Lit with humor, full of African birdsong and told with great narrative force, No Mercy is the magnum opus of "probably the finest writer of travel books in the English language," as Bill Bryson wrote in Outside, "and certainly the most daring."Redmond O'Hanlon has journeyed among headhunters in deepest Borneo with the poet James Fenton, and amid the most reticent, imperilled and violent tribe in the Amazon Basin with a night-club manager. This, however, is his boldest journey yet. Accompanied by Lary Shaffer--an American friend and animal behaviorist, a man of imperfect health and brave decency--he enters the unmapped swamp-forests of the People's Republic of the Congo, in search of a dinosaur rumored to have survived in a remote prehistoric lake. The flora and fauna of the Congo are unrivalled, and with matchless passion O'Hanlon describes scores of rare and fascinating animals: eagles and parrots, gorillas and chimpanzees, swamp antelope and forest elephants. But as he was repeatedly warned, the night belongs to Africa, and threats both natural (cobras, crocodiles, lethal insects) and supernatural (from all-powerful sorcerers to Samal , a beast whose three-clawed hands rip you across the back) make this a saga of much fear and trembling. Omnipresent too are ecological depredations, political and tribal brutality, terrible illness and unnecessary suffering among the forest pygmies, and an appalling waste of human life throughout this little-explored region. An elegant, disturbing and deeply compassionate evocation of a vanishing world, extraordinary in its depth, scope and range of characters, No Mercy is destined to become a landmark work of travel, adventure and natural history. A quest for the meaning of magic and the purpose of religion, and a celebration of the comforts and mysteries of science, it is also--and above all--a powerful guide to the humanity that prevails even in the very heart of darkness.
The journeys of Paul Theroux take place not only in exotic, unexpected places of the world but in the thoughts, reading, and emotions of the writer himself. A gathering of people, places, and ideas in fifty glittering pieces of gold.
"The kind of book Steinbeck might have written if he'd traveled with David Letterman." --New York magazine
An inspiring and hilarious account of one man's rediscovery of America and his search for the perfect small town.
Following an urge to rediscover his youth, Bill Bryson left his native Des Moines, Iowa, in a journey that would take him across 38 states. Lucky for us, he brought a notebook. With a razor wit and a kind heart, Bryson serves up a colorful tale of boredom, kitsch, and beauty when you least expect it. From Times Square to the Mississippi River to Williamsburg, Virginia, Bryson's keen and hilarious search for the perfect American small town is a journey straight into the heart and soul of America.
Although he is best known for his luminous reports from the farthest-flung corners of the earth, Bruce Chatwin possessed a literary sensibility that reached beyond the travel narrative to span a world of topics--from art and antiques to archaeology and architecture. This spirited collection of previously neglected or unpublished essays, articles, short stories, travel sketches, and criticism represents every aspect and period of Chatwin's career as it reveals an abiding theme in his work: his fascination with, and hunger for, the peripatetic existence. While Chatwin's poignant search for a suitable place to "hang his hat," his compelling arguments for the nomadic "alternative," his revealing fictional accounts of exile and the exotic, and his wickedly en pointe social history of Capri prove him to be an excellent observer of social and cultural mores, Chatwin's own restlessness, his yearning to be on the move, glimmers beneath every surface of this dazzling body of work.
Golden Prague seemed mostly gray when Patricia Hampl first went there in quest of her Czech heritage. In that bleak time, no one could have predicted the political upheaval awaiting Communist Europe and the city of Kafka and Rilke. Hampl's subsequent memoir, a brilliant evocation of Czech life under socialism, attained the stature of living history, and added to our understanding not only of Central Europe but also of what it means to be engaged in the struggle of a people to define and affirm themselves. Reissued now, during the tenth anniversary of that astonishing upheaval known as the Velvet Revolution, A Romantic Education includes an extensive updated afterword based on Hampl's annual return trips to Prague and the Czech countryside. Here is an excellent introduction to what was once the unknown "other Europe" behind the Iron Curtain and is now the continent's hottest new travel destination. Once again, as she did in a darker time, Hampl sees the texture beneath the surface of things and intuits the changing life of one of Europe's most bewitching cities. A Romantic Education is an exquisite journey into history and into the conundrum of personal memory
A masterful work of personal reportage, this volume is also a vibrant portrait of a mysterious people and an essential document of a disappearing culture.Fabled, feared, romanticized, and reviled, the Gypsies--or Roma--are among the least understood people on earth. Their culture remains largely obscure, but in Isabel Fonseca they have found an eloquent witness. In Bury Me Standing, alongside unforgettable portraits of individuals--the poet, the politician, the child prostitute--Fonseca offers sharp insights into the humor, language, wisdom, and taboos of the Roma. She traces their exodus out of India 1,000 years ago and their astonishing history of persecution: enslaved by the princes of medieval Romania; massacred by the Nazis; forcibly assimilated by the communist regimes; evicted from their settlements in Eastern Europe, and most recently, in Western Europe as well. Whether as handy scapegoats or figments of the romantic imagination, the Gypsies have always been with us--but never before have they been brought so vividly to life. Includes fifty black and white photos.