The Black Nile: One Man's Amazing Journey Through Peace and War on the World's Longest River

( 9 )

Overview

"A supremely entertaining work, and also an important one." -David Grann, author of The Lost City of Z

Upon hearing the news of tenuous peace in Sudan, foreign correspondent Dan Morrison bought a plank-board boat, summoned a friend who'd never left America, and set out from Uganda, paddling the Nile on a quest to reach Cairo-a trip that tyranny and war had made impossible for decades. With the propulsive force of a thriller, Morrison's chronicle is a mash-up of travel narrative ...

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The Black Nile: One Man's Amazing Journey Through Peace and War on the World's Longest River

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Overview

"A supremely entertaining work, and also an important one." -David Grann, author of The Lost City of Z

Upon hearing the news of tenuous peace in Sudan, foreign correspondent Dan Morrison bought a plank-board boat, summoned a friend who'd never left America, and set out from Uganda, paddling the Nile on a quest to reach Cairo-a trip that tyranny and war had made impossible for decades. With the propulsive force of a thriller, Morrison's chronicle is a mash-up of travel narrative and reportage, packed with flights into the frightful and absurd. From the hardscrabble fishing villages on Lake Victoria to the floating nightclubs of Cairo, The Black Nile tracks the snarl of commonalities and conflicts that bleed across the Nile valley, bringing to life a complex region in profound transition.

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Editorial Reviews

Tahir Shah
…packed with narrow scrapes, humor and brazen feats of sheer adventure, all set against a brilliantly described backdrop. Reading it, I found myself slipping into the world of a good Rider Haggard novel because, after all, Africa is the continent par excellence of rip-roaring adventure…The Black Nile, which will resonate with old Africa hands the world over, deserves praise for the way it considers the ordinary on a continent so often forgotten by the world at large.
—The Washington Post
From the Publisher
"The Black Nile ...excels in bringing the place, politics and history of this fragile region alive." —-Boston Globe
The Daily Beast
“Beautifully written. . . . A masterful narrative of investigative reportage, travel writing, and contemporary history. . . . The Black Nile is all at once thrilling, sad, and—most of all—thoughtful.”
The Wall Street Journal
“This is hard-core African travel . . . [With] Mr. Morrison's peppery anecdotes, his refreshing honesty and his ability to show how Africans view their difficulties . . . the book gives us a compelling portrait of life along the Nile—from lonely fishing communities on Lake Victoria to the cacophonous collisions of Cairo."--(Hugh Pope)
The Boston Globe
“Morrison’s determined travelogue-cum-political reportage . . . excels in bringing the place, politics and history of this fragile region alive.”--(Ethan Gilsdorf)
Outside
“[Morrison] avoids the evangelical zeal and naïve prescriptions other Africa books fall victim to . . . [while] the more adventuresome portions of The Black Nile keep it from reading like a textbook . . . [as] Morrison teeters dangerously close to gunfights, disease, and run-ins with the authorities while relying on former rebels, proto-entrepreneurs, and crooked bureaucrats to get him through.”
Fox News Channel
"The only thing more vivid would be traveling the river yourself. Then again, you may be a little more skittish about contested borders, rampaging militias and tiny plank-board boats than Dan Morrison is. The Black Nile is eye-opening, breath-taking, heart-pounding and, frankly, all the adventure I’m up for now.” --(Ellis Henican)
Kirkus Reviews
An American journalist's intrepid adventure on the legendary Nile. Tired of piecemeal journalism work from a "fast-shrinking roster of newspapers and magazines," Morrison empowered himself by taking a perilous 4,000-mile journey from Lake Victoria to Rosetta, Egypt, by various means of transportation. The trip was broken up over the course of six months because of visa restrictions between warring north and south Sudan. At first the author was to be accompanied by his best friend from North Carolina, Schon, who joined him in Kampala, Uganda, and helped secure the building of their paddle boat. They finally got going from Jinja after weeks of idleness. By the time they reached Juba, Schon was out of vacation time and had to return home. Morrison resumed his travels alone, jumping from one political hotspot to another thanks to the kindness of strangers, such as a motley assortment of Western aid workers and good Samaritans on a humanitarian barge, where he learned about the ongoing tribal travails between the cattle-herding Nuer and Dinka peoples. Through the swamps of the Sudd he reached oil-rich Malakal, riven by gunmen and malarial microbes, but he was confounded by visa restrictions and flew back to Cairo. Months later, finding himself again marooned in rainy Malakal, "without luck and without connection," he cobbled together enough transports to reach Kosti and then Khartoum, where the White Nile merges magnificently with the Blue Nile. The trip to the engineering marvel of the Aswan High Dam forms the narrative climax, but the last stint into upper Egypt is rather skimpy. An unorthodox travelogue-uneven in places but packed with illuminating, gritty detail. Local author events in New York
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143119371
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/26/2011
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author


Dan Morrison has written for the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, San Francisco Chronicle, US News & World Report, and the Christian Science Monitor.

Sean Runnette, a multiple AudioFile Earphones Award winner, has produced several Audie Award–winning audiobooks. He is a member of the American Repertory Theater company, and his television and film appearances include Two If by Sea, Copland, Sex and the City, Law & Order, and Third Watch.

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Read an Excerpt

Slate: “Payback in Kampala: Why did a band of Somali Islamists bomb World Cup viewing parties in Uganda?” by Dan Morrison (7/12/10) slate.com/id/2260235/
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 22, 2010

    Powerful Writing and an Unforgettable Journey

    In "The Black Nile," Dan Morrison takes the reader on a gripping, amusing, well-researched and ultimately profound trip on the Nile, from its Ugandan wellsprings to Alexandria. Along the way he encounters both the familiar -- a far cry from the way Westerners often depict Africa - and the dangerous: well-armed crazies, religious radicals, brash exploiters and creepy quick-buck artists. The writing is fresh, honest and novelistic, laced with pertinent history and fast-moving anecdotes. The characters are well-drawn, including that of Morrison's close friend and traveling partner, who is one part adventurer and another part cautionary straight-man. The book is visceral at times, causing me to imagine myself as an explorer. I suggest everyone take this heart-pounding trip. It is truly a great adventure, but be forewarned: It ain't Disneyland, and you're not likely to forget it.

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