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Aidan Hartley was born in 1965 and raised in East Africa. He read English at Balliol College, Oxford, and later politics at London University. He joined Reuters as a foreign correspondent and has worked in Africa, the Balkans, the Middle East and Russia. In 1996 he began travelling and writing on his own.
'A powerful blend of family history and war correspondent's memoir...searing, deeply instructive.' Anthony Daniels, Sunday Telegraph'A truly impressive and haunting book, an impassioned and often beautifully written account of one man's journey to the heart of darkness, and his slow, painful voyage back.' Harry Ritchie, Daily Mail'Underpinning the grisly details of wars in Somalia, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Burundi that Hartley experienced first-hand and at no small emotional cost to himself, is a touching story of his childhood in colonial Africa.' Iain Finlayson, The Times'Wonderful and everywhere remarkable...Hartley writes with love and an astonishing zest.' Allan Massie, Daily Telegraph'The Zanzibar Chest is a necessary book...you will struggle to find a more authentic, urgent or brilliant account of the underbelly of contemporary Africa...this book seems destined to become a classic.' Christopher Ross, Sunday Express'A masterpiece. This is a hugely ambitious book.' Matthew Leeming, Spectator'No other African correspondent has been so successful in blending both hard reporting and laddish on-the-road antics within a personal and lyrical framework. Hartley evokes the excitement and pathos of the modern continent ... he is perhaps the best mzungu writing about the real Africa today.' Andrew Lycett, Sunday Times'Hartley always writes beautifully...gripping and intensely moving.' James Astill, Guardian'A lyrical, passionate memoir of this dark continent. On the surface, Hartley's book professes to explore why his father and so many other Englishmen of his generation turned time and time again to Africa. Its real aim is far more ambitious: to explore the motives of many generations of white people -- good and bad, but mostly confused -- who have washed up on Africa's wilder shores of love. His judgement of the foreign politicians who have involved themselves in the continent is tough without being hysterical. And he has a sure pen for character... he writes best about the dichotemies within himself -- his ache for Africa, his rage at its horrors, his longing for peace' The Economist'Aidan Hartley's heartbreaking love affair with Africa shines through in this stunning memoir...the result is a breathtaking work, an epic part-autobiography, part-biography. As he unravels Davey's story, Hartley turns out passages of aching beauty which will invite comparisons with that other desert love story, Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient. Hartley's engagement with his central character is so rich in detail and affection that the pages slip by far too fast.' The Scotsman