Drums Along the Congo Pa

Rory Nugent, Author
Rory Nugent, Author Mariner Books $10.95 (248p) ISBN 978-0-395-67071-2
Reviewed on: 05/31/1993
Release date: 06/01/1993
Hardcover - 248 pages - 978-0-395-58707-2
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``Being more interested in chasing a dream than in the precise diameter of a footprint, I'm here to substantiate the obscure,'' says explorer Nugent, who takes us on an energizing, entertaining spin through the Congo in pursuit of a prehistoric creature purported to be still roaming the rain forest: the legendary dinosaur called Mokele-Mbembe, the God-Beast. Along the way, a witch doctor takes Nugent's money, strips him naked, covers him with a foul-smelling jellied substance and exorcises his devils. Nugent tangles with government bureaucrats to obtain necessary travel permits, he meditates on the African notion of river spirits and on animism, suffers from diarrhea and scorching heat, witnesses a celebration in honor of a girl's first menstruation, tries to coax music and magic out of a set of bongos, hunts and eats crocodiles (he finds that a roasted croc steak is tasty but very greasy), and is threatened by Pygmies with bows and arrows. From a distance, Nugent finally spots the God-Beast. But the natives are spooked and, by gunpoint, prevent him from getting closer; he only sees a vague image and, he relates, even the experts who examine his photographs later in New York aren't sure what Nugent has captured on film. Photos not seen by PW. Author tour. (June) Nugent's The Search for the Pink-Headed Duck , about his quest for a rare bird in India, is a June paperback reprint from Houghton Mifflin, $10.95 *
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