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5+ teosta 1,400 jäsentä 51 arvostelua 3 Favorited

Tietoja tekijästä

Tim Butcher worked for the Daily Telegraph from 1990 to 2009 as chief war correspondent, Africa bureau chief, and Middle East correspondent. His first book, Blood River, was a number-one bestseller in the UK and was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize. He lives in Cape Town.

Includes the name: Tim Butcher

Tekijän teokset

Associated Works

Pimeyden sydän (1899) — Johdanto, eräät painokset23,570 kappaletta
Oxtravels: Meetings with Remarkable Travel Writers (2011) — Avustaja — 57 kappaletta

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This book is best for the understanding it gives you of the situation in Africa at it’s worst. October 2011
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BBrookes | 39 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Dec 2, 2023 |
I read this book because I really liked the authors previous book, Blood River. Mr Butcher, is a much stronger and more adventurous person than I am. After the hell he endured chronicling the story for Blood River, he decided to double down and travel by foot the same path Graham Greene did in "Journey Without Maps"- from 1935. This book takes place in 2009, and in many ways the countries visited in the book: Sierra Leone, Liberia and a couple of days in Guinea, have not changed in nearly 75 years. Except to become worse. These are countries that have not had any real level of stability for the last 40 years, having been run by extremely corrupt governments who were brutally violent, against their perceived enemies, and who buried their countries with horrible pointless wars. Add to this the fact that this area of the world exposes people to yellow fever, Lassa, Ebola, Malaria, and lord knows what other pathogens, that the people in the West only read about, and yet the author thought walking on barely defined jungle trails would be a worthy adventure to write about. Thank god there are people like Tim Butcher, who can expose to the reader, countries like these, while also giving history and insight into why these countries are the way they are, and how sadly much of the projects and work of the UN and NGO's makes little or no difference. (My opinion, not necessarily the authors). I would love to meet this author and find out more than he divulged in the book as to why he would undertake such a difficult endeavor, as this that he wrote about in Chasing The Devil.… (lisätietoja)
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zmagic69 | 5 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Mar 31, 2023 |
I have always wanted to travel down the Congo River, from deep in the Congo to the Atlantic coast. But never dared doing so, through a country completely bankrupt and lawless. Tim Butcher did, in 2004, and wrote a fascinating book about it, “Blood River” (2006). Maybe he really wanted to travel the route the explorer Henry Morton Stanley took, in 1877, when he became the first Westerner to travel from the east to the west coast of the continent, and especially, discovered the Congo River, hitherto unknown to Western map makers. Or maybe he wanted to see where his mother travelled in colonial luxury in the 1950. But I think he just had the same obsession as I had, go down that river.
He quickly establishes that his is not adventure travel, no, he calls it ordeal travel. Every part is a major challenge, firstly organising transport in a country where there is none, and then actually moving from one to the next place. The first part is a gruelling couple of days on the back of a motor bike, but he also travels by UN patrol boat, by canoe, by another UN chartered barge. None of the travel is fun, but at least on the road, or the river, he feels slightly safer than in the towns. What he encounters on the way is a country totally lawless, ruled by local strongmen and gangs, vaguely linked to political entities but mostly after their own, immediate and uncontrolled interest, in the process terrorising everybody else. And what he describes is a country going backwards, from a relatively well developed infrastructure under Belgian colonial rule to a place not unlike the one encountered by Stanley: the roads have disappeared again, have been reduced to narrow tracks; the only remnant of the railway is an overgrown sleeper; rusty metal hulls are all that is left of ships that used to sail up and down the river frequently. In the jungle there is nothing that reminds one of what we would consider normal life. One of his most poignant observations is that the older generations have, in fact, been exposed to more modernity that the younger ones – the inverse of what is considered normal in the rest of the world.
Throughout his journey Mr Butcher lives in constant fear. And you wonder what for, in the end. You know, apart from the occasional character he finds – a Belgian priest who arrived in the 1940s, or a British spinster, who has spent her entire life in the Congo, or some extremely helpful aid workers, both expatriate and local – apart from those people, there is really nothing to see, apart from green jungle and muddy river, and the occasional dilapidated town. That he manages to reach the Atlantic coast, alive and in less than two months, is a major achievement, for which I have the utmost respect, never mind that during reading the book I often referred to Mr Butcher as the lunatic. The other thing he achieved is that I don’t need to make that trip anymore, myself.
… (lisätietoja)
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theonearmedcrab | 39 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Nov 5, 2022 |
In 2004, British journalist Tim Butcher took his life in his hands and traveled the interior of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). He followed the approximate path of Henry Morton Stanley, the explorer that found David Livingstone in 1871 and went back in 1874 to map the Congo River. Between descriptions of his journey, Butcher tells the history of the country, including Stanley’s expedition, colonial rule by the Belgians, post-colonial political upheaval, and uprisings that have brought regular bouts of violence to the region.

He was also inspired by his mother, who, in 1958, crossed the Congo by train. That train and its infrastructure have since been reclaimed by the jungle. Butcher explains how a country so rich in natural resources –diamonds, cobalt, copper, oil, palm products, rubber – can remain underdeveloped and the bulk of its people living in deprivation. This country is one of the few that had gone backwards from fifty years before, primarily due to corruption, exploitation, lack of leadership, and lawlessness.

It is a description of an amazing 44-day journey through close to 3000 kilometers of jungle on foot, motorbike, pirogue, and riverboat, not knowing exactly where he would stay the night and relying on a network of contacts he had made before the trip. He connects with United Nations employees, humanitarian workers, and missionaries. He sees and describes how the people live, both in the bush and the decaying cities. He dodges militia carrying AK47s, survives on cassava, and suffers disease. He also meets caring Congolese that offer hospitality despite possessing few resources.

Tim Butcher writes in a direct style and does not shy away from expressing his opinions. This book is so much more than a travelogue. It provides an informative history of the DRC, while documenting an extremely challenging journey, offering perspective on the immense issues facing the country, and providing thoughts on the outlook for the Congolese people. It is eye-opening and inspired me to look up the recent history of the DRC to find out what has happened since 2007, when this book was published.
… (lisätietoja)
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Castlelass | 39 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Oct 30, 2022 |



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