1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Eavesdropper's bonus, 9 Feb. 2004
Sitting in the bar of the Locarno Hotel in Rome back in Nov. 2003, taking a break from La Dolce Vita with an espresso and an guidebook, I became aware of an interesting conversation between an American and some Italian journalists(?) going on at a neighbouring table. The American told tales of Russia, Morocco and the Congo, of struggles with bureaucracy and imminent dangers. This unlikely looking traveller (think accountant, management consultant), was softly spoken and I was unable to catch his name but a few weeks later, a quick search with the details I remembered, proved the power of googling with a name returned within 0.64 seconds.
'Facing the Congo' arrived days later and was soon devoured. It is a gripping piece of travel writing, sometimes fascinating and often tragic. Mr Tayler throws himself into the Congo (splash), experiencing the struggles of the locals but making acquaintances rather than friends and realising he could never be other than an outsider. Although, ultimately an heroic failure not a Hollywood ending, this gripping journey is more comfortably taken in a reading room than in a dugout canoe.