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5.0 out of 5 stars An overlandig Virgil?, 1 Aug 2014
By 
Castiglioni Luca (Italy) - See all my reviews
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I'm a great fan of Sam Manicom's work. I read all his books and had the pleasure of meeting him at EICMA in Milan. So I guess you can tell I liked the content of the books, that's way I would like to focus on the quality of the audiobook rather than its subject. I have some experience in the field of professional audio recording, having worked as an assistent engineer in some local studios and having a well equipped home studio for my music recording needs.

The audio quality of this project is generally very good, although one can ear the audible cuts between takes, some page turning sounds and some small glitches (small things that can happen when mixing a 26 hour long recording...). I guess the only element that might be unnerving to some are the constant fade in and outs between takes. They happen at different audio levels, so can be quite evident at times, a crossfade would have been less invasive.

Sam's delivery is funny, light hearted and really takes you along for the ride. The plus of having the author reading is own book, telling you his story, is quite evident. He's not an actor reciting a piece, but a friend telling you an adventure or two at the pub!

In conclusion, it's not an over refined, expensive production, but a genuine, thoroughly enjoyable listening experience. I commute every day both by train and car and Sam has managed to keep me company and make me remember that the world it's not limited to the confines of Milan's highways and traffic...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely brilliant., 26 Sep 2014
I've been meaning to write this review for 3 years now - once on first enjoying it before my own big motorcycle adventure, when Sam's hugely evocative and exciting descriptions of the sights, smells, sounds and adventures of Africa set my imagination racing as to all that might lay before me, and now when I recently decided to listen again, partly out of nostalgia but also out of just the major comfort factor that hearing Sam's tales gives me. But don't let that description make you think that his trip was an easy, uneventful dawdle - it was anything but - the tales of multiple broken bones and imprisonments speak for themselves! What I mean by "comfort factor" is Sam's ability to welcome (more or less) every new encounter with fresh openness and genuine warmth, teamed with a natural humility and respect for each new person he meets, means that so many of his consequent experiences can't help but delight and amuse, bringing a contented smile back to my face after another tough day in the big smoke. I love this audiobook as a biker, adventurer and Africa enthusiast, and now in turn my mum (definitely not a biker!) is listening to it as she recuperates from a big op as a means of some high-quality escapism teamed with tales of the unexpected! A fantastic audiobook - can't wait to try the Under Asian Skies one too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Inspirational Adventure Across Africa, 13 Jun 2011
By 
J.Espresso (Portland, Oregon) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Into Africa (Paperback)
The first of four books chronicling author Sam Manicom's eight year motorcycling odyssey across the globe, Into Africa is simultaneously a daring and adventurous two wheeled trek across that continent, and a deeply interpersonal journey filled with keen observations and some gorgeous and at times (when called for) detailed descriptive writing.

In full disclosure, I met Sam on this trip and we have maintained a warm relationship since, despite his nearly killing me in Tanzania (I'm John, the American bloke who was with him for the motorcycle accident in Tanzania, chronicled in the first chapter). That said, I would give Into Africa a five star review regardless of who was writing it, as it is quite simply a fantastic read and a stunning achievement.

Deciding to "live the dream", Sam Manicom chucks his retail job in the UK for the ride of a lifetime. An amateur motorcyclist at the beginning and filled with many of the doubts any of us might have had on undertaking a trip like this, Sam perseveres for a ride through Southern Europe, into Egypt, down through some of the most treacherous terrain in the world in Sudan, to Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa. In some ways, it's a wonder he survived at all, as along the way he is shot at in Sudan, temporarily jailed in Tanzania, and thrown from his bike by a Namibian pothole in a terrifying accident that lands him in the hospital. For most, this would have been the end of the trip, but for Sam, this is all just the beginning, as the subsequent three books which detail his continuing travels around the world attest to.

The beauty of Into Africa however are not the accidents and adventures - exciting as those chapters are -- but the off the beaten path interactions with the locals. The chapter chronicling his journey to a remote village in Tanzania, where the curious villagers allow him to stay with them for several days -- Sam observing them while they observe him -- is one of the most beautiful and touching pieces of writing I've come across anywhere. Interactions with locals as well as fellow travelers of varied stripes (and of varying degrees of trustworthiness) are what makes this book different from other travelogues and so much more than just a book about a motorcycle adventure in Africa.

Readers who enjoy this book will also very much enjoy the rest of Sam's books which continue the journey. Into Africa is highly recommended not just for those who enjoy motorcycles, but for those who enjoy cross-cultural experiences, travel, and who are fascinated with the world and the people who inhabit it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, 4 Jun 2014
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An excellent tale of adventure that is extremely well written and a fascinating insight into travel in Africa.

Once started I didn't want to put it down.

It will make you think of planning your own adventure....
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5.0 out of 5 stars Well Written, 16 May 2014
By 
Simon Skinner (Penge, London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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For someone to learn to ride a bike and just give up Normal life within a short space of time, this is a great jump in with both feet story.
After passing a bike test, the real learning begins. To ride the length of Africa, with no previous experience takes a certain type of person. Sam is that type of person and made the journey sound fun.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sam - a great read, 4 May 2014
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Fab, I devoured it. Great stories and an good skill at writing. To me as a biker for 44 years who has travelled for over 3 months at a time, this was a joy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The voice that launched a thousand trips, 16 Dec 2013
We never had a telephone, my Gran did, and when I went to visit I was allowed to listen to a bedtime story down the phone, usually read by Johnny Morris. I had completely forgotten about that childhood memory until I hard this talking book. Narrated by the author, it is a story told with the passion and accuracy of a firsthand experience. Read at a pace that allows the listener to visualize the scene and immerse themselves in the situation described. Now richer in cultural, and geographical facts, I feel I can speak of the continent, safe in the knowledge that I am much better informed that I was before I let the author take me on his journey with him.
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5.0 out of 5 stars If only, 25 Dec 2012
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This is the nearest I will get to travelling into Africa by motorcycle, my journeys all go into Europe, as far as I can go in a short time. This book is entrancing with its detail, good and difficult.
Absolutely brilliant.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great read, 8 Mar 2011
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Simply put Sam is a great storyteller. I am not into non-fiction generally, and you have to catch my interest quickly or I just won't finish a book... Sam got me on page 1.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational., 10 Nov 2010
By 
Ezri (Wales UK.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Into Africa (Paperback)
I bought this book for a friend who isn't much into travel reading and doesn't ride a bike, but who did need a reminder of what's possible. Such as a non-biker buying a bike and setting off around Africa on the kind of adventures us lifelong bikers only dream of. Not to mention the fact Sam had never written a book before and openly wondered if readers would even be interested. Then produces a fantastic page turner!
It's not just the adventure Sam takes us on, but the way he tells it. His writing style is akin to sitting with a good friend and listening to his travel stories. I so enjoyed the way he described everything he could see, smell and hear in a neat, interesting way that really takes you there, before he whisks you off again.
I've read a lot of travel books and this is one of my favourites.
As for my friend, he was not only inspired but got into reading travel books too!
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Into Africa
Into Africa by Sam Manicom (Paperback - 2005)
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