travel writer, sailor, and novelist, born in Norfolk and educated at the University of Hull. His works include Soft City (1974), a study of city life, particularly in London and New York; Arabia Through the Looking Glass (1979); Old Glory (1981), describing a voyage down the Mississippi; and Coasting (1986), an account of a 1982 journey by ketch round the British Isles, which combines autobiography, marine scholarship, and sharp political commentary. The novel Foreign Land (1985) shows England through the eyes of a returning exile. Hunting Mister Heartbreak (1990) is a journey exploring American emigration and identity, and Bad Land (1996) is an account of the settling of Montana by aspiring immigrant farmers and homesteaders, and of the disillusions that followed. Both manifest Raban's understanding of adventurers and loners, pitted against powerful natural forces. Later works include Passage to Juneau (2000), Waxwings (2003), and My Holy War (2005) which explores post‐9/11 uncertainties and cultural alienation, and Surveillance (2006).