In any case, Lonely Planet, which was based by Tony Wheeler along with his spouse, Maureen, was itself named by mistake. Mr. Wheeler thought he was adopting the identify from the lyrics to “House Captain,” sung by Joe Cocker and written by Matthew Moore — till his spouse corrected him. (The precise line is “As soon as whereas touring throughout the sky, this beautiful planet caught my eye.”)
A 1986 article by Nicholas Kristof in The New York Instances anointed Mr. Crowther “the patron saint of vacationers within the third world,” though Mr. Kristof acknowledged that even saints aren’t good. He talked about a jungle hike in North Borneo that had been included in “Southeast Asia on a Shoestring” on the suggestion of an earlier reader.
“Then, a few years later,” Mr. Kristof wrote, “a person got here into Mr. Wheeler’s workplace and mentioned: ‘ that hike that you simply mentioned would take a day and a half? It took me six weeks. Midway via I used to be cursing your identify, however later I noticed it was the best journey I’d ever had.’”
Not each traveler learn Lonely Planet’s guides for pleasure. After Ethiopian rebels used the guidebook’s maps of Addis Ababa, the nation’s capital, to grab it from the dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam in 1991, Mr. Wheeler marveled, “So far as I do know it’s the one time we’ve straight helped to overthrow a authorities.”
Mr. Crowther’s uncompromising candor was not all the time welcome. He and his guidebook (“together with ‘Woman Chatterley’s Lover’ and a choose checklist of different extremely subversive titles,” Mr. Wheeler wrote) have been banned from Malawi after he gently badmouthed the nation’s autocratic president, Dr. Hastings Banda, in passing.
Declaring that Mr. Crowther “had an incalculable affect on a singular technology of vacationers,” Richard Everist, a former writer of Lonely Planet, described him as “a real explorer and adventurer who went past boundaries and borders” and “outlined Lonely Planet’s ethos and elegance.”
Geoff Crowther was born on March 15, 1944, in Yorkshire, England, to George and Susie (Halstead) Crowther. His mother and father have been each cotton mill staff.