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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional journy into the heart of man, nature & history
O'Hanlons book - in his own great tradition and the tradition of travel and soul writer Bruce Chattwick - is a splendid piece of Art. The book is a travelor's impression, a natural science description of flora & fauna of the Congolese jungle, an ethnographic description of tribes, traditions and beliefs, a political opinion on the communist state-form in Africa,...
Published on 23 Aug 1998

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars This is one weird book.
Ok, I'll admit it.I enjoy arm chair travel books to places I would never,ever go to in real life. "No Mercy"-- about Lake Tele in the Congo-- seemed to fit the bill. Wrong. It's not that its badly written but...well, its more along the line of J. Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" then it is a travel book. Its full of angst, and sturn und drag, and soul...
Published on 27 April 1998


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional journy into the heart of man, nature & history, 23 Aug 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: No Mercy: A Journey into the Heart of the Congo (Paperback)
O'Hanlons book - in his own great tradition and the tradition of travel and soul writer Bruce Chattwick - is a splendid piece of Art. The book is a travelor's impression, a natural science description of flora & fauna of the Congolese jungle, an ethnographic description of tribes, traditions and beliefs, a political opinion on the communist state-form in Africa, it is also a fascinating plot and adventure story - but it is, above all, more than all these parts: the vivid, humorous, spell-binding and exact description provides the reader with an all encompassing inside into the human nature - ours and theirs - the fragility of life, and the exteme span of priorities the peoples populating this earth pursue. Even though one might guess the actual outcome of the trip as such, I read the entire book in one spell-bound session, laughing at times, having shivers running up my spine at others - this book sticks in your memory, and deepens the understanding of the world. Above all because O'Hanlon does not teach, preach or offers opinions: almost all is written in direct speech, and where not, like a diary - the reader travels with the author, is experiencing all his adventures looking over his shoulder. Therefore the impact is strikingly direct. Also, I'd say, it is a must read for all who work in or for-, or are interested in central Afrika - and to others who wonder why things seem to happen differently, and according to different agendas, in that part of the world.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars powerful and moving, 23 Jan 1998
By A Customer
I had read Redmond O'Hanlon's previous books and I expected more of the same- hapless Englishman out of his depth in the tropics having real jungle adventures, but with a strong comic element. And indeed at the beginning, the book seems to follow that formula. But by the end, there is little comedy and the reader is faced directly with some of the deepest issues of human life. It is a shattering conclusion and there is indeed no mercy for anyone, possibly no mercy anywhere in this world. It is a long book and maybe has a few too many descriptions of birds and such, yet it is a classic travel memoir, a journey both physically and to the deepest part of one man's mind. And to a place outside the comfortable civilized rational view of life, to someplace completely more scary, that may very well be inside all of us. A unique and thought provoking journey.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant and accurate description of life in the Congo, 15 Sep 1998
By A Customer
Having lived in the Congo for ten years, I believe this is the first book I've read that accurately describes what life there is actually like, both for foreigners and for the Congolese. It makes you feel that you are there: the difficulty of daily living, the despair, fear of sorcery, unfailing good humor, poverty, and strong family obligations of the Congolese come through clearly and are on target. O'Hanlon is a quick learner - many foreigners stay there for years and never leave the European lifestyle; he depicts the side of life that is seen only by living with the people. If you want a taste of what life in Congo is like without actually going there, this is the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth The Trip, 23 Aug 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: No Mercy: A Journey into the Heart of the Congo (Paperback)
Redmond manages to find humor in difficult circumstances without ridiculing or belittling those around him. Yes, the book is long, but well worth it. His ostensible reason for the trip is just a thin excuse, disappointing and surprising no one when it isn't "successful." The ending, I found entirely appropriate for a journey of this nature.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, Disturbing, Hilarious, 23 Jun 1998
By A Customer
Redmond O'Hanlon's book is stunning. As funny as it is penetrating, he offers so much more than an incredible physical journey. He is expert at evoking the feel of the claustrophobic jungle of the Congo, plunging the reader knee deep in vines and choking on the smell of 3rd rate 3rd world motels. But more importantly, he credibly takes us into the minds of his Congolese guides and travlling companions. It is O'Hanlon's own struggle with his thoughts and fears as he undertakes his journey that provides the real meat of this narrative. And the writing here is distrubing and seductive. By recreating the hardship of life in the jungle for the reader, he effortlessly takes us into the head of someone faced with those experiences. The result is nothing less than mind altering. An incredible journey into a dangerous country and a slippery mind. Amazing.
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2.0 out of 5 stars This is one weird book., 27 April 1998
By A Customer
Ok, I'll admit it.I enjoy arm chair travel books to places I would never,ever go to in real life. "No Mercy"-- about Lake Tele in the Congo-- seemed to fit the bill. Wrong. It's not that its badly written but...well, its more along the line of J. Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" then it is a travel book. Its full of angst, and sturn und drag, and soul searching, the author against nature, the author against himself (he carefully chronicles his brushes with madness...I mean, toward the end he was THIS close to falling off his perch, if you know what I mean.) A mental health professional who also enjoys travel books would doubtless enjoy this "Heart of Darkness" type mode, but for the ordinary arm chair traveler-- like your's truly-- forget it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars More than travel writing - a literary jem, 4 Mar 1998
By A Customer
Redmond O'Hanlon, who already pleased us with Into the Heart of Borneo and In Trouble Again, has achieved with Congo Journey what he was, with hindsight, aiming for with the two previous works. He has created a modern literary travel masterpiece.
For those of us who might have thought there was nothing left in the world to discover, O'Hanlon has recreated the nineteenth century feeling of excitement and trepidation. His book reminds us that, global village or not, the world has much mystery left in store. And he has done so with humor, depth and poetry.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The real-life Indiana Jones' best adventure to date, 20 Feb 1997
By A Customer
Redmond O'Hanlon is a living throwback to the nineteenth-century explorer-scientist, who plunges into the midst of impenetrable jungles carrying heavy scientific tomes so that he can instantly identify the bizarre fauna he spots. He is also a wild man, very funny as he describes his day-by-day adventures with the wild and with local tribespeople. The English edition, published first, attracted rave reviews in the leading papers (with some criticism of him as the examplar of the "mine is bigger than yours" school of travel writing.)
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5.0 out of 5 stars somebody tell Speilberg...this book should be a movie!, 25 Mar 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: No Mercy: A Journey into the Heart of the Congo (Paperback)
This book is written in dialogue and description, I felt like I was there...and feel like I know the people very well. I believe it's much deeper than a first read justifies. The juxtapositioning of the African spirit world with other organized religious belief is fascinating (and respectful). I would love to know how Redmond and Lary are faring healthwise after this adventure...is Redmond spending a lot of time in his fetish house...and did the baby gorilla beat the odds. In other words, give me more, more, more!
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5.0 out of 5 stars For anyone who has ever dreamed of adventure, 1 July 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: No Mercy: A Journey into the Heart of the Congo (Paperback)
This is the first O'Hanlon adventure I have read. I certainly will read his others. The book is a swirling, mesmerizing account of his trek through the swamp forest in search of a legendary dinosaur, of the natural wonders of the Congo and of his fears, thoughts and dreams. I found myself totally emersed in the vivid detail provided while telling his tale. I could see, hear and sense what he did. It had me dreaming of adventure and of writing so well about it! An awesome adventure and recounting of it!
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No Mercy: A Journey into the Heart of the Congo
No Mercy: A Journey into the Heart of the Congo by Redmond O'Hanlon (Paperback - 31 July 1998)
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