The author, as an international reporter whose beat was to cover Africa, had written some pessimistic but accurate comments about the regime of Liberian dictator Charles Taylor, and the result was some death threats that had left him understandably a bit skittish. Outsiders settled in Liberia where they enjoyed disproportionate status but the country was never in the possession of a foreign power. This is by no means a bad thing, in fact, this is a book that is as much about questioning progress as it is about walking though a jungle. As with his previous book Blood River, Butcher takes on considerable risk by choosing to make this journey in an area of Africa not Tim Butcher's second travel book offering takes the reader on our journey through west Africa in the footsteps of Graham Greene. The arrogant leadership of the descendants of freed slaves who ruled and, astoundingly, enslaved the native bush dwellers up until into the 30's when Greene was surreptiously investigatng this was finally swept aside by an horrendous bloodletting in 1980.
For while Africa holds many mineral and agriculture resources, its true treasure is in the resilience and resourcefulness of its people, something which has always humbled me. This constant comparison, fruit of extensive research by the author, makes interesting reading and gives the book, and Butcher´s adventure, a clear lifeline that it follows. The exploration of Sierra Leone and Liberia might have been deeper, absent the Greene connection. Using Greene's book of the trip, Journey Without Maps, and other exhaustively researched material, Butcher does an amazing job of providing th Following faithfully in the footsteps of Graham Greene and his cousin as they embark at Sierra Leone in 1935 before setting off on a 4-week walk through Liberia and Guinea, Butcher and his companions David, Johnson and Mr Omaru likewise take on the West African jungle interior, travelling by foot through this much maligned and worn torn part of the world. Il City Hotel di Freetown, in Sierra Leone, reso celebre da Graham Greene. I grew up on the legends and as a child sometimes watched illusionists from the Poro perform on feast days.
Tim encounters these devils on an epic journey that demands courage, doggedness and good fortune. Miniera di diamanti in Sierra Leone. Graham Greene, in whose footsteps Butcher meticulously follows, feared boredom and mediocrity. It was longlisted for the for political writing. But Greene's real interest was to find or encounter an Africa that had not been corrupted by Western colonialism or capitalism.
Despite there being roads available on the routes the Greene's had taken by foot, Butcher and his companions take the forest trails by foot, while Mr Omaru transports their packs. Butcher writes with candour and humour. I love this writer and I loved this book as much as Blood River. But there are also the local ghosts, a reflection not only of the war but the local bush religious cults that dominate life in the hinterland of Liberia -- and may explain the cannibalism that Butcher heard of. Il mercato di Monrovia, capitale della Liberia. Born in 1967, he was on the staff of The Daily Telegraph from 1990 to 2009, covering conflicts across the Balkans, Middle East and Africa. Please feel free to peruse our library and immerse yourself in potential reads.
If you've any If you're thinking of going to Africa and curious about where not to go, you owe it to yourself to pick up a few tips from Tim Butcher. The books is rich is history, outlining the complex and often confusing history of each country particularly Sierra Leone and Liberia. As someone who grew up with Monrovia as my hometown and who spent many happy summer vacation days with friends in Lofa County near Kolahun and in Yekepa, it always saddens me that most of the world knows Liberia only as that place with child killers in wedding dresses under the command of people named General Butt Naked. And yes, he saw the devil! It is difficult to rate a book on this topic with a 'like', not the most appropriate word when reading of the cruelty of huma I am a child of Africa, growing up in Central Africa, well remembering how it all changed when the then Belgium Congo gained independence. The secret societies, most notably the Poro, began as a resistance movement against the Mane invaders from Mali in the 16th century. If Chasing the Devil throws little light on the mysteries and idiosyncrasies of Graham Greene's life, it did take me on not one but two journeys, seven decades apart and for that, it was well worth the read.
Are children really still encouraged to play this malevolent form of Hide and Seek? He is really a Victorian explorer endowed with the sterling grit of that age, which has carried him across the Congo and now through West Africa's jungle heartland. Butcher admirably elucidates what he means by the 'Devil', but it grated because the title itself did not accurately describe what we were reading. For many years Sierra Leone and Liberia have been too dangerous to travel through, bedevilled by a uniquely brutal form of violence from which sprang many of Africa's cruellest contemporary icons - child soldiers, prisoner mutilation, blood diamonds. For two people whose experience didn't extend beyond England, normal life in Liberia would have appeared strange enough that they may not have been able to tell it from abnormality. Having said that i feel better. Tim Butcher is a former British newspaper reporter and war correspondent now living in South Africa, who has that knack for travel to places you probably don't want to visit.
Charles Taylor, the man who led a rebel movement in the bloody civil war and subsequently became president, is said to have taken advantage of such animistic beliefs, and the civil war featured many stories of ritualistic killing, cannibalism, and the use of bizarre and terrifying costumes. Liberia, it feels counter-intuitive to say, was less fortunate. Butcher's analysis of both Sierra Lione and Liberia from both a contemporary and historical perspective is thoughtful, well researched and personal. However, he also discovers kindness and hospitality among people who have literally been to hell and are trying to make their way back. Greene took 26 bearers, a case of scotch, and hammocks in which he and his cousin Barbara were carried. Tim walks every blistering inch to gain an extraordinary ground-level view of a troubled and overlooked region. Modern Sierra Leone was settled by former slaves and blacks from the British Empire, though it did go through a protectorate period ruled by whites.
But it was engrossing and engaging, and a bold enough stunt, so 3 stars. Facing down demons from his time in Africa as a journalist, Tim Butcher heads deep into this combat zone, encountering the devastation wrought by lawless militia, child soldiers, brutal violence, blood diamonds and masked figures who guard the spiritual secrets of remote jungle communities. Butcher provides for a rather bleak picture of what is happening in Liberia and Sierra Leone. In certain areas of Liberia there exist secret societies for men and women, known as Poro and Sande respectively. This is where he now heads, exploring how rebel groups thrived in the bush for so long and whether the devil of war has truly been chased away. Butcher comes to the realisation that it is the clandestine influence of the secret societies and their rigid codes — they've been accused of murdering individuals who refuse to join — that accounts for the failure of Sierra Leone and Liberia to thrive in the post-war period.
Butcher´s writing seems more relaxed on this book - i guess not being his first book, he has nothing to prove to anyone anymore and as such is more free to convey through his emotions too? Crucially, he makes a connection between the otherwise inexplicable atrocities committed during both conflicts and the traditional practices of Poro. Right from the beginning of the book, I was happy to note that his writing had evolved to a more emotional style, compared to his first book, hence making the reading experience richer for me. In much the same way as Blood River, he uses his interaction with locals to better understand complex political issues, and a brutal legacy of war that could otherwise leave you a bit burned out. Tim audaciously reaches his destination while earnestly and compassionately educating his readership on difficult themes of the African historical experience. This one took me a little longer to get into, as I wasn't as familiar with the Graham Greene back-story as I was with Henry Stanleys adventures.
There's a useful side to Tim's being a journalist - wherever he goes, he searches out the most interesting people and draws their stories into a wonderfully woven tale of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. On the first chapter he sets the scene for his upcoming trip to Sierra Leone and Liberia, and leaves the delighted reader thirsty and impatient to read the upcoming adventures, this time following the footsteps of Graham Greene and his cousin Barbara in contrast to those of Stanley in the Democratic Republic of Congo in his earlier work. ReturnsHere at the Country House we work ever so hard to ensure the quality of our books and the satisfaction of our customers. Tim Butcher is an excellent writer, he has a lovely turn of phrase and is a dab hand at the striking image. What Butcher and his three companions do, The three companions being David, a Brit and two local men Johnson and Mr Omaru. As such, besides learning about the history of these countries, the reader gets to experience two travel stories simultaneously; that of Graham Greene and Butcher´s own. He had read Journey Without Maps, the book Graham Greene published after trekking across Sierra Leone and Liberia with his cousin Barbara in 1935, and last year arrived in Freetown to follow their route via Guinea to Monrovia.