Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Walking the Nile by Levison Wood

book cover
Walking the Nile
by Levison Wood

ISBN-13: 9780802124494
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press
Released: Jan. 5, 2016

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
The Nile, one of the world’s great rivers, has long been an object of fascination and obsession. From Alexander the Great and Nero, to Victorian adventurers David Livingstone, John Hanning Speke, and Henry Morton Stanley, the river has seduced men and led them into wild adventures. English writer, photographer, and explorer Levison Wood is just the latest. His Walking the Nile is a captivating account of a remarkable and unparalleled Nile journey.

Starting in November 2013 in a forest in Rwanda, where a modest spring spouts a trickle of clear, cold water, Wood set forth on foot, aiming to become the first person to walk the entire length of the fabled river. He followed the Nile for nine months, over 4,000 miles, through six nations—Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, the Republic of Sudan, and Egypt—to the Mediterranean coast.

Like his predecessors, Wood camped in the wild, foraged for food, and trudged through rainforest, swamp, savannah, and desert, enduring life-threatening conditions at every turn. He traversed sandstorms, flash floods, minefields, and more, becoming a local celebrity in Uganda, where a popular rap song was written about him, and a potential enemy of the state in South Sudan, where he found himself caught in a civil war and detained by the secret police. As Wood walks on, often joined by local guides who help him to navigate foreign languages and customs, Walking the Nile maps out African history and contemporary life.

My Review:
Walking the Nile describes Levison Wood's journey of walking the length of the Nile from December 2013 to August 2014. We learn about the author's walk, past explorers who walked the Nile, the history of the countries he walks through (Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, Sudan, Egypt), and the people that he encountered along his walk.

In Rwanda, we see how the genocide impacted their society. In South Sudan, Lev brings the war vividly alive with his descriptions. We meet people like a man who runs an orphanage for children whose parents died of AIDs and a Coptic Christian that was severely beaten and left for dead simply for being a Christian. Of course, there were tales about wildlife encounters, a dangerous desert crossing, difficulties in finding porters, and other difficulties, sorrows, and joys of his travels.

The story flowed well and engaged my attention from start to finish. It's worth reading simply for the information about the people and cultures Lev encountered, but it's also a tale of adventure. I'd highly recommend this book.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

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