Monday, October 1

Poor Africa

The current issue of the New York Times, has published brilliant book review by the veteran travel writer Paul Theroux. I don't know if Tim Jeal's new biography of Henry Morton Stanley, The Impossible Life of Africa’s Greatest Explorer, is worth the $32 Yale University Press is asking for the volume, but the review is most assuredly a must-read--however discomfiting it may be. The first sentence alone shows why:

"Poor Africa, the happy hunting ground of the mythomaniac, the rock star buffing up his or her image, the missionary with a faith to sell, the child buyer, the retailer of dirty drugs or toxic cigarettes, the editor in search of a scoop, the empire builder, the aid worker, the tycoon wishing to rid himself of his millions, the school builder with a bucket of patronage, the experimenting economist, the diamond merchant, the oil executive, the explorer, the slave trader, the eco-tourist, the adventure traveler, the bird watcher, the travel writer, the escapee, the colonial and his crapulosities, the banker, the busybody, the Mandela-sniffer, the political fantasist, the buccaneer and your cousin the Peace Corps Volunteer."

1 comment:

Jack said...

Dr. G,

May I suggest a novel by Richard Dooling, "White Man's Grave, that helps expose the true differences between Western and African culture. It is geat study in cultural intelligence or the lacj thereof.

I will wait for the paperback on the Stanley book, $32 is a little rich for me!