Crossing the Heart of Africa: An Odyssey of Love and Adventure

Julian Smith, Harper Perennial, $14.99 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-06-187347-8
Smith, who writes for Outside and National Geographic, offers a perilous saga of commitment and cannibals in this travel memoir. Saying farewell to his bachelorhood, Smith prepares for his trip to the altar with a trip through Africa, retracing a little-known 4,500-mile route from the Cape of Good Hope to Cairo first traveled on foot in 1899 by explorer Ewart Scott Grogan. In Grogan, Smith sees a man who tackled the arduous for love and fortune, one with answers for his own self doubt; in Smith, readers find a thoughtful, observant commitment-phobe who uses Grogan's adventures as both reference and inspiration for a picturesque narrative. In Malawi, just south of where Grogan hired intrepid Watonga helpers, Smith finds Madonna and adoption the hot topic. Grogan knew isolation; Smith has a cellphone. Integral but less compelling is Smith's romance with his girlfriend, Laura. His happy moral—"compared to making a marriage work, crossing Africa is easy"—may seem more a reprieve than a revelation. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/22/2010
Release date: 12/01/2010
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-06-203061-0
Compact Disc - 978-1-4829-1184-8
MP3 CD - 978-1-4829-1182-4
Compact Disc - 978-1-4829-1185-5
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