"As the journey unfolds, the Sahara reveals not the emptiness of endless sand dunes, but a huge and diverse range of cultures and landscapes and a long history of civilization, trade, commerce and conquest stretching from the time of the ancient Egyptians to the oil-rich Islamic republics of today." Starting and finishing his adventure in the once stable, now uncertain colony of Gibraltar, Palin crosses the Strait to Morocco, and pauses in Fez and Marrakesh before traversing the mighty Atlas Mountains. In the stony, hostile wastes of Western
"As the journey unfolds, the Sahara reveals not the emptiness of endless sand dunes, but a huge and diverse range of cultures and landscapes and a long history of civilization, trade, commerce and conquest stretching from the time of the ancient Egyptians to the oil-rich Islamic republics of today." Starting and finishing his adventure in the once stable, now uncertain colony of Gibraltar, Palin crosses the Strait to Morocco, and pauses in Fez and Marrakesh before traversing the mighty Atlas Mountains. In the stony, hostile wastes of Western Algeria he spends time in one of the refugee camps of the Saharawis, a population in exile. Recovering from an overdose of camel stew, he heads south to Mauritania, where he rides the longest train in the world, finds a holy city half-engulfed by sand, and nearly gets run over by the Paris-Dakar Rally. Arriving in Dakar a few days behind them, he samples the city's exhausting nightlife, then takes a train to the heart of Mali, home of great music, the largest mud building in the world, and the great River Niger, on which Michael rides to the legendary city of Timbuktu. He walks with nomadic herders and rides with a Touareg camel caravan through Niger, scales the Hoggar Mountains and flies into the oilfields of Algeria, before investigating Colonel Gaddafi's Libya and the stunning classical remains of Tunisia, where Life of Brian was filmed and Palin crucified.
Fifty years after he was given his first book, Tales from the Arabian Nights, consummate traveler and Monty Python founding member Palin trekked to Francophone Africa, believing that the Sahara embodies "the thin line between survival and destruction, the power to take life or to transform it." Fortunately for his readers, the Sahara seems to have transformed Palin (Around the World in 80 Days, Full Circle). This tie-in to the Bravo series airing in April consists of Palin's journal entries, full of his trademark self-deprecating humor (writing about the far-removed city of Djenne, which a British tour group nonetheless infiltrated, Palin confesses that "I know I shouldn't feel this way, but when I'm asked if I've ever been to Stoke-on-Trent all my romantic illusions of desert travel begin to wilt"). But Palin is also a piquant political observer (he notes that African women may be "by nature more direct, more open, more honest and considerably less submissive than their menfolk expect them to be"), and the Sahara's exoticism frequently inspires him to craft beautiful descriptions (the bizarre "battleship-grey" baobab trees "look like some prehistorical arboreal throwback, gnarled and twisted like old prize-fighters"). Readers looking for engaging, detailed insight to the Sahara will hit paydirt here, although newcomers to Palin's work may find themselves dismayed by his ubiquitous appearance in the photographs that dot nearly every page of this book. 175 color and b&w photos. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
In this narrative, Palin, one of the founding members of Monty Python, fulfills a lifelong fantasy to travel across the Sahara Desert. His fascination with this harsh and uncompromising part of the world began when he was given a copy of Tales from the Arabian Nights. From Gibraltar, Palin starts and ends his journey across one of the world's most fascinating yet hostile environments. Accompanied by a film crew for a series airing on Bravo, Palin chronicles his journal entries for each stopping place, destination, or watering hole along the way. Across the Strait to Morocco, he stops in Fez and Marrakech before beginning the trek across the Atlas Mountains. The author then moves on to Mauritania, Dakar, Mali, and the River Niger. Throughout, the listener is introduced to exotic and simple foods, walks alongside nomadic herdsmen, rides with a Touareg camel caravan, climbs the Hoggar Mountains, and finally flies over Algeria's oilfields. Borders and frontiers-some safe, many extremely dangerous-and nationalities that trace many of their customs back to colonial overseers heighten the mystery and danger of the Sahara. Palin brings into focus the complex issues facing this region and the simmering tensions that lurk just beneath the surface. He is a writer and world traveler with a large following; as a reader of his own words, his latest entry in this venue will not disappoint his many fans, or even newcomers to his work. Highly recommended for all public library collections.-Gloria Maxwell, Penn Valley Community Coll., Kansas City, MO Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Michael Palin established his reputation with Monty Python's Flying Circus and Ripping Yarns. His work also includes several films with Monty Python as well as The Missionary, A Private Function, an award-winning performance as Ken in A Fish Called Wanda, as well as Fierce Creatures. He has also written several books to accompany his very successful travel series.