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Congo Journey (Penguin Celebrations) [Paperback]

Redmond O'Hanlon
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 Sep 2007 Penguin Celebrations
Combining the acute observation of a nineteenth-century missionary, and the wit of a Monty Python player, Redmond O'Hanlon is famous for his adventurous travel. His new challenge is the Congo, the most dangerous and inhospitable jungle in the world.


Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (6 Sep 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141035110
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141035116
  • Product Dimensions: 2.3 x 12.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 618,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Redmond O'Hanlon lives in Oxfordshire. He is the author of INTO THE HEART OF BORNEO and IN TROUBLE AGAIN.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vivid 18 Sep 2006
Format:Paperback
Many of the reviews on this book's cover talk of Redmond O'Hanlon as the funniest travel writer. This book then comes as a real surprise. This is not comedy but a vivid, at times disturbing and moving account of life down the Congo river. O Hanlon captures the beliefs, hardships and almost hopeless plight of the people as well as any book on sub saharan africa i have read. His descriptions of the wildlife and vegetation are alive and detailed as well but for me it is the people that make this stand apart in travel literature.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Redso gets serious 11 Feb 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Not to say that the usual O'Hanlon comedy isn't present. The adventures are (nearly) as funny as they ever were, and Marcellin, Nze and Manou are by quite some way the most skillfully drawn and interesting characters Redso has presented his readers with.
What makes this book more serious, and in this reader's humble opinion better, than ITHOB and CJ, is the manner in which the problems of the Republic of Congo are explored. The three characters named above are related, but very different in outlook. Each presents their own particular picture of Congo, and O'Hanlon is not afraid to extrapolate from this to the wider issues facing the nation as a whole.
If this makes it sound boring, sorry, but it ain't. Not at all. Still funny, still exciting, and most of all, as another reviewer has mentioned, very, very frightening. Buy it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Having travelling in tropical rainforest myself, I could identify with some of the trials and tribulations encountered in this book. It is one of the few books I have ever read which I began again as soon as I had completed it. Redmond's ability to recall events in devastatingly amusing detail will compel me to read anything else he publishes.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the few books to stick in the memory.... 26 April 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Compulsive readers, as I have found to my own cost,while being immensely satisfied, educated and entertained by the book they have just read, often remember little of it even after a few months. People like myself, with a system - namely keeping subject matter varied, and never visiting similar ground too frequently - simply forget the finer points, the pearls of wisdom, and the sheer style and skill of the writing. It is now perhaps two years since I read Congo Journey, and it is perhaps the only book that I can remember and still admire after that time. In brief, the elements that make up classic travel writing - the journey itself, the characters and the observations along the way - are all dealt with with such skill, sensitivity and enjoyment, that it is hard not to be sucked into this journey, and the Congo, which let's face it, few of us will ever experience. Travel writers can be arrogant, sarcastic and boorish types. Or they can produce work like this. A rare treat, for anyone with the desire to read - and become involved and immersed in, a book of this type. Brilliant.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome 26 Aug 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
For me, this is one of the great travel books and one of the greatest books of the nineties. It's a sprawling work, its backwaters and tributaries as enthralling as the great flow of its narrative. It is funny, frightening and touching. The character of Marcellin alone is sufficient reason to read this, let alone the phenomenal descriptions of the country and its wildlife or the heartbreaking visit to the dying Bruce Chatwin. Anyone should be surprised, intrigued and moved by this book. And, as another reviewer said, the best is at the end with a conversation which left me perplexed and disarmed. O'Hanlon is a worthy successor to Chatwin and Robert Byron (and, if I dare utter such heresy, maybe better). What more do you want? If only I could write like this!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Read it twice, not just once! 21 July 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This is a very good book. Redso manages to keep the reader engrossed through his brilliant mastery of the English language. This journey is an adventure on its own but add to it the fact that it takes place in The Congo and is carried out with characters as diverse as Nze, Manou and Marcellin make it all the more enjoyable.
Briefly, the book is about Redmond's trip into the Congalese jungle with Lary Shaffer and various helpers to discover, not only the flora and fauna of the Congo, but also a mystical monster from the depths of Lake Tele. Massive floating villages, baby gorillas, swarms of soldier ants, desperate people and palm wine are only some of the obstacles that Redso has to deal with.
My advice to anyone wanting to read this book would be to read it twice. First read it for pure enjoyment value then read it again to gain a deeper understanding of what and who the author had to deal with. The last few chapters are particularly poignant.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars NOT a comedy! 23 April 2008
Format:Paperback
One of the most terrifying, depressing journeys into the heart of darkness. That there are human beings on earth that still behave like some of the congolese in this book is frankly ming-boggling. Very relevant in light of the current unstable situation in this part of the world. O'Hanlan is a brilliant writer and a noble man, but this book is not the one to start a stampede of mass tourism to central africa!!
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By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book is beautifully written. A wonderful style with evocative,thought provoking description and language. As the title suggests, it tells of a journey through the Congo. It speaks of sights, conditions, local people and customs. The author conveys a tremendous sense of empathy throughout the book but also there is a sense of fear and superstition which pervades and becomes increasingly strong as the book progresses. I thoroughly enjoyed the book although I had nightmares (quite literally)as I was reading it.I would recommend it to anyone.It will open your eyes to another culture which is almost incomprehensible to those of us from Europe.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars A Dud
Did not enjoy this book at all in fact I'd say it was one of the worst travel book I've ever read. The harsh ruth is that O'Hanlon's obnoxious, moralising American travel partner... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Nico
5.0 out of 5 stars Congo Journey
Having been briefly to Congo and done a stint working in the jungle and on the coastline I can say that this book really does capture the spirit of the place and is a fascinating... Read more
Published on 18 Dec 2011 by Ms. J. Beaghen
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark, scary, but upbeat. Fantastic
Fantastic book. I love the way its written. I found it interesting the way that while there were terrible things going on around them - Redmond always seemed focussed on the nature... Read more
Published on 13 Mar 2011 by Elimb
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, a travel book that is much more than travelogue
A thoroughly enjoyable book, capturing the reality of an Englishman trekking into the African jungle in search of a wild, and possibly prehistoric beast, and finding himself... Read more
Published on 14 Feb 2011 by James Robinson
5.0 out of 5 stars A gonzo-naturalist treasure
Redmond O'Hanlon has been losing his marbles one torrid trip at a time. Here in Africa for his third book he finally throws in the towel, succumbs to "the horror", and writes his... Read more
Published on 25 Feb 2010 by Mr. N. Foale
2.0 out of 5 stars a good read spoiled.
Almost a great read, however far! to! many! annoying! punctuation mistakes-glibly passes over death and illness of native africans whist focussing on the nipple size of a picked up... Read more
Published on 31 Dec 2007 by M. Budd
4.0 out of 5 stars Great, but too long
Wonderful, Redso, but 'Into the H. of B.' captivated me more. It's just too long! I don't have trouble with long books, really I don't, but this is, it's too long...
Published on 24 Nov 1999
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