Sunday, April 7, 2013

Africa: Lost and Found

Africa holds the largest desert, greatest jungles, mythic rivers, and a intense, almost destructive draw for European explorers.  Here's my smattering of books on the second largest continent. 

1.  The Lost Cities of Africa, Basil Davidson (1959).  Fifteen hundred years before Europeans explored the interior of Africa, cities thrived with trade.  Davidson tells the story of these lost cities through the detective work of archeology .  Bought used State Department Bookstore.  


2.  The Africans, David Lamb (1985).  Part travelogue, part history, Lamb traveled 300,000 miles through sub-Saharan Africa.  Lamb talks with Presidents-for-life, guerrilla leaders, and even witch doctors.  Bought used State Department Bookstore.  


3.  Venture To the Interior, Laurens Van Der Post (1952).  Van Der Post lead an extraordinary life as a a farmer, soldier, prisoner-of-war and writer.  This story is of his trek to one of the most remote areas of Central Africa.  Van Der Post faces hostile locals but is profoundly affected by the scenery.  Some black and white maps.  Bought used State Department Bookstore. 


 4.  To Timbuktu: A Journey Down the Niger, Mark Jenkins (1997).   Two American friends return fifteen years after their first attempt to reach the city of legend, Timbuktu.  Color photos.  Bought through a remainder book catalog.

5.  Sahara Unveiled: A Journey Across the Desert, William Langewiesche (1996).  Desolation beyond imagination.  Langewiesche experiences mirages, psychological challenges and the nomads of the world's largest desert.  Some pictures.  Bought used in a used book store now forgotten. 

6.  African Discovery: An Anthology of Exploration, Perham & Simmons (1957).  A Hall of Fame collection of explorers: Mungo Park, David Livingstone, Morton Stanley, Sir Richard Francis Burton.  Illustrated with maps and vintage drawings.  Interior book sticker showing "Blackwell's Oxford, England"  An indecipherable name penned inside.  Bought somewhere.   


7.  King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa, Adam Hochschild (1999).  Horrifying account of the attorcities carried out by Belgian King Leopold II.  Hoschschild comments that something about Africa causes Europeans to lose their minds.    Can't remember where I bought this. 


8.  Darkstar Safari, Paul Thereoux (see Paul Thereoux blog entry). 

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