Hailed by Bill Bryson and the New York Times Book Review as an emerging master of travel writing, Tayler penetrates one of the most forbidding regions on Earth. Journeying along routes little altered since the Middle Ages, he uses his linguistic and observational gifts to illuminate a venerable, enigmatic culture of nomads and mystics.
Though no stranger to privation (having journeyed across Siberia and up the Congo for his earlier books), Tayler is unprepared for the physical challenges that await him in a Sahara dessicated by eight years of unprecedented drought. He travels across a landscape of nightmares - charred earth, blinding sky, choking gales, and what is fittingly called the Valley of the Dead. The last Westerner to attempt this trek left his skeleton in the sand, and even Tayler's camels wilt in the searing wastes.
But his remarkable perseverance, as well as his fluency in classical and Moroccan Arabic, helps him find here a bracing purity. The Saharawi Bedouin among whom he journeys are ur-Arabs, untouched by the modernity or radicalism that festers elsewhere in the Arab world. By revealing their ingenuity, their wit, their unrivaled hospitality, and more, Tayler upends our notions of what is, and what is not, essentially Arab.
About Jeffrey Tayler
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Published August 12, 2013
by Mariner Books.
Education & Reference, Travel.