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Journey Without Maps (Vintage Classics) [Paperback]

Graham Greene , Paul Theroux
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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Book Description

7 Feb 2002 Vintage Classics


In 1935 Graham Greene set off to discover Liberia, a remote and unfamiliar West African republic founded for released slaves. Crossing the red-clay terrain from Sierra Leone to the coast at Grand Bassa with a chain of porters, he came to know one of the few areas of Africa untouched by Western colonisation.

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Journey Without Maps (Vintage Classics) + Chasing the Devil: On Foot Through Africa's Killing Fields
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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Classics; New Ed edition (7 Feb 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099282232
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099282235
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 19.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 72,818 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Graham Greene was born in 1904. He worked as a journalist and critic, and in 1940 became literary editor of the Spectator. He was later employed by the Foreign Office. As well as his many novels, Graham Greene wrote several collections of short stories, four travel books, six plays, three books of autobiography, two of biography and four books for children. He also wrote hundreds of essays, and film and book reviews. Graham Greene was a member of the Order of Merit and a Companion of Honour. He died in April 1991.

Product Description


"One of the best travel books this century" (Independent)

"No one who reads this book will question the value of Greene's experiment, or emerge unshaken by the penetration, the richness, the integrity of this moving record" (Guardian)

"His originality lay in his gifts as a traveller. He had the foreign ear and eye for the strangeness of ordinary life and its ordinary crises" (V. S. Pritchett)

"Journey Without Maps and The Lawless Roads reveal Greene's ravening spiritual hunger, a desperate need to touch rock bottom both within the self and in the humanly created world" (Times Higher Education Supplement)

Book Description

Graham Greene's incredible journey to an unchartered land.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
By D. Sim
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The other reviewer is right to call this account a slog, but that is precisely what Greene's journey was. He decided to journey through a land where a white man is seen perhaps twice a decade, to people who live a simple life.

If you're looking for a thrilling, edge-of-your-seat novel of semi-truths this is not the book for you. If you have an interest in West Africa, Liberia, native living, superstition, colonialism, exploration, and generally Greene as a person this book is good. I found digesting in two chunks a more managable read.

Certainly very different to Greene's other writings, but for me gave an interesting perspective on an unusual country and a remarkable man.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I was awoken by this book to think about colonial Africa in a way I had not considered it previously. Greene invites you to experience a journey with him and his female cousin that becomes a physical and mental battle of endurance.
There are some fairly dark descriptions of African tribal customs, which takes you back to a forgotten time.
It becomes apparent fairly quickly that Greene wasn't expecting the conditions on route and needs to summon up all his inner strength to get through.

As its true makes it makes it even more thought provoking.

Brilliantly written by a unique writer.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a very absorbing and thought provoking read - 18 July 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have just been lent a very old hard back copy of this and am going to buy it. I am not an avid travel book reader so cannot compare it with many others; but it gives an insight into the writer, into a land and its people at a previous time, and a point of view which is beguiling and sometimes strange and uncomfortable. I would like to know what reactions west african readers would have.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A traveller from a bygone age..... 24 Aug 2011
By RogerC
I bought my copy through Amazon seller 'The Ardent Reader. A lovely old book, my copy dating from 1953. The book is written in the style of a bygone era and requires the reader to 'adjust' his/her reading style in order to enjoy it properly. I had to re-read many passages in order to glean the correct impression/message Greene was trying to convey. It is an excellent read, descriptive in it's writings conjuring up mental images of adventurers of old and 'Darkest Africa' as it was perceived to be at the time.

With many trials and tribulations to contend with from disease, lack of sanitation, the need to carry everything overland (including Greene himself at times), shortages of food and last but not least running short of Scotch whisky towards the latter part of the journey Greene conjures up a magical but dark, forboding and mysterious land.

In summation this is an immensely enjoyable written account of what one would consider to be a gentleman traveller/explorer of a bygone age venturing abroad into the unknown. Highly recommended ...if you can adjust to Greenes style of writing.

I am grateful to Tim Butcher whose own journey and subsequent book 'Chasing The Devil', which is an immensely inspiring read, encouraged me to read Journey without maps.
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