Men of Salt: Book summary and reviews of Men of Salt by Michael Benanav

Men of Salt

Crossing the Sahara On the Caravan of White Gold

by Michael Benanav

Men of Salt by Michael Benanav
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2006
    256 pages
    Genre: Biographies/Memoirs

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Book Summary

Century after century, camels and their drivers have traveled the sands between the fabled city of Timbuktu and the infamous salt mines of Taoudenni, hauling supplies from the proverbial end of the earth to an even farther-flung outpost, deep in Mali's slice of the Sahara. They return laden with tombstone-sized slabs of solid salt. While nearly all of the great trans-Saharan trade routes have disappeared, the Caravan of White Gold--so called because the salt was once literally worth its weight in gold--marches on, spared by unmatched isolation. Hearing that the caravans were threatened by the introduction of trucks, author Benanav joined a caravan, becoming one of the few Westerners to do so. Following his amused guide, Walid, Benanav lived for weeks among the camel drivers, marching eighteen hours a day for nearly a thousand miles through sandstorms and searing heat. Along the way, he learned how to care for and ride camels, mastered the three-cup morning tea ceremony, and played doctor to impoverished salt miners.

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Media Reviews

'[R]eaders can rest assured that Benanav's ordeal was worth the travail ... An engaging account of proudly going native, enduring and prevailing on a rugged road.' - Kirkus.
'Readers will be enchanted by the author's introspective telling of the mental and physical challenges of traversing part of the Sahara's punishing terrain.' - Library Journal.
'Starred review. This is that rare work that takes readers beyond their imaginations.' - PW.

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