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AFRICA
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THE SAHARA

Trailblazer Guide: Sahara Overland

Trailblazer guides are strong on practical information yet don't neglect cultural background. They give all the best accommodation and eating options available and also advise on what's worth seeing and what's better to avoid. They tell you how to get there, what to pack and what to read before you go. Comprehensive background information on history, climate, food, and the people is combined with detailed sections on the environment and good maps. Entertaining as well as informative, the guides inspire readers not simply to travel but to interact with local people as well.

Call of the Desert: The Sahara, Philippe Bourseiller

Enraptured by the desert's magical light and amazingly diverse terrain--its spectacular dunes, stone fortresses, and Edenic oases-- Bourseiller embarked on a truly comprehensive photographic exploration of this enormous territory. Here, in 200 images ranging from the white sands of Arguin (Mauritania) to the colorful banks of the Niger river (Mali), from the rock paintings of Tassili n'Ajjer (Algeria) to the lakes of Ennedi (Chad), Bourseiller communicates his powerful experience of the desert. The text, by a number of Sahara specialists deepens our understanding of the history, people, and landscape of this fascinating area.

Skeletons on the Zahara: A True Story of Survival, Dean King

Hailed as a masterpiece of historical adventure, this narrative recounts the experiences of twelve American sailors who were shipwrecked off the coast of Africa in 1815, captured by desert nomads, sold into slavery, and subjected to a hellish journey through the bone-dry heart of the Sahara. The ordeal of these men-who found themselves tested by barbarism, murder, starvation, death, dehydration, and hostile tribes that roamed the desert on camelback-is made indelibly vivid in this gripping account of survival, courage, and brotherhood.

Sahara Unveiled: A Journey Across the Desert, William Langewiesche

Encounters, observations and revelations from a 1,200-mile trans-Saharan trek are poetically reported here. A correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly, Langewiesche was undaunted by the physical hardships of the trip, and focused instead on the beleaguered towns and people that survive along the desert's fringes and in its oases. As he discusses subjects as various as adobe walls and the history of prehistoric Tassili cave painters, he introduces old friends and people met by chance. Despite poverty and changes brought on by bare-bones technology, he reveals why for more than 2,000 years the desert has been seen as a place of trial, cleansing and illumination.

$14.00 (softcover)
Sahara: A Natural History, Marq de Villiers & Sheila Hirtle

We think we know the Sahara yet it is full of surprises as de Villiers and Hirtle reveal in this biography of the land and its people.

They chart the genesis and course of Atlantic hurricanes, many of which are born in northern Chad, showing that the Sahara, which has a strong influence on weather patterns the world over. They offer a fascinating description of the physics of windblown sand and the formation of dunes and describe in detail the massive aquifers that lie beneath the desert, some filled with water that predates the appearance of humans on Earth. They marvel at the jagged mountains and at ancient cave paintings deep in the desert that reveal the Sahara was a verdant grassland 10,000 years ago; a cycle has been repeated several times, and may well repeat again.

Woven through this story is a chronicle of the desert's nations and people: the Berbers and Arabs of the north; its black African South, whose ancestors peopled the great empires of Old Africa; and the nomads -- the Moors, the Tuareg, and the Tubu who call the desert home.

Illuminated by the written testimonies of past travellers, Sahara is a geographic tour conveying the majesty, mystery, and abundance of life in what the outside world thinks of as the Great Emptiness.

$14.00 (softcover)
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