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

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

3.4 9
by Dan Morrison
     
 

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A spectacular modern-day adventure along the Nile River from Lake Victoria to the Mediterranean Sea

With news of tenuous peace in Sudan, foreign correspondent Dan Morrison bought a plank-board boat, summoned a childhood friend who'd never been off American soil and set out from Uganda, paddling the White Nile on a quest to reach Cairo-a trip

Overview

A spectacular modern-day adventure along the Nile River from Lake Victoria to the Mediterranean Sea

With news of tenuous peace in Sudan, foreign correspondent Dan Morrison bought a plank-board boat, summoned a childhood friend who'd never been off American soil and set out from Uganda, paddling the White Nile on a quest to reach Cairo-a trip that tyranny and war had made impossible for decades.

Morrison's chronicle is a mashup of travel narrative and reportage, packed with flights into the frightful and the absurd. Through river mud that engulfs him and burning marshlands that darken the sky, he tracks the snarl of commonalities and conflicts that bleed across the Nile valley, bringing to life the waters that connect the hardscrabble fishing villages of Lake Victoria to the floating Cairo nightclubs where headscarved mothers are entertained by gyrating male dancers. In between are places and lives invisible to cable news and opinion blogs: a hidden oil war that has erased entire towns, secret dams that will flood still more and contested borderlands where acts of compassion and ingenuity defy appalling hardship and waste of life. As Morrison dodges every imaginable hazard, from militia gunfire to squalls of sand, his mishaps unfold in strange harmony with the breathtaking range of individuals he meets along the way. Relaying the voices of Sudanese freedom fighters and escaped Ugandan sex slaves, desert tribesmen and Egyptian tomb raiders, The Black Nile culminates in a visceral understanding of one of the world's most elusive hotspots, where millions strive to claw their way from war and poverty to something better-if only they could agree what that something is, whom to share it with, and how to get there.

With the propulsive force of a thriller, The Black Nile is rife with humor, humanity and fervid insight-an unparalleled portrait of a complex territory in profound transition.

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
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)
From the Publisher
"The Black Nile ...excels in bringing the place, politics and history of this fragile region alive." ---Boston Globe
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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101190357
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/12/2010
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
352
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

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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From the Publisher
"The Black Nile ...excels in bringing the place, politics and history of this fragile region alive." —-Boston Globe

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 also produced several Audie Award-winning audiobooks. His film and television appearances include Two If by Sea, Copland, Sex and the City, Law & Order, Third Watch, and lots and lots of commercials.

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The Black Nile: One Man's Amazing Journey Through Peace and War on the World's Longest River 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
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robpolner More than 1 year ago
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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