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Facing The Congo


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* Review coverage anticipated in the national press and travel magazines * Author online activity * Submitted for trade promotions * Reading copies available

About the Author

Jeffrey Tayler is a writer and traveller, and the author of one previous book.


The exquisite sheen and might of the Congo itself flow through the pages of Jeffrey Tayler's account. His triumph is his ability to carry us deep into the very heart of Africa, negotiating like an old river-hand the eddies and curves of the dark enigma which is the Congo. There's a rare truth here, the grip, grind and mystery of the African forest, expressed not through a lurid tale of explorer antics, but through Tayler's heroic sensitivity to the everyday lives of river people. Here, in all its sweltering majesty, is the real Congo - the clicking, swirling intensity of one of the greatest of all rivers, as it moves timelessly through the lives of the crocodiles, fishermen and bandits who inhabit its feted shores. - Benedict Allen, author of LAST OF THE MEDICINE MEN and INTO THE CROCODILE NEST 'He has provided one of the warmest and most sympathetic accounts to date of a most perplexing part of the world.' TLS 'A fascinating record of an often breathtaking journey. Tayler's account is also an incredible adventure story.' BELFAST NEWS 'A gripping account.' SUNDAY TIMES Recent years have seen a spate of "Congo books". Ronan Bennett, Barbara Kingsolver and John Edric have written acclaimed Congo novels, and Adam Hochschild's history, King Leopold's Ghost, documents the atrocities committed during rubber fever, when 8,000,000 died in the Belgian Congo and up to 14,000,000 died in French Equatorial Africa. In the travel genre, we have had Redmond O'Hanlon's great Congo Journey and Michaela Wrong's In the Footsteps of Mr Kurtz. The combination of historical tragedy and contemporary anarchy makes this rich hunting ground for writers, but also provokes serious ethical questions about writing commercial books on a destroyed country--questions which only the nature of the books themselves can answer. Facing the Congo is the latest such book. In it, Jeffrey Tayler recounts his attempt to canoe the navigable length of sub-Saharan Africa's most symbolic river. Equipped with help from one of Mobutu's henchmen and an ailing guide, Tayler finds things far from plain sailing. Negotiating corrupt officialdom, murderous peoples on the riverbanks, widespread suspicion and the dangers of the river itself, he ultimately finds his plans too demanding to be fully realised. Tayler's prose is often evocative and his story is a compelling one. But he tends to load his descriptions with adjectives, which can over-dramatise situations. Of course this is a dramatic adventure, and Tayler tells it well, but at the end you can't help feeling that too little attention is paid to the root causes of both his troubles and the current situation in the Congo--rubber fever, greed and a callous European superiority complex.' - Toby Green, AMAZON.CO.UK REVIEW 'Immensely gripping' - BILL BRYSON

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