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In Ethiopia with a Mule [Hardcover]

Dervla Murphy
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Jan 1990
An account of a gruelling journey through remote and hostile regions of Ethiopia, alone except for a pack-mule. Originally published in 1968.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 281 pages
  • Publisher: John Murray; First Edition edition (1 Jan 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 071951830X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0719518300
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,618,609 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


One of the supreme virtues of Dervla Murphy as a travel writer is that she is human. She needs her drink; she craves her cigarettes; she is capable of losing her temper; she smuggles things through customs. A more virtuous figure would be far less endearing. (Daily Telegraph)

Dervla Murphy must be top of the intrepid class: conventional travel writers seem impossibly pallid by contrast. (Financial Times)

An admirable woman ... She has a romantic soul and a keen eye (Times Literary Supplement)

Dervla Murphy's credentials are more than a brave heart and strong calf muscles ... the fruit of these mature wanderings for my money puts her among the select travel writers of the last two decades. (Observer)

Murphy's observation is acute, her self-effacement is disarming (Sunday Times) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

A most intrepid travel writer goes on a perilous solo trek through distant and harsh Ethiopian lands. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By John P. Jones III TOP 500 REVIEWER
A very gutsy woman, give her that at least, and an inspiring peripatetic who took so many of the world's paths less traveled. She's written books on her travels in the Andes, Madagascar, Siberia, and other exotic locals. But she first gained fame for riding a bike, leaving her home in Ireland, starting at Dunkirk, and following one of the traditional overland routes into India - alone, in 1963. Her book on the trip is Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle. Not that long thereafter, the lure of the remoter lands of the world called again, and she undertook the subject of this book, a solo walk with a mule in Ethiopia, for 1000 miles, during the first three months of 1967.

In the Prologue, she quotes Edward Gibbon on Ethiopia: "Encompassed on all sides by the enemies of their religion, the Ethiopians slept near a thousand years, forgetful of the world by whom they were forgotten." And that is precisely the "charm" of Ethiopia for the traveler, if not the residents. It is quite different from all the surrounding countries, and, like Burma, in many ways an immense open-air museum. In the highland area of the country, the elevation ranges between 6,000 and 15,000 ft, overall a salubrious climate. She started her journey in the Red Sea port of Massawah, in what is now Eritrea. She did take a truck up to the highlands, and supplemented her walking with a plane ride and a journey in a Land Rover. She covered all the core sites of historical interest in the highlands, which include the steles at Aksum, the former capital of Gondar, Lake Tana, which is the headwaters of the Blue Nile, and Lalibela, with their famous churches carved out of solid rock.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable 30 Oct 2000
By A Customer
This is one of those travel books that help you understand a place and the people living there before you go. It's also a great book to curl up with in an armchair before the fire. If you can't travel, this is the next best thing.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking 20 May 2003
By James L
Compelling account, in her usual down-to-earth style. I read it because I wanted to know about Ethiopia, but at times woried that I was learning more about the author. By the time I got to the end, I realised that in fact I had absorbed a great deal about Ethiopians, which I hope will help me when I go there.
Murphy's trip is a bold endevour - she sets off each day with the mule, and with no idea of where she will stay. Most nights she arranges accomodation with people she comes across, and depends on them to help her load the mule next day. This made me think hard too: most of the people she stayed with were very poor, and sharing thier meal with Murphy can not have been easy for them. But then maybe she offered cash even though she doesn't mention it - and then again, as she points out, at that time, cash meant little in most of the places she visited.
Anyway, it made me think, and provided an insight into the culture and circumstances of rural Ethiopia - at least at in the '60s.
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