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No Mercy: A Journey into the Heart of the Congo Paperback – 31 Jul 1998
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From the Inside Flap
Lit with humor, full of African birdsong and told with great narrative force, No Mercy is the magnum opus of "probably the finest writer of travel books in the English language," as Bill Bryson wrote in Outside, "and certainly the most daring."
Redmond O'Hanlon has journeyed among headhunters in deepest Borneo with the poet James Fenton, and amid the most reticent, imperilled and violent tribe in the Amazon Basin with a night-club manager. This, however, is his boldest journey yet. Accompanied by Lary Shaffer--an American friend and animal behaviorist, a man of imperfect health and brave decency--he enters the unmapped swamp-forests of the People's Republic of the Congo, in search of a dinosaur rumored to have survived in a remote prehistoric lake.
The flora and fauna of the Congo are unrivalled, and with matchless passion O'Hanlon describes scores of rare and fascinating animals: eagles and parrots, gorillas and chimpanzees, swamp antelope and forest elephants. But as he was repeatedly warned, the night belongs to Africa, and threats both natural (cobras, crocodiles, lethal insects) and supernatural (from all-powerful sorcerers to Samale, a beast whose three-clawed hands rip you across the back) make this a saga of much fear and trembling. Omnipresent too are ecological depredations, political and tribal brutality, terrible illness and unnecessary suffering among the forest pygmies, and an appalling waste of human life throughout this little-explored region.
An elegant, disturbing and deeply compassionate evocation of a vanishing world, extraordinary in its depth, scope and range of characters, No Mercy is destined to become a landmark work of travel, adventure and naturalhistory. A quest for the meaning of magic and the purpose of religion, and a celebration of the comforts and mysteries of science, it is also--and above all--a powerful guide to the humanity that prevails even in the very heart of darkness.
"From the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
20th century expedition ,they were made of strong stuff
Arrived on time and in good order
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... Read morePublished on 1 July 1999
This is one of those travel narratives that takes a real commitment, 450 pages of densely set type in a hefty book. Read morePublished on 29 April 1999
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. Read morePublished on 25 Mar. 1999
I found this book so interesting and humouroslyinformative ,that halfway through it I ordered O'Hanlons "Borneo" book online! Read morePublished on 16 Mar. 1999
I wished the book were twice as long. Compassion evident throughout, sitting inside Mr O'Hanlon as he rendered any conversation. Read morePublished on 10 Feb. 1999