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“I always regard foreign war correspondents as a rare breed of human beings. Well-learnt, brilliant writing, great researcher and both blessed and cursed with attribute of a adrenaline junkie with the need to report at war zones. Superhumans indeed. If I could change my life and live all over...”see full review » see other reviews »
Didn’t Like It
“i was really disappointed by this book. it promised a lot, but really only scratched the surface of the congo as a country. it couldn't quite make its mind up what it was - a travelogue or a history - and at the end of it i came away thinking that tim butcher was an idiot putting other people's...”see full review » see other reviews »
“The most probable end of this story was death, but this guy managed to cross the D. R Congo, following the Congo (Zaire) river. It took him 4 years of research to find how he could cross a completely lawless land the same size as western Europe. ”Rui wrote this review Sunday, April 14, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Blood River is a something between a travel book and a short history of Congo. The author describes his journey following Stanley's path while discovering the Congo river.
The subject is interesting, the book is well researched but story-telling technique ruins it all. While it all revolves around the journey, the author struggles to put together all the details of the trip, his interactions with the others AND the history of the place. And all this gets boring at some point when you think you've had enough about reading how many times he had a flat tyre or some not-so-interesting dialogue with a UN employee.
I gave it 3 stars only because it handles a subject rarely treated, but it was a mediocre reading experience.”
When "Daily Telegraph" correspondent Tim Butcher was sent to cover Africa in 2000 he quickly became obsessed with the idea of recreating H. M. Stanley's famous expedition - but travelling alone. Despite warnings that his plan was 'suicidal', Butcher set out for the Congo's eastern border with just a rucksack and a few thousand dollars hidden in his boots. Making his way in an assortment of vessels including a motorbike and a dugout canoe, helped along by a cast of characters from UN aid workers to a campaigning pygmy, he followed in the footsteps of the great Victorian adventurers. Butcher's journey was a remarkable feat, but the story of the Congo, told expertly and vividly in this book, is more remarkable still.
About the Author
Born in 1967, Tim Butcher has worked for the Daily Telegraph since 1990 as foreign affairs leader writer, defence correspondent and Africa Bureau Chief. He is currently living in Jerusalem where he is the Telegraph's Middle East correspondent.”
“From the Richard&Judy's Book Club list and selected by our local library reading group.
This is a book that calls you out of a lull and makes you want to find out more about the Congo and its terrible plight.... is it still really happening today in 2009. Sadly research has shown that it the corruption, war, starvation, greed has increased rather than decreased.
Tim Butcher writes remarkably well about his journey that follows the route that Stanley took in the 1800's.
I would recommend this book.”
“Good book, but a bit tedious sometimes.”Andy M wrote this review Monday, May 25, 2009. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“i was really disappointed by this book. it promised a lot, but really only scratched the surface of the congo as a country. it couldn't quite make its mind up what it was - a travelogue or a history - and at the end of it i came away thinking that tim butcher was an idiot putting other people's lives in danger to pursue an adventure that only really benefitted him. there is also a real lack of interaction with the people he comes across during the book, so they are drawn in terms of their role in his journey rather than as interesting characters, which gives the book a fundamental shallowness - it ends up being about the journey itself, rather than the people and situations he comes across”tom s wrote this review Friday, November 7, 2008. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I always regard foreign war correspondents as a rare breed of human beings. Well-learnt, brilliant writing, great researcher and both blessed and cursed with attribute of a adrenaline junkie with the need to report at war zones. Superhumans indeed. If I could change my life and live all over again, I think I would have opted to be a war correspondent. Living life at the edge, never quite know what to expect next, having death as your best friend, that's when you learn to live life at the fullest. I have read so many books written by war correspondents and never was I disappointed. More so when you stumbled across a war correspondent who went on a dangerous personal mission such as travelling overland and circumnavigate the Congo river. This is the first book that introduced me to the history of Congo, although it gets a little mind weary with endless mention of grim past, bleak future and gruesome scenes that is recorded during the travel and throughout the book, it is a book worth reading. I particular like Butcher's analysis on the negative consequences of colonialism and why some countries had emerged stronger post-colonialisation, while others not. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I always come out of reading such books to feel blessed at how fortunate I have been, just to do simple things such as being able to pick food that I wanted to eat.”JoV@Book Pyramid wrote this review Tuesday, October 28, 2008. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This is not the sort of genre that I normally read, but I found it easy to read and extremely interesting. It gives you a very good insight into The Democratic Republic's history since Stanley first made his journey down the River Congo, and explains how colonisation, greed and corruption have since led to its many problems.”ann E wrote this review Wednesday, October 8, 2008. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Picked this book up whilst on holiday from camp site library. Not my usual type of story but hey what a fantastic read!
If you enjoy history and a good adventure then this is for you. It tells the tale of one mans recreation of Stanley's famous expedition through the Congo and in doing so informs us about the current day problems that besets the this region of Africa in an enthralling and sometimes graphic fashion. EXCELLENT!