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THE A5 BOOK REVIEW
Tim Butcher, a former African correspondent for the London Telegraph, decided to return on his own to one of the most dangerous places in the world, war-torn West Africa, to try to better understand the country and to find an epic adventure. The region had been paralyzed by the brutal rule of warlord Charles Taylor, drug-crazed soldiers, the “blood diamond” industry, and utter lawlessness. Butcher chose to follow in the footsteps of Graham Greene who walked through both Sierra Leone and Liberia in 1935 as described in Greene’s classic travelogue Journey Without Maps. Butcher's experience was perhaps just as hazardous; he had to navigate through 350 miles of rainforest populated by secret tribal societies . The book is highly readable both for its story telling and for the historical background woven between what he experienced and what Greene documented.
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ABOUT TIM BUTCHER
Tim Butcher is an English journalist with a fondness for pushing limits and exploring some of the most dangerous places on earth. He worked for almost twenty years for The Daily Telegraph, including roles as a war correspondent and as the Africa Bureau Chief. For some reason, this is a common theme for English travel writers, including several writers featured on our website: Graham Greene, Eric Newby, Freya Stark, Bruce Chatwin, William Dalyrimple, Jan Morris and Redmond O’Hanlon. Tim Butcher in our opinion belongs as a worthy modern addition to this group.
THE ORIGINAL TRIP BY GRAHAM GREENE
Journey Without Maps
The original trip was made famous in 1935 by writer Graham Greene in one of the classics of travel writing, Journey Without Maps. This was Greene's first journey outside of Europe, a trip was sponsored by the Anti-Slavery and Aborigines Protection Society. We actually recommend reading Blood River first, as Butcher's book is a little more readable for modern audiences and it also provides some background on Greene's trip. Click here to see our review of Journey Without Maps.
GREAT QUOTES FROM CHASING THE DEVIL
“Ritual murder remains common in West Africa, nowhere more so than Liberia, and among the various risks I had been warned of were trophy-hunting killers known as 'heartmen'. They stalk human prey before attacking and removing the heart or another body part, taken specifically for use by members of secret societies to imbue potions with magical powers. Heartmen are not imaginary bogeymen whipped up to keep unruly children in check. In rural Liberia they are very real."
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