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BookBrowse Reviews Blood River by Tim Butcher

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Blood River

The Terrifying Journey Through the World's Most Dangerous Country

by Tim Butcher

Blood River
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  • First Published:
    Oct 2008, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2009, 384 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Fiona Lorrain

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Butcher's journey was a remarkable feat, but the story of the Congo, told expertly and vividly in this book, is more remarkable still

Born in 1967 in Warwickshire, England, Tim Butcher was educated at Oxford before embarking upon his career as a journalist for The Daily Telegraph. Since then, he has covered such crises as the Balkan wars of the 1990s, the Allied invasion of Iraq in 2003, and Israel's 2006 struggle with Hezbollah in Lebanon. When he was posted to Africa in 1990 as the paper's chief war correspondent and Africa Bureau Chief, he grew eager to understand the Congo River (formerly known as the Zaire River) through a personal odyssey. This odyssey was to become a dangerous solo six-week journey, overland and by river, from Lake Tanganyika to Boma, close to where the river spews into the Atlantic.

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 ...

The Congo River
In many places The Congo is as turbulent and mysterious as the history of the countries that it runs through.  Even tying down seemingly basic facts such as its length are difficult, but roughly speaking it is about 2,920 miles long, which makes it the second longest river in Africa after the Nile. It travels through a number of countries during its journey to the Atlantic Ocean, but the majority of its length is spent within or bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The Congo River is one of the most voluminous in the world (most sources say it is second to the Amazon) discharging in the region of 1.5 million cubic feet of water per second. Because its watershed drains from both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres its flow is relatively stable all year because part of its watershed is always in the zone of rain.

The river ...

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