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THE A5 BOOK REVIEW
In 1935, writer Graham Greene, accompanied by his cousin Barbara, decided to leave Europe for the first time to discover Liberia, a remote part of Africa virtually untouched by Western civilization at that time. Journey Without Maps describes this trip, a 350 mile walk assisted by a chain of porters and local guides, through a region that maps left blank, with a random description referencing “cannibals”. Greene documents a dangerous land dominated by poverty and the prevalence of venereal disease, malaria and leprosy, but also a culture featuring a native spirit of pride and tradition. It was a treacherous trip; Greene got very sick along the way and almost died. The book is a bit dated and not easy for a modern reader, but the rich images and evocative commentary of this astounding journey makes Journey Without Maps one of the classics of travel writing.
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ABOUT GRAHAM GREENE
Graham Greene (1904-1991) was an English novelist, best known for The Quiet American and The End of the Affair, and regarded by many as one of the great writers of the twentieth century. His work included both serious novels touching upon Catholic religious themes and entertaining thrillers of international espionage and politics. He was shortlisted for the Nobel Prize for Literature in both 1966 and 1967.
THE JOURNEY RETRACED, BY TIM BUTCHER
Chasing the Devil: A Journey Through Sub-Sahara Africa in the Footsteps of Graham Greene
Almost three-quarters of a century later, African war correspondent Tim Butcher decided to recreate Greene’s epic trip in his own travel book, Chasing the Devil; A Journey Through Sub-Saharan Africa in the Footsteps of Graham Greene. We actually recommend reading this book first, as it is a little more readable for modern audiences and it provides some helpful background on Greene's travels.
GREAT QUOTES FROM JOURNEY WITHOUT MAPS
“I had been afraid of the primitive, had wanted it broken gently, but here it came on us in a breath, as we stumbled up through the dung and the cramped and stinking huts to our lampless sleeping place among the rats. It was the worst one need fear, and it was bearable because it was inescapable.”
- Graham Greene, Journey Without Maps
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