A compulsively readable account of an African country now virtually inaccessible to the outside world and what is perhaps one of the most daring and adventurous journeys a journalist has made in recent years
Tim Butcher is a best-selling author who blends travel with history. His first book, Blood River, was a number one bestseller, a Richard & Judy Book Club selection and was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize, while his next, Chasing the Devil, was longlisted for the George Orwell Prize. A journalist with the Daily Telegraph from 1990 to 2009, in 2010 he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Northampton for services to writing. Born in Great Britain, he is based in Cape Town with his family.
Dispatched to Africa, Daily Telegraph correspondent Butcher decided to repeat Stanley's legendary trek along the mighty Congo River to flush out Dr. Livingston. But he did it alone. A selection of Britain's famed Richard & Judy Book Club--its only nonfiction last year. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
A remarkable, fascinating book by a courageous and perceptive
writer. One of the most exciting books to emerge from Africa in
recent years -- Alexander McCall Smith
An intrepid adventure. In making and describing this journey, Tim Butcher has followed in the footsteps of Stanley and Conrad. It takes a lot of guts to yomp through the Congo and he obviously has plenty of those. But it is the wit and passion of the writing which keeps you engrossed -- Giles Foden
This is a terrific book, an adventure story about a journey of great bravery in one of the world's most dangerous places. It keeps the heart beating and the attention fixed from beginning to end -- Fergal Keane
A masterpiece -- John le Carre
Tim Butcher deserves a medal for this crazy feat. I marvel at his courage and his empathy -- Thomas Pakenham
"For me terror manifests itself through clear physical symptoms, an ache that grows behind my knees and a choking dryness in my throat," writes British journalist Butcher in the preface of this devastating yet strangely exhilarating account of his six-week ordeal retracing the steps of 19th-century explorer H.M. Stanley's Victorian-era travels through the present-day hell that is the Republic of Congo. Setting out into the war-torn, disease-infested backcountry of Congo in 2000 against the wishes of just about everyone in his life--family, friends, editors and a wild assortment of government officials (the corrupt and the more corrupt)--Butcher quickly finds more horror than he'd previously experienced in his 10 years as a war correspondent ("With my own eyes I had peered into a hidden African world where human bones too numerous to bury were left lying on the ground"). His tale is chock-a-block with gruesome details about the brutal Belgian rule of the late 19th century as well as the casual disregard for life on the contemporary scene. Part travelogue, part straight-forward reportage, Butcher's story is a full-throated lament for large-scale human potential wasted with no reasonable end in sight. (Oct.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.