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We're open 7 days a week and deliver for a flat rate, Australia-wide. Good read! Must read. Aug 01, Scott rated it really liked it. Richard Grant is excellent.

Crazy River - A Plunge into Africa, Richard Grant

Jul 07, Steve Bera rated it it was amazing. One of the most interesting reads of Africa I have ever read. Highly recommend. Not so much about paddling as about the history and current conditions there. Nov 10, William J. Wood Jr MD rated it really liked it. A trip that went so bad you can only laugh. Excellent end section of interviews with the golden boy President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame. I'm a big fan of Grant's writings. He used to be a Tucsonan. May 13, Thomas Ryan rated it it was amazing. Great book that I read while traveling in East Africa a few back. Feb 11, Sarah Shaikh rated it it was amazing.

Easily one of the best books I've read. This book offers a wealth of knowledge about African geography, culture and history. Amazingly, this is interwoven with the author's exploration of the Malagarasi river in Tanzania. Below are some notable tidbits from the book that I especially found interesting: - Human bondage slavery is as ancient as prostitution and has been practiced all over the world. In East Africa, Arabs had been taking and buying slaves from the coastal tribes for 2, years. The reason why Africa played such a major role in the international slave trade, some historians now argue, is because slavery was already so widespread and institutionalized on the continent, with established systems of buying, trading, and transportation.

Crazy River a Plunge Into Africa by Richard Grant 9780349000275

With the growing international demand for plantation slaves in the American colonies, French Pacific colonies, and Arab countries, it was easy for African traders to extend these networks and increase supply. Communal sharing is a deeply ingrained concept, as fundamental and unquestioned as individualism in the West. If an African has money, he is supposed to share it out to his friends and extended family, and there are social penalties if he doesn't.

The fastest growing slums in the world are all in African cities. Populations are growing faster in sub-Saharan Africa than anywhere else in the world, and this is despite the ravages of Aids, malaria, other diseases, and the world's highest rates of infant mortality and lowest life expectancies. The population of Africa is expected to double by and most of these new Africans will be urban slum-dwellers pioneering new ways of surviving.

Rather cattle were objects of love and devotion and the measure of a man's wealth and status. Despite the predictability of regular droughts, men won't sell or eat their livestock even when the grass is withering, the waterholes are drying up, and their children are crying with hunger. When drought comes to the Karamojong in Uganda, they stop feeding their boy children, throw their corpses out for the hyenas when they starve to death, and give what food there is to their daughters - because girls can be traded for cattle when the drought is over.

To survive all the hardships and perils and reach old age is considered a major accomplishment and an indication of strength, intelligence, luck, and accumulated wisdom. You can flatter of woman of fifty by telling her she looks sixty. As a general rule, the older and fatter you are in this part of the world, the more respect you get. Its basic strategy is two-fold: strip out the natural resources and sell Chinese-made goods to Africans.

While the West concentrates on partnering with Africans in the areas of education, health, environmental issues, gender issues, community development projects, and bends over backward to be culturally sensitive and politically correct, China comes in with Chinese workers, hiring Africans only for the most menial tasks, and builds roads, factories, ports, dams, airports, and presidential palaces, all with the aim of boosting its trade. For the Belgian colonial authorities, however, this was too untidy. They classified the Hutu and Tutsi as two separate races. Colonial patronage went to the Tutsis and the grievances of the Hutu majority sharpened and intensified.

By the time the Belgians left in , both Hutus and Tutsis were thinking of themselves as separate races, and violence followed swiftly, culminating in the Rwandan genocide and the ethnic civil war in Burundi. View all 3 comments.


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Mar 05, Dale rated it it was amazing. Richard Grant is a master of description. His books pull you in and take you to place he so aptly describes and he is a compassionate observer of people and places. This is the third book of his I've read and all of them have been fantastic. Feb 24, Gary rated it really liked it. Pretty damn good. I definitely learned something. I learned that I'll never go to East Africa. Jul 05, Andrea rated it liked it Shelves: africa , travel. I wavered about how many stars to give this book. Grant is an honest writer, who freely admits his own ignorance and fears when appropriate.

He admits, for example, that one of the major purposes and driving necessities of his trip to the Malagarasi River in Tanzania is to be able to write a book about it. He roughly follows Richard Burton's attempt to find the source of the Nile, starting in Zanzibar and traveling through Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda.

His description is vivid and interesting. I I wavered about how many stars to give this book. I did get a little tired of his assumption that "real life" is always to be found in cheap bars and dives, however. He seems to be a pretty poor judge of character and evinces very little healthy skepticism about some of the people whom he comes to admire, one of whom he sincerely believes to be a world class golf pro who just happens to be drinking himself to death in Zanzibar in the company of someone Grant believes to be the president's son because someone in a bar told him that's who it was.

I share his skepticism about aid projects and NGOs, and I admire his attempts to integrate into the local culture, but I can't help feeling he would have written a better, more insightful book, if he had spent less of his prep time on geography of the Nile and a little more talking to African immigrants near his home and brushing up his French and Swahili.

A fun book to read for the adventure and the author's humor and honesty, but don't expect any deep or unusual insights. His generalizations about Africa and Africans are probably forgivable for the genre; travel writing is all about generalizing based on little information, but they are still a bit much at times. Jan 16, Paul rated it it was amazing Shelves: travel. One of the best things about travel writing is learning about places you will likely never get to Visit. With Richard Grant's latest book, he continues the theme he started with his last book God's Middle Finger and that is writing about places you would not go to unless you are insane!

This is rather entertaining considering it is the home of the most violent drug cartels in history. Where horrific One of the best things about travel writing is learning about places you will likely never get to Visit. Where horrific murders take place daily, and unless you are forced to be there no one wants to be there.

From there he travels to Tanzania to navigate down a river which is next to impossible. He closes out the book by interviewing the president of Rwanda. In between we learn about a couple of counties in Africa that are often times beyond comprehension. He also discusses how destructive all of the aid that western countries pour into Africa is and how it has made many African countries wholly dependent on it. I won't labor this part of the book as there are many books out there that discuss government aid and NGO's and the damage they do in the name of help.

Apr 01, Melissa Lindsey rated it really liked it Shelves: round-the-world-challenge-read , africa , diversity-and-social-justice , refugees , travel. Books like these are why I love reading around the world so much -- In just a few short days, I was able to travel down a wild and crazy river through Tanzania and then overland to Burundi and on to Rwanda.

Along the way, I had a fabulous tour guide who took the time to carefully explain the historical significance of these areas, as well as give me a crash course in Burton's travel exploits in these areas. All the fun and adventure, with none of the risk -- other than those associated with sitti Books like these are why I love reading around the world so much -- In just a few short days, I was able to travel down a wild and crazy river through Tanzania and then overland to Burundi and on to Rwanda.

All the fun and adventure, with none of the risk -- other than those associated with sitting so much, which according to the latest reports, are not inconsequential. I really did enjoy this book. I am not the same kind of traveler as Grant he spends an awful lot of time in bars and talked about prostitutes more than I cared for , and I would likely never visit the places he did, even if I did visit this part of Africa, but it was interesting to read of his experiences.

I especially enjoyed the way he wove current issues into his travel writing, especially when he wrote about Burundi and Rwanda after the genocides there. Often the writing that comes out of these places emphasizes the hope that people feel and the power of forgiveness, which is important -- but I appreciated that Grant took the time to really make his readers feel how difficult that forgiveness really is.

Crazy River: A Plunge into Africa by Richard Grant - Books - Hachette Australia

More than any other account I have read about Rwanda, I felt the weight of the country as is heals from a brutal genocide that implicated many of its citizens. Sep 30, Erin rated it really liked it Shelves: first-reads. Everyone should read this book. Richard Grant, like the explorers of old, has balls. He travels to scary, far off places that sane people dream about seeing but avoid out of common sense and fear. He makes you have not just a sense of a place, but makes you see it, feel it, smell it and learn its history Africa, despite whatever attempts have been made is still the dark continent Its people are its greatest plague.

Even so, Mr. Grant tries to look on the bright side and hold out hope for a people who frankly never have responded to any sort of help in the past. His humanity is appealing although misguided. One can only hope that some type of population control will help bring back the majestic animals we all grow up loving.

Even though I disagreed with some of Mr. Grant's mindset, he's an amazing writer and adventurer. The world needs explorers even in modern times, when most people think exploration is outdated. Feb 02, Linda Nichols rated it it was amazing. Changed many things I had thought about Africa -- I will never look at foreign aid the same way again, and I will never look at dictatorships the same way again. The trick is to find the beneficial in both. When foreign aid ends up in a corrupt dictator's Swiss bank account, or in a restaurant to feed rich foreigners, rather than helping the squalidly poor people it was meant for, something must be changed -- either in the way it is distributed, or just cut off entirely.


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A "good" di Outstanding! A "good" dictator can improve his country, as was the case with Paul Kagame of Rwanda, who apparently was improving his country, turning it into the poster child for African success. The book was written by a man who had learned there was still a river in East Africa that had not been explored and wanted to be the one to do so. What he saw, learned, and experienced along the way is the basis for this book, and it is very informative, even for one who had been to Africa before, though only in pretty much a safari setting.

In East Africa, he went into the poor neighborhoods, the cafes and night clubs, was hit on by prostitutes, beggars, rapacious officials who demanded bribes for everything, frightening wildlife, and voracious insects. It is a very interesting book, and I highly recommend it. Dec 19, John rated it it was amazing.

He sets out to explore a continent quite new to him by trying to navigate the Malagarasi River, one of the last seemingly uncharted rivers. On the way he discovers the intertwined lives of Zanzibar, the underbelly of Tanzania, the ravaged beauty of Burundi and manages to interview the president of Rwanda, a country still one step away from the next genocide. Often times funny and poignant Grant brings a refreshing look into this part of the world. Still, it is a trip worth taking with a writer who deftly looks at the world with fresh eyes.

Aug 01, Justine Philyaw rated it really liked it. Grant is a seasoned travel writer, and I will definitely be picking up the rest of his books now. Funny, honest, curious, and yes, a little crazy, Grant tried to be the 1st person to descend the Malagarasi River in Western Tanzania. He comes to realize why no one else has tried it yet and learns quite a bit about East Africa and its people along the way. I enjoyed that Grant mingles the account of his trip with details about the trips of 19th century explorers whose paths he is retracing. T Grant is a seasoned travel writer, and I will definitely be picking up the rest of his books now.

The only part I didn't like was Grant's description of the coastal town of Bagamoyo. I have been in Bagamoyo for the past 3 weeks and have found it to be a welcoming, friendly place where you can truly "lay down your heart. If you are heading to East Africa, Tanzania especially, this book will be more helpful and more entertaining than anything from Lonely Planet or Fodor. If you want to know about how NGOs are doing as much damage as good in Africa, if you want to hear firsthand accounts of the genocide in Rwanda, if you want to meet some fascinating ex-pats, if you are interested in the history of African exploration beyond Stanley and LIvingstone, spend some time on the Crazy River.

Dec 11, Trey rated it it was amazing Shelves: for-fun. As with his other book, God's Middle Finger, Grant goes exploring in a pretty extreme place and once again writes another perfect travel novel.

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If you're writing about traveling, especially traveling in Africa, you almost have to immediately apologize for being the sort of douche who'd wax poetic about the beautiful places afflicted by such horrors. But rather than take the Theroux route of turning it into a self-serving spiritual journey like Eat, Pray, Love, Grant is blunt and honest about wha As with his other book, God's Middle Finger, Grant goes exploring in a pretty extreme place and once again writes another perfect travel novel. But rather than take the Theroux route of turning it into a self-serving spiritual journey like Eat, Pray, Love, Grant is blunt and honest about what he sees while happily admitting that he has no context that affords him the ability to make sense of it.

And over all of it he matches his travels with those of the great explorers who bumbled around the continent looking for the source of the Nile like conquering heroes while the people who'd been living there for generations looked at them like idiots bc to them the source of the Nile was an entirely irrelevant question.