Published to rave reviews in the United Kingdom and named a Richard & Judy Book Club selectionthe only work of nonfiction on the 2008 list Blood River is the harrowing and audacious story of Tim Butchers journey in the Congo and his retracing of renowned explorer H. M. Stanleys famous 1874 expedition in which he mapped the Congo River.
When Daily Telegraph correspondent Tim Butcher was sent to Africa in 2000 he quickly became obsessed with the legendary Congo River and the idea of recreating Stanleys legendary journey along the three-thousand-mile waterway. Despite warnings that his plan was suicidal, Butcher set out for the Congos eastern border with just a rucksack and a few thousand dollars hidden in his boots. Making his way in an assortment of vehicles, including a motorbike and a dugout canoe, helped along by a cast of characters from UN aid workers to a pygmy rights advocate, he followed in the footsteps of the great Victorian adventurers.
An utterly absorbing narrative that chronicles Tim Butchers forty-four-day journey along the Congo River, Blood River is an unforgettable story of exploration and survival.
The title, Blood River, speaks volumes for the history of the region that Butcher describes as 'Africa's broken heart'. Interweaving anecdotes and historical accounts from earlier colonial explorers (such as H.M. Stanley and David Livingstone), Butcher portrays a Congo that is mostly forgotten, misunderstood, little known and destroyed. (Reviewed by Fiona Lorrain).
What Butcher's tale lacks in political analysis is redeemed by the honesty of his writing and his genuine attempt to bring international interest to the Congo and the struggles of its citizens.
Butcher's story is a full-throated lament for large-scale human potential wasted with no reasonable end in sight.
Starred Review. After [Butcher's] trip, so eloquently described here, he may be the only Western journalist with such a handle on that vast region . . . A brilliant account of a broken land, one that certainly deserves the attention this excellent book brings.
The Guardian Blood River is a gripping, passionate and deeply disturbing portrait of central Africa today. In its final pages, Butcher writes of his extraordinary journey, I "touched the heart of Africa and found it broken". We can weep for this betrayed, failed land, but please don't go there.
The day of the solitary intrepid traveler is not over. Tim Butcher's extraordinary, audacious journey through the Congo is worthy of the great nineteenth-century explorers. Completely enthralling but also a thoughtful and sobering portrait of modern Africa.
John Le Carre
Quite superb ... a masterpiece.
Alexander McCall Smith
A remarkable, fascinating book by a courageous and perceptive writer. One of the most exciting books to emerge from Africa in recent years.
For much of it's length, the Congo River forms the border between The Republic
of Congo and The Democratic Republic of Congo (map of Africa). Both countries and the
river are named for the early settlers to the area known as the Kongo people, and for the Kingdom of
Kongo which controlled much of the area between about 1400 and 1914:
The Republic of Congo Also known as Congo-Brazzerville or the Congo, The Republic of Congo was a
former French colony which gained independence in 1960 and currently has a
population of a little over four million. From 1970 to 1992
it was run as a Marxist-Leninist single-party state, having signed a twenty-year
friendship pact with the Soviet Union. A democratically elected government took
control in 1992, but civil war in 1997 returned longtime President Denis Sassou-Nguesso to power leading to a period of ethnic and political unrest.
A peace agreement was reached in 2003 but the calm is tenuous and about half the
population live below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a...
In June 1998, Tori McClure set out to row across the Atlantic Ocean by herself in a twenty-three-foot plywood boat with no motor or sail. It was a journey that affected her life in unexpected ways for years to come.
The riveting life story of hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina who, as his country was being torn apart by violence during the Rwandan genocide of 1994, sheltered more than 12,000 members of the Tutsi clan and Hutu moderates, while homicidal mobs raged outside with machetes.
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