South from Barbary: Along the Slave Routes of the Libyan Sahara

South from Barbary: Along the Slave Routes of the Libyan Sahara

by Justin Marozzi
     
 

Justin Marozzi and his travelling companion Ned had never travelled in the desert, nor had they ridden camels before embarking on this expedition. Encouraged by a series of idiosyncratic Touareg and Tubbu guides, they learnt the full range of desert survival skills, including how to master their five faithful camels. The caravan of two explorers, five camels with

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Overview

Justin Marozzi and his travelling companion Ned had never travelled in the desert, nor had they ridden camels before embarking on this expedition. Encouraged by a series of idiosyncratic Touareg and Tubbu guides, they learnt the full range of desert survival skills, including how to master their five faithful camels. The caravan of two explorers, five camels with distinctive personalities and their guides undertook a gruelling journey across some of the most inhospitable territory on earth. Despite threats from Libyan officialdom and the ancient, natural hardships of the desert, Marozzi and Ned found themselves growing ever closer to the land and its people. More than a travelogue, "South from Barbary" is a fascinating history of Saharan exploration and efforts by early British explorers to suppress the African slave trade. It evokes the poetry and solitude of the desert, the companionship of man and beast, the plight of a benighted nation, and the humour and generosity of its resilient people.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal - Library Journal
In this contemporary desert travelog, British-born journalist Marozzi recounts his 1500-mile journey by camel through the Libyan Sahara. It is the story of two men, Marozzi and his companion, who seek adventure by embarking on a prolonged journey in the Sahara, enduring numerous inconveniences and endlessly fussing about everything. Though the book is heavily interlaced with historical insights and abundantly references accounts by previous travelers, the author's indignation and incessant complaints make the work more irritating than informing. Marozzi's political tirades and satirical commentaries are humorless, their veracity compromised by an obsessive disdain for Libya's political leadership and a permeating ethnocentricity. The narrative betrays a shocking degree of arrogance and insensitivity and is redeemed, perhaps, only by the author's compassion for his camels. Despite a dedication to detail and occasionally fine prose, Marozzi has written a story that will interest few readers, annoy many, and captivate none. An optional purchase at best.-Edward K. Owusu-Ansah, CUNY Coll. of Staten Island Lib., NY Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
British journalist Marozzi debuts with a glib, often self-deprecating account of his three-month, 1,150-mile camel trek across the Libyan Sahara Desert. The now-33-year-old author was reporting in the Philippines when he started planning his impractical journey. Six years previously, Marozzi had accompanied his father on a visit to the Libyan capital city of Tripoli and could not put the sights, smells, and sounds from that trip out of his mind. While there he had visited a rare English-language bookstore and purchased an account of an early-19th-century British desert expedition into the Libyan Sahara. Reading the high-spirited tale back in London, Marozzi relates, "I felt the pull of the desert and started to dream of a similar journey by camel." The fantasy did not become a reality until, in 1999, his long-time friend, a Dorset farmer who liked to travel, agreed to make the journey. "Neither of us knew the first thing about desert travel," the author confesses. So they read books and interviewed desert veterans, while Marozzi studied Arabic with a tutor. "Although one of the expressions he recommended for use in Libya helped put us under hotel arrest for a week," the author remarks, "another had the benefit of saving us several hundred dollars when procuring a desert guide in Tmissah." The account of the journey itself is as gripping as it is funny. Even with lots of advance study and the employment of experienced guides, it's hard work riding camels through a desert that is blazingly hot by day and freezing cold at night, parched in most places but wet at oases, and unforgiving at every time and place. (It can be dangerous, too.) Along the sandy route, Marozzi works in material onLibyan history as well as current politics, with Gaddafi receiving dozens of mentions. Unfailingly interesting and downright refreshing: travel-writing for true adventurers as well armchair ones.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780006531173
Publisher:
HarperCollins UK
Publication date:
08/01/2003
Pages:
354
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.00(d)

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