Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyA ``Blackamerican,'' as he calls himself, Harris ( Mississippi Solo ) spent a year traveling throughout Africa. His magnificent book is a search for roots, an adventurous travelogue, a cry from the heart, a political dissection of oppressive regimes and a lyrical love song to a continent. It will almost certainly stir controversy and debate. Seeking a motherland, the author was shocked by the fatalism, racism, passivity and tribal backwardness he found among native blacks. White colonial overlords have been replaced, he writes, by one-party military regimes led by ``a brotherhood of thugs guarding their positions and powers.'' Heartbreakingly beautiful scenes alternate with horrifying depictions of poverty, disease, pervasive corruption and empty, wasted lives. In his mastery of language, glinting irony, poetic prose and uncanny powers of observation, Harris is the equal of Paul Theroux and Bruce Chatwin. BOMC and QPB al ter nates. (Feb.)
Library JournalHarris ( Mississippi Solo , LJ 10/15/88) describes the face and heart of Africa in what is much more than an extraordinarily well-written travelog. He takes seriously his idea: ``To go where they go, to eat what they eat, to walk this mile in their shoes; these are the things a traveler must do.'' Harris squats with nomads on the border of Senegal, rides like a Berber horseman in the Arab North, and joins a British party seeking gorillas in Zaire. He is a vividly descriptive and sympathetic observer, and his first-person account provides insights into sensitive African American questions. Although he starts his journey looking for a sense of belonging, Harris discovers that he is very much the product of American culture, education, and opportunity. Both an exploration of the African continent and a geography of the black American soul, this book is highly recommended for most libraries. BOMC and Quality Paperback Book Club alternates.-- Susan Fifer Canby, National Geographic Soc. Lib., Washington, D.C.
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