Customer Reviews


54 Reviews
5 star:
 (40)
4 star:
 (10)
3 star:
 (4)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Incredible Journey by an Inspiring Man!
If the river Congo had been in other (easier) countries this would still have been an epic adventure, but combined with the local lawlessness and corruption it is absolutely astonishing. The author, Phil, writes well and describes both the generosity and warmth of many of the local fisherman as well as the occasional aggression and hate of some people and intimidation and...
Published 21 months ago by C. P. Hennessy

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit long winded
A good read but lacks the magic. Would recommend it but not in kindle form. He was very brave. A solid read.
Published 9 months ago by Mr. T. P. Bedingfield


‹ Previous | 1 26 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Incredible Journey by an Inspiring Man!, 9 Dec 2012
By 
C. P. Hennessy "Pete Hennessy" (Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
If the river Congo had been in other (easier) countries this would still have been an epic adventure, but combined with the local lawlessness and corruption it is absolutely astonishing. The author, Phil, writes well and describes both the generosity and warmth of many of the local fisherman as well as the occasional aggression and hate of some people and intimidation and corruption from violent officials. He takes it all in his stride (well, losing his rag a fair few times). His self confidence is phenomenal, as is his belief in the goodness of others.

Just the length of the journey - 5 months alone or with a local, in such a potentially hostile environment is hard. By the end Phil is obviously suffering a little mentally, but as he says at the start of the book, facing adversity strengthens us. He had a huge amount of adversity and the book shows his strength.

He mentions Blood River (by Tim Butcher). Tim is not nearly so adventurous, but his book does give a better description of why the Democratic Republic of Congo is in the state that it is in. I recommend both books for different reasons, but this is the most inspiring!

Thanks Phil!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant. Perhaps should be renamed 'A Nutter In The Congo!', 31 July 2012
By 
M. A. Heason - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Last year (2011) at ShAFF Phil Hayward came to the festival to introduce his film, a 20 minute short filmed and edited by himself, on his solo canoe expedition down the Congo river. A few months previously I had read a book called Blood River, about a journalist's travels through the Congo. The journalist had painted such a bleak picture of the country that I found it hard to fathom how somebody could contemplate embarking on a canoe journey there all alone.

Well having met Phil, watched his film, and now read his book, it's clear that he is no ordinary man! With a military background Phil is not what you would call aggressive, but he certainly doesn't shy away from confrontation, and this, it seems, was the key to his success in the Congo. Whenever he was confronted by anybody, from tribesmen to drunk officials, he stood his ground and did not part with any of the money he was carrying on his person. He did recruit guides at times who acted as body guards, and chose well. At one point on the trip he is pursued by a band of machete wielding men who are clearly going to overhaul him and most likely kill him, so he decides to turn and face them, machete of his own in hand, and they retreat, clearly not expecting a madman, and each fearing for his own life.

The book is basic in many ways. Phil is no seasoned travel writer, but the story is so compelling and Phil such a character that the rawness of his style actually helps to paint the picture of a slightly insane, but fun-loving guy throwing caution to the wind and taking on what must rank as one of the most audacious journeys of the modern era. Had the very same story been written by a journalist one might have felt that it had been embellished and exaggerated. The fact that Phil has written it leaves you in no doubt as to its authenticity! In fact he dismisses Blood River as just such a yarn.

If you fancy immersing yourself in another man's madness by means of adventure travel then check out this book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit long winded, 14 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A good read but lacks the magic. Would recommend it but not in kindle form. He was very brave. A solid read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really great book, 12 Jun 2013
I don't read much, and I read this book cover to cover in about 4 days. What Phil Harwood did is absolutely incredible - canoeing the full length of the Congo in one of the most dangerous countries in the world.

I really liked his writing style - it was direct but very evocative, (unlike Bruce Parry's Amazon book, where he waxes lyrical about every plant and starts waffling).

Phil takes you on a journey, not just through the jungle and rivers of the DR Congo, but into the communities that live there, and his interactions with them, and what characters he met along the way (and he pretty much seemed to have met them all! Corrupt, threatening, generous, humble ...).

The only reason I've given it 4 stars and not 5 are two small reasons, which are probably personal only to me: Firstly, he describes the people and characters and state of affairs brilliantly, but he doesn't do the same for the landscapes and the wildlife that live there. I mean, he does do *some*, but at times it was difficult to know whether he was surrounded by jungle, or out on open flat land.
Secondly, leading on from the point above, I didn't feel too much sense of danger when I read the book, some parts are very matter-of-fact, despite the fact that he was in a dangerous situation. I mean, it's probably just due to the fact that it was written by a fearless guy, but sometimes I felt like he wasn't ever scared. Even when he accidently gets caught in a massive spiders' web (and by his own admission he has a huge fear of spiders), he describes it pretty matter-of-factly. In short, because he doesn't show much emotion at points, it makes you as a reader hard to feel it either.

All in all though, a really great read, and I'd recommend it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tough, tough journey, 8 Jan 2013
Harwood sets out to canoe the entire length of the Congo river, from the attributed source to the sea. It is an unbelievably tough journey, with 10 hours paddling in his canoe each and every day. The route is through one of the most desperate parts of the world, with the fall out from years of poverty and civil war.

He meets the entire spectrum of humanity along the way, from nasty pieces of work, real death threats, and people who could not be any friendlier and more generous, and who are embarrassed about their fellow countrymen's behaviour. Through all the trial he survives and learns as much about himself, as Africa.

A book that those who have read Blood River will like.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive tale impressively told, 7 July 2014
By 
Fandango - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I was worried this would be a solid but tedious read. Actually Phil Harwood writes pretty well, and the lack of adjectives and hyperbole for me makes his achievement even more impressive.

The journey he describes is astonishing and told me all I expected to find out. But I also learned a lot about the countries, and the way he interacted with and learned from those he met along the way is a story full of (unpreachy) lessons itself.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars A route less travelled, 3 July 2014
This review is from: Canoeing the Congo: The First Source-to-Sea Descent of the Congo River (Paperback)
Evocative descriptions of river, jungle and independent travel. This incredible journey is vividly brought to life with a matter of fact writing style and casual observations of the people he meets, the corruption that frustrates him and sense of contentment with life. All armchair adventurers or those with an interest in seeing Africa from an unorthodox perspective should read this book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Norman Thomson, 22 Jun 2014
What a great read and what a bloke. Phil has used every resource imaginable to achieve an incredible goal. This has been a huge physical challenge yet he has persevered where most would have given up and succeeded in overcoming problems often using his incredible charm. The book is written in a way that you could think you were sitting having a chat over a pint with Phil. It's no nonsense with nothing missed out. Anyone with an interest in travel in Africa would enjoy this book. Not just paddlers.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars excellent, 3 Jun 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Canoeing the Congo: The First Source-to-Sea Descent of the Congo River (Paperback)
Brilliantly written story of an epic journey. Loved the way he gets the atmosphere over whilst telling the story.
I couldn't pit it down.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Top class adventure, 27 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Believable tale of determination and struggle against nature and human obstacles, each stage builds to a finale worthy of the effort. Reflection of the corruption in parts of Africa told in an enjoyable 'bullish' narrative. Well recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 26 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Canoeing the Congo: The First Source-to-Sea Descent of the Congo River
£6.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews