Synopses & Reviews
Of all the anarchic and war-torn African nations, none is more forbidding than Liberia, the land that nurtured child soldiers, the violent trade in "blood diamonds," even ritual murder. Graham Greene, in search of extreme adventure, ventured through its dense jungles to write the travel classic Journey Without Maps; three-quarters of a century later, Tim Butcher decided to follow Greene's footsteps, only to find the path even more ominous and overgrown than in his predecessor's day. Among the devils he encounters are masked sorcerers whose magical powers depend on cannibalism and missionaries long forgotten in the hinterland he traverses. Butcher, a former African correspondent for the London Telegraph and author of Blood River, his best-selling account of a dramatic journey through the Congo, has produced in this thrilling sequel a book that The Independent hails as "fascinating, harrowing, and eventful."
"In 2004, journalist Butcher (Blood River) made a journey through the Congo, following a trail blazed by the 19th-century adventurer and author Henry Morton Stanley and tracing the evolution of a region and its people. Several years later, he contemplated another journey through African regions whose political instabilities he had been covering. This time Butcher used Graham Greene's little-known 1935 travel book, Journey Without Maps, as his guide on the 350-mile trek from Freetown, on the coast of Sierra Leone, to the coast of Liberia. Greene's route took Butcher through the remote backcountry of both countries and brought him into contact with the people living there. Butcher weaves reflections on Greene's writing through his own reflections on the ways that each region has changed in the intervening decades. He compares the shabby and seedy Freetown, in spite of its well-maintained buildings, in Greene's Heart of the Matter, to what he sees as the city's current systemic post-war corruption, flat-lining economy, and beachfront swarmed by prostitutes. Through his captivating storytelling, Butcher leads readers along through the dangers and the exhilarations of this trip, and we learn with him the value of taking time to savor the true smell and taste of a place. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"It is an inspirational account of humanity's wonderful spirit to survive and proof that, in Tim Butcher, Africa has a worthy chronicler." Desmond Tutu
"This adventurous book, in the footsteps of Graham Greene, in many ways goes deeper than Greene, and shows the enduring beauty and danger in Sierra Leone and Liberia" Paul Theroux
"Amazing. As history, as anthropology, as a ripping yarn. Both exploration of an epic journey--and a hard yet sympathetic look at a Utopia-gone wrong." Anthony Bourdain
The audacious, gripping travelogue of a writer chasing the ghost of Graham Greene into the heart of Africa.
About the Author
Tim Butcher is an award-winning journalist and best-selling author. His first book, Blood River, was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize. He lives in Cape Town, South Africa.