bachelor’s degree in health care administration from Brigham Young University-Idaho. She lives in Rexburg, Idaho.

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