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on 8 January 2001
Matthiessen is as perceptive in his observations as he is in his writings. The attention to detail - to colour, movement and sound - brings every sensation of being in the Bush back to mind. He is one of the few African writers who not only understands much of what is African, both of man and of animals, but is able to convey this 'African-ness' to the armchair reader. To read descriptions of both flora and fauna is utterly exhilarating; the vast knowledge that Matthiessen has of these things is combined with an ability to recount these experiences in a way that is not only beautiful and convincing, but breathtaking, and sometimes, frightening. Despite not promoting overt conservation, Matthiessen describes an Africa that reminds us of what we risk losing should we continue headlong to destroy the areas he describes. The power of vast open spaces of Africa is tantalisingly balanced against a desperate fragility of a truly wild place. This eats gently at a conscience that is otherwise overawed with the beauty of his descriptions.
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on 17 February 2010
The "tree where man was born" is the ancient baobab, the thick-trunked 'upside down' tree (as if its roots spread out from its top). This arboreal oddity saw our oddity of a species descend from the branches and out onto the African plains.

This book will bounce you over Africa's washboard roads. It describes Africa's broad 360-degree panoramas, the intimacies of its wildlife, and its crazy locals (of all colours). Matthiesson is naturalist poet and this book is as beautiful to read as it is informative. More than any other it evokes the spirit of Sub-Saharan Africa.

I still have my paperback that I read on on the road from Nairobi down to South Africa. Since then I have also since picked up a hardback copy which entwines Eliot Porter's equally resonant "African Experience" photography. Definitely, though, pack the paperback in your rucksack should you set off to discover, or to rediscover, Africa.

P.S. Africa fans will also love Africa: A Biography of the Continent and Congo Journey
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on 11 April 2014
a unique writer captures an adventure in africa that anyone would want to experience. Matthiessen should be cherished by all who enjoy deep and thoughtful and humane writing.
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on 9 April 2014
On time, excellent value and good condition what more is needed.

Had not appreciated how good a book it is the photographs are also first class.
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on 6 September 2015
I got this for the Porter images and found them rather ordinary. The text is fascinating and insightful-buy it for that!
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