A Sahara Unveiled: A Journey Across the Desert

A Sahara Unveiled: A Journey Across the Desert

3.6 5
by William Langewiesche
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

In our imagination, the desert is a scorching flatland, a palm grove like a shimmering green line floating in the distance, an ocean of dunes. You can close your eyes to see it. When William Langewiesche set out to document the state of the Sahara desert he was determined to see just what came before his eyes: nothing more or less. The result is an unsentimentalized,… See more details below

Overview

In our imagination, the desert is a scorching flatland, a palm grove like a shimmering green line floating in the distance, an ocean of dunes. You can close your eyes to see it. When William Langewiesche set out to document the state of the Sahara desert he was determined to see just what came before his eyes: nothing more or less. The result is an unsentimentalized, often startling account of the desert. From the southernmost Mediterranean to the African Savannah and west to the Atlantic, Langewiesche's trek took him through the hyper-arid core of the desert, a terrain that taunts the imagination with its unalterable desolation. Here cadavers decompose like sun-dried dates, horizons are so barren that stones are mistaken for trucks, distances so empty that migrating birds have been observed seeking the company of humans. Langewiesche's descriptions of the physical desert are brilliantly matched by his explorations of its psychological landscape: the bitter colonial history, the stoicism of the nomads, the austerity of Islam. Despite the passing of the camel and the caravan, the Sahara remains without compromise. William Langewiesche blends history and reportage, anthropology and anecdote, into an unforgettable portrait of the unsubdued heart of the Sahara unveiled.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
PW praised this "vivid account" of a journalist's trek from Algiers to Dakar. (July)
Library Journal
Langewiesche's journey begins at the Mediterranean in Algiers. Hitching rides on trucks, he heads south into increasingly desolate territory, passing through the Algerian towns of Biskra and Ta-ranasset, on into Mali, Niger, and finally to Mauritania, on the Atlantic. He is most interested in the present-day people of the Sahara and how they cope with their inhospitable desert environment and with the modern world. A foreign correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly and a commercial pilot, Langewiesche writes in an economical, straightforward style that unflaggingly retains interest. He points out that the old ways of life for Saharans are no longer possible but that attempts at modernization are doomed because the Sahara cannot be subdued. He offers no solutions. In attempting to be "unsentimental," Langewiesche comes across as humorless and relentlessly negative. His assessments seem somewhat distorted by a deeply cynical general attitude and by plain physical discomfort. He is an adventurous traveler but a grumpy one. Recommended for public libraries and African studies collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 3/1/96.]Mary C. Kalfatovic, Telesec Lib. Svce., Washington, D.C.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780679750062
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
06/28/1997
Series:
Vintage Departures Series
Edition description:
Reprinted Edition
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
637,556
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.99(h) x 0.83(d)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >