The Washington Post
Blood River: A Journey to Africa's Broken Heartby Tim Butcher
Published to rave reviews in the United Kingdom and named a Richard & Judy Book Club selectionthe only work of nonfiction on the 2008 listBlood River is the harrowing and audacious story of Tim Butcher's journey in the Congo and his retracing of renowned explorer H. M. Stanley's famous 1874 expedition in which he mapped the Congo River. When/i>
Published to rave reviews in the United Kingdom and named a Richard & Judy Book Club selectionthe only work of nonfiction on the 2008 listBlood River is the harrowing and audacious story of Tim Butcher's journey in the Congo and his retracing of renowned explorer H. M. Stanley's famous 1874 expedition in which he mapped the Congo River. When Daily Telegraph correspondent Tim Butcher was sent to Africa in 2000 he quickly became obsessed with the legendary Congo River and the idea of re-creating Stanley's legendary journey along the three-thousand-mile waterway. Despite warnings that his plan was suicidal, Butcher set out for the Congo's eastern border with just a rucksack and a few thousand dollars hidden in his boots. Making his way in an assortment of vehicles, including a motorbike and a dugout canoe, helped along by a cast of characters from UN aid workers to a pygmy-rights advocate, he followed in the footsteps of the great Victorian adventurers. An utterly absorbing narrative that chronicles Tim Butcher's forty-four-day journey along the Congo River, Blood River is an unforgettable story of exploration and survival.
The Washington Post
"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 © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Part adventure travelog and part historical narrative, this book chronicles Daily Telegraph correspondent Butcher's intrepid journey across the heart of the Congo. As the Telegraph's African bureau chief, Butcher sought to appease his growing obsession with this troubled African nation by retracing H.M. Stanley's famous 1874 mapping expedition of the Congo River. Thus ensued an amazing 44-day adventure through some of the Congo's most dangerous regions, many untraveled in decades. Thankfully, the text offers more than just a solitary explorer's romp and reflection through Africa. Although at times caught up in his personal struggles with loneliness, disease, and fatigue, Butcher does manage to accomplish a greater good. He shares the stories of ordinary people, aid workers, and missionaries all desperately trying to subsist in a country lacking the fundamentals of law and order. It is in these moments that his book shines. What Butcher's tale lacks in political analysis is redeemed by the honesty of his writing and his genuine attempt to bring international interest to the Congo and the struggles of its citizens. Recommended for large public libraries and academic libraries with African studies, geography, or travel collections.
“Blood River represents a remarkable marriage of travelogue and history, which deserves to make Tim Butcher a star for his prose, as well as his courage.”–Max Hastings
“Tim Butcher deserves a medal for this crazy feat. I marvel at his courage and his empathy.”–Thomas Pakenham
- Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.30(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.30(d)
Meet the Author
Tim Butcher has worked for the Daily Telegraph since 1990 as foreign affairs leader writer, defense correspondent and Africa Bureau Chief. He is currently living in Jerusalem where he is The Telegraph’s Middle East correspondent.
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