...the height of [Rick Antonson's journey is a visit to the fabled libraries holding ancient manuscripts in the city that is a UNESCO World Heritage site. In this second edition of his 2008 book, Antonson updates readers on the volatility in the region that threatens the safety of irreplaceable artifacts and manuscripts. Photos and maps enhance this beautifully written narrative of travel and the endangered ancient heritage of a city famous for scholarship, salt, and gold.
Antonson combines wry humour with shrewd observation to deliver an armchair experience to the elusive Timbuktu that will linger long after the last page is read.
Antonson's trek, via goat and donkey trail, to his guide Zak's home region of Dogon is a sweet story of bonding and cultural discovery. To Timbuktu for a Haircut is a good read.
Travel Africa - Matt Phillips
This is not a story written to glorify a modest, modern adventure - it is about closing old doors and opening new ones.
This trip is for all of us armchair voyagers. We're left with the understanding that Timbuktu is 'more a passage than a destination, more a pilgrimage than a journey.
www.connectedtraveller.com - Russell Johnson
Antonson entertains without boring us with his inner demons and without the 'us and them' cynicism of some travel writers.
Westworld - Jane Sweeney
To Timbuktu for a Haircut ... is honest, thought-provoking and funny.
The Vancouver Sun - Robert J. Wiersema
Antonson handles the joys and occasional frustrations of his trip in vivid, straightforward prose and with a wry sense of humour ... he manages to strike the perfect balance between the journey and the traveller.
Allure of Timbuktu draws adventurers-and satisfies.
Africa Travel Monthly
For this trip, Antonson decided against his usual air travel and instead made the journey on the ground - by train, boat, car, camel and foot. The result, as recounted in his impressive new book, To Timbuktu for a Haircut, is a quixotic quest, alternately funny and thought-provoking.
Seven Oaks Magazine - George Fetherling
Like much of the most rewarding travel literature, Mr. Atonson's narrative turns out to be more revealing of the terrain travelled than of the intended destination.
Winnipeg Free Press - Bill Rambo
It is the journey, not the destination, that matters in this absorbing book.
Georgia Straight - Carolyn Ali
Reading this book makes you feel like this might be your experience if you attempted the trip yourself. It's good beach reading for those who will probably never touch the sands of the Sahara - at least not yet.
North Shore News - John Goodman
The book is full of humour and insights gained from a personal voyage of discovery.
"As with all great travel memoirs, Antonson's journey is about self-discovery and arrival at the final destination; that is, it is part personal odyssey and part social history."
From the Publisher
…Antonson heads out, first by tracking down a veritable ghost train almost as mythic as the city itself, running from Dakar, Senegal, to Bamako, Mali. His obsession is palpable. I felt the need to know what lay ahead as much as he did. Vancouver Review
Globe and Mail
...nicely embroidered with local tones and textures, a regional history of West Africa, the Tuareg people and accounts of early European exploration.
Anyone interested in traveling to Africa should put Antonsons book on the list, right after malaria tablets.
Antonson's (story) is engagingly real, laying bare his frustrations and doubts. A month of travel might not seem like enough to stretch into a whole book, but Antonson's storytelling flows so well that the blow-by-blow account never gets tedious.
From a ride up the River Niger to an open-air music festival in the desert, from the sudden close friendships that bloom during such travel to the machinations of an unscrupulous tour coordinator who seems intent on foiling his travel goals at every juncture, Antonson handles the joys and occasional frustrations of his trip in vivid, straightforward prose and with a wry sense of humour.