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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
One man's adventure may seem utter foolishness to another. For intrepid traveler and journalist Benanav, the trip of a lifetime could go either way. But this was a trek he was born to take, one that ignited his imagination and filled his mind with visions of exotic African landscapes and desert nomads on camelback à la Lawrence of Arabia.
The Caravan of White Gold has traveled the treacherous sands of the Sahara for over 1,000 years: proof that while man can exist without gold, he can't live without salt. Leading camels through the harsh terrain, men swathed in turbans, veils, and the odd T-shirt travel hundreds of miles from Timbuktu to the remote salt mines of Taoudenni, returning with enormous slabs of the precious "white gold."
Benanav bargained to accompany a caravan and with his guide joined the camel drivers, following an arduous and elusive trail. Slogging through 18-hour days, enduring windswept sandstorms, bone-searing heat, the regular consumption of sand, and pesky beetles crawling over him in his sleep, Benanav finds little to compare with the filmic world of David Lean. What is brought to light, however, is a small corner of Islamic culture to which few Westerners are granted a visa. Benanav's precise eye for detail is every bit as sharp as his wit; he fills the pages of this unusual work with a seemingly endless string of revelations. (Spring 2006 Selection)