Crazy River: A Plunge into Africa Paperback – 17 Jan 2013
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Grant is a fearless, literary-minded travel writer. In his latest escapade he makes a maiden descent down the unexplored East African river, the Malagarasi (Richard Fitzpatrick Irish Examiner)
A high-energy book (Iain Finlayson The Times)
Grant has the makings of a first-class travel writer. He's wide-eyed without being too trusting, good at ferreting out unlikely people and possessed of ample reserves of both masochism and self-pity (John Preston Spectator)
* A thrilling story of three months in the most remote spot Tanzania, the Malagarasi river, the 'river of bad spiritsSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Good book for a plane trip - will almost certainly make you feel good about your chosen destination (unless it's the darker parts of the dark continent) - unlike the authors experience.
Great descriptive writing brings us a wry take on African adventure, compared with Burton and Speke’s own historic explorations. The author provides us with a view into a society which is almost its own worst enemy, as environmental damage, poverty and corruption vie for the role of the evil villain in his tale.
Highly engaging and entertaining, this may not be the way to organise your travel, but it is a good way to structure a book. His haphazard journey of discovery is far more comfortably experienced from an armchair.
I think the title is slightly misleading as, for me, this is not so much a book about a river journey as an informative, thought-provoking, entertaining account of the author’s encounters in Zanzibar, Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Bujumbura (Burundi) and Kigali (Rwanda) which give a very different perspective to the usual western dogmas on Africa. His commentary on Burundi and President Nkurunziza (his visit was in 2010) describe what is with hindsight a breathing space between horrific conflicts. I am also reminded that Grant has serious journalist credentials by his account of his interview with President Paul Kagame in Kigali.
Although the river is the nominal focus of the book, the actual time on raft in the river is limited due to the time of year (dry season!), the presence of poachers and bandits, and impenetrable papyrus swamp, but it still sounds plenty dangerous even allowing for the sensible precaution of having hired an experienced local hunter and his team.
Unlike his previous books this one does not include an extended series of notes, references and recommended reading (to my surprise, these had actually led to me reading several of those referenced). However, intersected with his own journey is a gripping account of the remarkable hardship experienced by the Victorian explorers Burton and Speke in their search for the source of the White Nile alongside their terminally deteriorating relationship.Read more ›
The author is hugely cynical about any funding/aid being granted to African countries, and often passes his opinion as fact.
A lot of the book is almost a biography of Sir Richard Burton, which although interesting you get the sense that it is used to fill out the book. Again the author is highly cynical of others who happened to criticise Burton.
All in all the book is ok, however, if you are looking for something about the wilds of Africa you should probably look elsewhere.
Crazy River is an account of his experiences in attempting to undertake the first complete journey down a major river in Tanzania. The book has nothing in common with the type of travel writing that is a commentary on monuments, meals and modes of transport and is about as far removed from a tourist safari as it is possible to be. He really experience's life in the raw, and his perceptive and challenging account of life for the people who live in this region is a real eye opener. As with his book "Bandit Roads"Bandit Roads: Into the Lawless Heart of Mexico he comes close, on several occasions, to very serious harm and he mixes it with some seriously dodgy characters. His observations on the impact of N.G.O.'s and aid in East Africa are very thought provoking.
The book is a really great read, none of the writing comes over as contrived or manufactured, it hits the spot and will live in your memory for a long time.Buy it!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was a great mixture of exciting travel and some incisive political insights.Published 6 months ago by Don Brewin
Book arrived on time and packaging excellent---tks. Been more than a few "moons" since I enjoyed a story more than this one.Published 8 months ago by msd 57
Not sure how this book has merited 3 x 5 star reviews so far. Decent read but the river journey is a small part of Grant's meanderings in Africa. Read morePublished 22 months ago by J. Wilkie
As an excellent narrator, Grant took me on an adventure from Zanzibar to Rwanda. This intelligent & thought provoking book opened my eyes to the joys & pains of Africa. Read morePublished on 29 May 2014 by Melanie H