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Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Cape Town by [Theroux, Paul]
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Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Cape Town Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 91 customer reviews

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Length: 505 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product description

Review

"If you appreciate a fine writer in bis finest form, if you are curious about Africa, if you delight in eccentricity, make the trek with Theroux."

About the Author

Paul Theroux's travel books include THE GREAT RAILWAY BAZAAR, THE PILLARS OF HERCULES and, most recently, FRESH-AIR FIEND. His latest novel, HOTEL HONOLULU, was published in paperback in May 2002.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1864 KB
  • Print Length: 505 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (24 Nov. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0063GE6C8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 91 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #50,857 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent!
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Format: Kindle Edition
Theroux is an amazing travel writer—he is genuine. When he is irritated or finds something to be disappointed about he tells us, but it doesn't seem contrived or as though he is being deliberately ironic or negative (looking at you Bill Bryson). When he is enthusiastic about something, he is not gushing, but you appreciate what he is sharing.

Many readers have not liked this book because Theroux is obviously disappointed with Africa. Having lived in a third world country myself, I felt in so many places that I could relate to his disappointments, his realistic dry-eyed assessment of the people and the situations around him. Fact is, much of what he comes across is total crap, and much of it is due to the people who continue to live in a dire situation without helping themselves. While that is not a particularly PC or romantic view, Theroux tells it as he sees it; therefore when he praises something you feel that is equally as genuine.

This book worked for me — the romance of the travel makes me want to jump on a train and take off for an adventure; but the description of Africa makes me realise that is not where I would want to be heading.
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Format: Paperback
I began this book on a trip to Uganda ... and finished it a month later when I returned to Africa on a trip to Ethiopia and South Africa. Paul captures Africa in ways that makes the book so enjoyable. I have already been to most of the countries he covered, and was amused at how well he captured the sights, smells and dynamics of the people and places. I look at Africa as Henderson The Rain King, in search for my inner self, and perhaps this is what I missed in Paul's book; he was only in search of a book to write.
I reached the end of the book also annoyed at his constant attacking of the "agents of virtue" only to find that in his last stretch he too became very much bothered with the constant nagging for change (and favours)....
To me it is obvious that he selected his experiences in a way to bring out the hardship he went through (which he chose to go through) and in places where he obviously stayed at a good hotel (as in Harare) he is silent on the matter, as if it wouldn't have been correct or might have set the wrong tone. I think in a way having been shot at in Northeastern Kenya provided him with a pedestal to elevate his quest as supernatural.
For Africa lovers definitely worth reading, for those that need to understand Africa there are books less biased.
Karibu
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Format: Paperback
finally a long-distance linear travelogue by the old master and at times it compares with his old classics - railway bazaar, patagonia expresss, iron rooster.
it delivers interesting insights on the political and economical situation in eastern and southern africa from someone who has been there and also knows the people who are in the know. (apart from that he obviously has the enviable knack of making contact with people easily).
certainly intriguing are his observations on the 'holier-than-thou' AID brigade - should help to give your money more efficiently if your are charitably inclined.
it also has its lyrical and harrowing moments - the ones that tell you that he really did it the hard way.
unfortunately the big 60 he reaches on route in johannesburg somehow seems to adversely affect mr theroux. his annoying ramblings on his sexagenarian existence (hey you have just crossed the dark star not shying away from any inconvenience so you are not that old, OK ?) leave a foul taste. as does the fact that once in south africa he seems to turn into a sexagenarian wealthy american tourist (sic). mala mala, trans-karoo first class, cape winelands, kyilitsha, blue train, the 'expensive watch stolen from the hotel strongroom' ?
had he only stopped in beitbridge.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Insightful read. Great analysis of how corrupt African governments are and how ineffectual aid is. A must read for any do gooder
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Format: Paperback
It has been sometime since I read this book but the memories still infuriate me. Also still the only book I put straight in the bin after finishing. This was described to me as 'if you only read one book about Africa....'. Well I would say don't make it this one.

His arrogant and superficial take on 'Africa' frustrated me having worked and travelled there so long. I particularly laughed at his rude description of ' tourists' yet travelled on the Blue Train and stayed at the Speke hotel. Well Paul you'll get a accurate impression of 'Africa' that way. He even described an encounter with someone I know and I would not describe them as a balanced informant on local issues.
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Format: Paperback
Dark Star Safari is an account of Paul Theroux's travels through Africa, shunning easy and convenient travel methods in favour of treacherous trains, dodgy taxis and tiny vans stuffed full of people and their belongings. Along the way he meets a whole variety of people from different walks of life, some old friends from his previous stay in Africa working for the Peace Corps and some new acquaintances. There are waiters, prostitutes, diplomats, Indian shopkeepers, white farmers, Rastafarians, ex-convicts and many more, all with a story to tell which become part of Theroux's own overarching story of his travels.

This book is interesting because of what it is: Theroux's journey is undeniably ambitious in scope and Dark Star Safari stands as a testament to that. It was a huge undertaking, accessing such a wide cross section of people from so many places, and the fact that he was able to write the book at all is impressive. It's also an area that is entirely new to me and I learnt a great deal from the book. I had no idea, for example, that there were so many Indians who migrated to various African countries to set up businesses and new lives, and Dark Star Safari is a gold mine of information such as this for the ignorant reader such as myself. He also presents a perspective on foreign aid (that it is often doing more harm than good) which I hadn't really considered before, probably because Africa isn't something that I read about terrible often, and certainly gave me pause for thought.
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