Read The Black Nile: One Man's Amazing Journey Through Peace and War on the World's Longest River by Dan Morrison Online


A spectacular modern-day adventure along the Nile River from Lake Victoria to the Mediterranean Sea With news of tenuous peace in Sudan, foreign correspondent Dan Morrison bought a plank-board boat, summoned a childhood friend who'd never been off American soil and set out from Uganda, paddling the White Nile on a quest to reach Cairo-a trip that tyranny and war had made iA spectacular modern-day adventure along the Nile River from Lake Victoria to the Mediterranean Sea With news of tenuous peace in Sudan, foreign correspondent Dan Morrison bought a plank-board boat, summoned a childhood friend who'd never been off American soil and set out from Uganda, paddling the White Nile on a quest to reach Cairo-a trip that tyranny and war had made impossible for decades. Morrison's chronicle is a mashup of travel narrative and reportage, packed with flights into the frightful and the absurd. Through river mud that engulfs him and burning marshlands that darken the sky, he tracks the snarl of commonalities and conflicts that bleed across the Nile valley, bringing to life the waters that connect the hardscrabble fishing villages of Lake Victoria to the floating Cairo nightclubs where headscarved mothers are entertained by gyrating male dancers. In between are places and lives invisible to cable news and opinion blogs: a hidden oil war that has erased entire towns, secret dams that will flood still more and contested borderlands where acts of compassion and ingenuity defy appalling hardship and waste of life. As Morrison dodges every imaginable hazard, from militia gunfire to squalls of sand, his mishaps unfold in strange harmony with the breathtaking range of individuals he meets along the way. Relaying the voices of Sudanese freedom fighters and escaped Ugandan sex slaves, desert tribesmen and Egyptian tomb raiders, The Black Nile culminates in a visceral understanding of one of the world's most elusive hotspots, where millions strive to claw their way from war and poverty to something better-if only they could agree what that something is, whom to share it with, and how to get there. With the propulsive force of a thriller, The Black Nile is rife with humor, humanity and fervid insight-an unparalleled portrait of a complex territory in profound transition....

Title : The Black Nile: One Man's Amazing Journey Through Peace and War on the World's Longest River
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780670021987
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 320 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Black Nile: One Man's Amazing Journey Through Peace and War on the World's Longest River Reviews

  • Dee
    2019-03-24 16:19

    I know the effort it must have taken for a struggling freelance journalist to set out from Uganda and traverse the Nile all the way up to Cairo to - as he says himself - prove something. He worked really hard, I know. But then again, as the grandfather says in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, so do washing machines. I wanted rich descriptions of the landscapes, sights and sounds of Uganda, Sudan and Egypt, peppered with some politics and musings on the character of the locals, their lives, their dreams and struggles. What I got for about the first 50 pages was a tedious narration of how two Americans prepared for their long trip. What they bought, what they stuffed into their massive bags (that they later paid the locals to carry,) what they ate and what they wished they were eating, and what misadventures they had while applying for the necessary visas. Once they finally got on the boat, boredom was mentioned as they paddled on and on down the world's longest river. The locals were either corrupt government bureaucrats, teenagers carrying their heavy loads or others met along the way (landladies, fishermen offering rides, waiters,) where the relationship didn't involve much besides a chat and the exchange of goods and services for money. I'm not that demanding of a reader, but that was anticlimatic, especially since the subtitle calls this book "one man's amazing journey." The scenery whizzes by and so do the locals, who don't seem to have much of a reason for being written about aside from serving as a canvas for the journalist to "prove himself" and splotch his metaphors and witty descriptions. Style over substance. There is no real effort to either get to know the people of the African continent, or describe them. Or, what's worst of all, to see them as real human beings.There are just some reflections, like these, made after the journalist and his companion walk through some bog to their lodging:"'You know,' I said in the quiet, 'when I kept falling through, all I could think was, 'How can people live like this?' And then I realized, they can live like this because they have to. They have no choice. They live as they must.''They do so have a choice,' Schon said, suddenly angry. 'Of course they have a choice. Bunch of guys could get together and dig up a bunch of dirt and fill that fucking bog.'"Or this:"I'll never look at home the same way again. I'll never look at education the same way again. That's what's been missing here, the whole way, from Kampala to Juba. It's education. How are you supposed to want something if you've never seen it? And we totally take that for granted."Passages like these really hit a nerve and pissed me off. I'll try and explain and give some background, because they may seem innocent enough at first. When it comes to expats and travellers, there are at least two basic types. There are those who live happily, taking it as it comes and keeping an open mind and an open heart, despite the annoyances and despite the culture differences. The people they meet, whether it's the guy selling watermelon from a donkey cart or the crowd at the bar of an exclusive restaurant on the Corniche, are humans and equals. There are others who never stop complaining and always compare every place to the place they came from, and always want it to be like their home country and annoyed when it's not. They go home for the holidays and bring back suitcases of their favourite foods, and they move mostly within the confined circles of other expats where they crack jokes about the natives. Some, like in colonial times, have servants they like to call "maids." The passages quoted above, coupled with others throughout the first quarter of the book, convinced me that the journalist and his companion are planted firmly in that second category of expat. They just can't look past their own culture and their own egos. Why don't poor people help themselves more, they ask as if poverty in Africa was their doing. In the end, the only thing they take away from seeing people who are worse off is the satisfaction that they themselves are better off. It's always about them, and their egos.I'm getting off their boat, about a hundred pages in, and ma salama. More reviews on my blog.

  • Caroline
    2019-04-06 10:19

    I really wanted to give this book a good review as I received a pre-release free copy by means of the Book Giveaway here at Goodreads. I've never had an 'unedited' copy of a book, so naturally I started out carrying this thing around like the Holy Grail. I'm afraid I simple can't give this a good review. I'm curious as to who came up with the tagline "One Man's Amazing Journey Through Peace and War...". It's extremely misleading. That's not what the book was about. Then again, I'm not exactly sure what this book was about.I was under the impression that the author would be traveling the length of the Nile, talking to locals recording personal accounts, the effect of civil unrest. The most talking he does to the locals is: buying food, finding accommodations and transportation. Lugging his junk back and forth (through Sudan no less) how hard of a time he had finding people to lug him and his junk from point a to point b, and the people he met (mostly corrupt government officials and other travelers). At chapter 6 you start reading a bit about Sudan and SPLA/SLA (I'm no good with acronyms). That was a bit interesting. but I really didn't come back from reading this book with anything thought provoking or noteworthy.This is a true story with real people and sadly, I found neither Mr Morrison, nor his ex-alcoholic companion (Schon was it?) likable. Especially that Schon character. He seemed ticked off and annoyed that people live in poverty (why don't they do better for themselves!). I won't say what I thought of him though. The book got better once the friend returned to the US. I'm sorry decades of European colonization stripping the African land of natural resources left Africans bad off. That you don't have AC or NY strip steak and a Starbucks or a 5-star hotel. Where did he think he was going? The Alps? Both of them reminded me of the stereotypical American travelers (let me wave some chunk change in your face so you'll be my personal servant, native people of this land). Not a good look, dude. I gave it 2 stars- it was OK. But I think I'd rather sit through back to back episodes of Jersey Shore...

  • MissJessie
    2019-04-13 16:24

    I received this book as an ARC. It has taken me much longer to review it than I planned, mainly because I simply could not get interested.Mostly, I found the book irritating. What could have been a really descriptive account of an exciting adventure was, in actual fact, a list of complaints about poor sanitation, poor people, a ravaged environment (caused, according to the author, almost entirely by the "bad" westerners), lack of a boat, lack of transport, lack of sanitation, etc.My main questions are:1. Who in their right mind departs for such a place as Sudan, etc., without HAVING THE RIGHT PAPERS for travel? Such a serious lapse makes me question how much experience the author had, notwithstanding his listed previous travel in difficult areas. Sheer stupidity. And to endanger his friend, even worse.2. Why did he go with a friend who had limited time, no experience to speak of, and an attitude that the poverty of the people they encountered was mostly of their own making and due mainly to laziness? Given the complete lack of facilities and education available to these folks, is it odd they are depleting the forests and overfishing the lakes? What's the next choice? Starve? Hungry people in the present have difficulty understanding conservation, I imagine.I could go on, but I hate to throw bricks at the author. Sufficient to say, I wouldn't go anywhere less civilized than Paris with him, given his obvious lack of preparation. For Heaven's sake, he at one point mentions that his maps are years out of date. Has he never heard of buying up to date maps, using Google earth to see where he was going, anything? The miracle is that he wasn't killed through his ignorance.I hoped to learn a lot about the Nile, an area of personal interest; sorry to say, I didn't.

  • Dan
    2019-04-04 16:40

    This is my first book. I have no choice but to give it five stars. Others may wish to give it four. Or six.

  • Susan (aka Just My Op)
    2019-04-16 13:14

    4 1/2 stars. A journalist in need of a story decided to travel the Nile from Lake Victoria to the sea, covering Uganda, Sudan and Egypt, traveling as much by local means as possible. He sets out with an old friend by paddling a leaky boat despite almost no experience on the water. Although he has planned the trip, he seems remarkably both over-equipped and under-prepared, with a very outdated and inaccurate map.His friend, Schon, seems like a very unlikely person to take on this journey, and his outlook on the trip is grumpy and judgmental. When he needs to return to the United States, Dan continues alone.This is more than an travel adventure. It is a story of conflicting cultures, tribes, politics, economies, and religions. It was hard for me to keep all the tribes straight. At one point, the author is told that he can tell one tribe from another by seeing which teeth have been ceremonially removed.Mr. Morrison's wasn't just an onlooker. He talked to all the local people that he could, stayed with local people when he could, and traveled in some really odd and unreliable vehicles. His observations ranged from the mundane, everyday life of the people, something I always enjoy reading, to history and politics.“I don't understand politics,” he said.... “Like ten years ago, Egypt closed the border. Completely closed. All because of something in Ethiopia.”“Dude, I think the something was that your government tried to kill Egypt's president.”~~~~~~~“I was here before God. When did you come here? I was here six thousand years. Before religion. Before God.”(These quotes are from uncorrected proofs and may not be in the book as published.)As the author reached Egypt and the more urbane cities, it seemed the story was going to fizzle out. End of journey = end of story. That sentence is true, but the last couple of paragraphs of the book were amazing.The copy I read was an uncorrected proof. It had a map of the whole area that I referenced frequently. I believe the finished book will have additional maps. I am hoping that the finished book may also have some of the photographs that the author took. I found myself wanting to see some of the scenes and people he described and photographed. This is a great book for any readers of nonfiction who enjoy travel, politics, African history and cultures.A copy of this book was provided to me for review. I would have loved it even if it hadn't been free.Edit: I've learned that the finished book will contain about two dozen photographs. I'm going to have to get a copy.

  • Sara
    2019-04-18 17:22

    Received ARC through the Goodreads First Reads program.The Black Nile is a chronicle of Dan Morrison's journey down the Nile. Different people will have different expectations from the book based on that description. The experience I got from reading Morrison's book was not quite what I was expecting. I certainly expected the river itself to be more of a presence. Although the journey begins in a boat, much of the narrative is off the water.From the jacket copy and the first chapter or so, I expected a fish-out-of-water, learning-how-other-people-live sort of thing. An earlier reviewer noted expecting something like Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods--that's what I thought I was getting at first. But when Morrison's friend Schon goes back home, the tone of the book shifts towards one that has more of a focus on the higher-level political realities of the regions he is traveling through. Which is fine... except I was lost. I admit, I'm not the most well-versed in African political history of the last 50 years, and I think readers who are more up to speed on the topic will have an easier time getting through. I just didn't have the background information to really enjoy the book.Dan Morrison has done a fair amount of reporting for short-format sources like the San Francisco Chronicle and National Geographic News. I haven't read much of his work, but I do get the impression that his comfort zone is in shorter pieces. I found the book to be choppy. The narrative is great when Morrison focuses on a subject the way he might when writing an article, and provides some background information as well as personal touches that enable the reader to connect with the story on a personal level. Unfortunately, the parts between these sections feel strained. Transitions between physical locations tend to be abrupt and jarring--I had to keep referring to the map in the front to orient myself. I liked the last chapter very much, but the book ended abruptly. There was not enough analysis of the whole experience.I think The Black Nile could have been a better book if it had been revised to make the transitions smoother and if it had been more aggressively edited.

  • John
    2019-03-25 16:17

    The book served its purpose in filling time on a trip where I knew I'd need something for several bus and train rides; however, I can't say I'd enthusiastically recommend it. Morrison gives information in a journalistic, somewhat detached style, so that I never really felt I knew him; he is married (clearly not separated), but his wife gets only an occasional passing reference. What we do get is mostly "I went here and met with so-and-so, who told me such-and-such." There are hints of trouble for him personally, but even at the most ... sinister, he's saved at the last minute (deus-ex-machina style). Moreover, the book is rather a downer, with lots of systemic problem in the region pointed out, sans optimism.Audio narration was well done.

  • Kathryn
    2019-04-23 09:35

    This book quickly draws the reader in. From the time Dan Morrison and his friend Schon arrive in Africa, the reader never quite knows what to expect. The trip described in the book was much more grueling than I would have ever expected and in terms of the traveler's hardships reads more like the seventeenth century than the twenty-first century. There are elements that tell you that the travelers are modern though - the automatic weapons for one.Schon was one of my favorite characters in the book. His observations about Africa certainly made me think about why Africa is the way it is and whether it will ever change. This was a terrific book - a true adventure story!

  • Patrick O'Neil
    2019-04-03 09:25

    The subtitle to Dan Morrison's The Black Nile states: one man's amazing journey through peace and war on the world's longest river – and although I'm only too sure this was thought up by his editor or the publisher – it's sort of a misnomer as it simplifies Morrison's intent, and perspective readers might not expect what he ultimately delivers. I didn't find Morrison's journey amazing. I found it to be convoluted, complex and ultimately captivating, much like the subject matter: the politics, the involved countries, their diverse populations, and the ensuing upheaval and armed conflicts. As a journalist he seems set on meandering through rough areas in search of an elusive story. A story that is being played out in front of him, although for a good percentage of the book he's denied access to most of what he seeks. Not that I'm a huge fan of 1970's television – but Morrison reminds me of Peter Falk's character, the deceptively cleaver yet bumbling Lieutenant Columbo – a disheveled unimposing guy disarming folks to get to the truth. That Morrison had no real idea how he was going to actually journey down the Nile makes the book and exemplifies his reporting style. That he put himself in harms way numerous times, then backs down once, only to berate himself afterwards, speaks not only of his uncertainty, but also for how complicated and frustrating his decisions had to have been. With the complexities of the political and socioeconomics of the region being a constant influence on everyone Morrison interacts with, he interjects just enough information and history to allow a reader such as myself who doesn't know the entire situation, other than the sensationalized events such as the genocide of neighboring Darfur, to understand what is going on. His self-depreciatingly self-portrait interspersed with the journey's events is beautifully done, yet there were times I wanted to know more about Morrison in order to know how he felt about what he was witnessing. Which is odd, as I don't usually want this from an author. One of my main gripes with writers, such as Joan Didion, is that they put too much of themselves in, and I find I don't want to know that much, or I end up not caring. Maybe that's why Morrison avoids this, other than to slip in small bits of himself. That I was at first slightly confused as to what Morrison was trying to accomplish stopped bothering me halfway through the book as I realized it didn't matter. He was writing what happened – the journey was what it was about. The rest: the background, the politics, the people were the story, and it was told however they wanted Morrison to hear it. The Black Nile is a strong well written debut from an author I'm sure we'll be hearing more from.

  • Whitney Baker
    2019-04-13 16:21

    Coming from a horticultural / naturalist background, and from the position of a man given to more personal reflection than necessary, I approached The Black Nile with a prejudice toward what I might find. Would there be a romantic environmental bent? Would Mr. Morrison be tacking back and forth between the real river and some internal complement? It is often the case for me that a book that does not find early traction or does not know what it is will lose me, after I have attempted unsuccessfully to make it what I want it or expect it to be. I began this book knowing next to nothing about the Nile, only textbook images at its terminus lived in my schoolmind library. But I know what a journey is, and I know what a blank journal is, and how the marriage of the two can give a beautiful birth. Had I the guts and brains to attempt such a journey as Mr. Morrison undertook, I would have looked for particular species of fish and reeds, and if I had to dodge a bullet my concern would have been dodging it, not tracing it to the barrel. Not so for the author. The first couple of pages of Dan Morrison's story came after me, saying 'you aren't where you think you are, perhaps you aren't even who you think you are, and if you know what is good for you you'll listen carefully.' Mr. Morrison took his camera, his green pen and, for a little while, his greener friend, and dove right in, putting his life on the line for a truth far more complex and mysterious than the where and when of flower or fin. I loved this book. I loved the danger of it, I loved the persistence of Mr. Morrison's patience and query. Early on he tells us briefly that this trip is 'something he has to do', but this is more a kiss goodbye than an introduction to a personal memoir, which The Black Nile absolutely is not. The cliche here is to say 'not to give too much away' and consider it said, but there is no danger of that in any case. The sands shift, the river is eternally reborn. Read, learn, and enjoy the trip. You'll never think of this section of the map the same, I promise.

  • Christine
    2019-03-25 15:37

    Received through Goodreads First Reads for free.This book ended up somewhere different than I expected. When the story started, it reminded me of A Walk in the Woods meets Cork Boat--two of my favorite memoirs, so definitely a good thing. But eventually, the buddy leaves and the vibe changes. Most people know a lot about the Nile of Egypt...the Nile of the Pharaohs, pyramids, and history. But the Nile begins deep in Africa, in Uganda, and heads through Sudan. These are areas we've all heard about but following someone's journey through that area is a completely different thing. Morrison has an advantage in this journey, because he's been in the area in a journalistic capacity before--he understands the people and the culture, and he knows his way around the area. It's a really interesting, heartbreaking, educational look at the problems of this area and the people who make it what it is. My one complaint is that the narrative has some trouble holding together. There are chapters that pick up in a completely different location from the end of the other chapter, with not much transition. Also, the timing is kind of vague, so it's hard to keep track of where we are in time, based on where we are location wise. These are minor quibbles, however, and I highly recommend this book.

  • Carol
    2019-04-03 11:12

    This is a very difficult review for me to write. I was disappointed in the The Black Nile. It was a struggle for me to get through the first three fourths of the book. I read and then could not remember what I read. The pace was very slow and there were things that might have been better edited out because they interrupted the flow of the book. Maybe this book was just not for me. There were spots of humor and some interesting facts about the different cultures he encountered but not enough. Also there seemed to be times where more transition would have helped. I wished for more explanation of the non English words either in the narrative or in the glossary in the back. I wished for more depth of feeling during some of the remarkable experiences. In the last fourth of the book, it had a faster and easier pace. I was familiar with what was going on the areas that he explores I was not aware that the governments were so non-communicative. I had already been aware of the politics of the region but not so much the culture. The information about the cultures added a richness to the book. If the whole book had been like the last fourth I would given it a 5 star rating.

  • Jay
    2019-04-08 13:40

    I really hate not finishing books; however, I simply could not continue with "The Black Nile" after three CD's ( a little over 100 pages). Morrison could have used a good editor to get him off the "I have to capture anything and everything in absolute minute and boring detail" method of recounting his expedition (I left him at the point where he and his American buddy, Schon, parted ways, boatless and still in Uganda). What I managed to take away from this book was a sense of the ingenuity with which Ugandans (at least then) manage to survive, even thrive in some instances, with so much stacked against them, and Morrison's deep respect, if not liking, for the people he encountered (at least as far as I got in the story), is evident. I don't know if a trip like Morrison took could be told in anything other than the grinding, plodding style exhibited here, but it was a challenge beyond this reader's (or rather, listener's) ability to persevere. Two stars, because he obviously lived to tell the tale and find a publisher.

  • Ruthann
    2019-04-21 11:24

    When I saw the title of this book I couldn't wait to begin reading it. I expected excitement being on the river Nile, not boredom. It took everything I had to finish this book. If you would like to read some books with adventure I suggest The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journal by Candice Millard, or The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann. I would even recommend No Reservations: Around the World On An Empty Stomach by Anothony Bourdain. All of these book will take you to the places being described, I was just thankful I wasn't on the Nile when I tried to read this book, I probably would have fell over in boredom.

  • Carol
    2019-04-23 12:41

    I was disappointed in the book; it was a real struggle to finish it. I was expecting more of a travel adventure and a little less on the conflicts in the various countries. His friend, Schon, was one of the more interesting characters in the book but he did not hang around long. While I was reading the book, I kept asking myself who is Dan Morrison? What is he like? Why is he doing this trip? What does his wife think about this adventure? I never felt like I got to know him. I wanted more emotion.

  • Patrick Gibson
    2019-04-21 17:27

    Tracing the waters of the Nile from Uganda to Egypt, this is a journey not only across thousands of miles of Africa but also through a vast diversity of peoples and their rich and often troubled history. Weaving recent and historical events with the story of his own journey this offers a unique window onto a part of the world all too easily and often ignored. Furthermore, he casts light onto the diverse forces at play behind the conflicts that occasionally make headlines in West newspapers. What many often portray in simplistic terms as strife between Christianity and Islam, Morrison exposes as complex and fluid allegiances and schisms. Often these are less about religious differences and more about the dynamics between the wealthy and poor, those in power and those outside, competing tribes and families, and other fault lines. The book's core however is really a travelogue, and it moves at a swift and compelling pace. The first half of the book focused largely on the interplay between Morrison and a long-time friend who has joined him on the first leg of the journey. Unable to get a visa into Sudan, and burnt-out from the oppressive heat and relentless insects, his friend leaves midway into the narrative. Once alone, Morrison spends more time examining the people he meets, the history of the places he visits, and on his own reactions to the situations he encounters. The narration is occasionally gritty, making the rugged, unpredictable, and often sad lives of the people he meets tangible. Sometimes this tangibility is off-putting, reducing people to the mere the functions of their bodies. More often however the gritty realism of the situation stands in contrast to these people's humble perseverance. Simple dichotomies, between good and bad, friends and enemies are turned on their heads when presumed enemies of friends are gracious and welcoming. "Life in extremity is difficult to explain-things happen and people don't know why they are happening. Some events were fortunate and others were disastrous and that's how it went." There are no simple answers in the book. The alliances he examines are constantly reshaped and reevaluated. The landscape similarly is in constant flux, changed by logging, droughts, and streams of garbage. Massive dams threaten rich farmland and traditional ways of life while bringing much needed electricity and development to impoverished towns and cities. Questions are raised, answers are few, and impressions lasting.

  • Booknblues
    2019-04-20 11:36

    I recently have developed an addiction to travel books and especially those about long journeys in remote or troubled areas of the world. Dan Morrison's tale The Black Nile of traveling up the Nile came into my radar and I knew it would be a must read for me.After reading several other books about traveling through Africa, I was aware that the journey would have more roadblocks than the traveler could have anticipated and this was the case with Dan Morrison and his traveling companion and childhood friend, Schon Bryan. Arriving in Kampala in Uganda, they hope to find a boat to row up the Nile in, but since they can't find one they need to have one built. while they are waiting they explore their environment and take a boat trip on Lake Victoria.Dan Morrison a journalist, who has worked around Africa, the Middle East and South Asia has a somewhat snarky style and can be both amusing an informative. He is quite capable of thinking on his feet and this enabled him to get through difficult situations during his journey up the Nile. His friend Schon was able to journey only part way before health and time constraints made him return home to the US.Morrison aptly describes the appearance, climate, political scene and differences which exist between Uganda, South Sudan, Sudan and Egypt. As a journalist he is interested in where the story is in each part of his journey. While in Southern Sudan he makes a side trip to the oil fields even though he was told it was forbidden to go there he found a way to visit and question the people around about it and its impact.Ironically he concludes:"Down the length of the Nile people lived and even thrived under extraordinary constraints. But Uganda and Sudan were dynamic, changing. There, the future was unwritten and --however unevenly -- the horizon was growing. It seemed the opposite held in Egypt: Here, your fate was obvious and you would never be free."I recommend Morrison's The Black Nile for anyone wishing to know more about this area of the world.

  • Rob Maynard
    2019-04-06 13:23

    I try to read what look like interesting books about Africa and The Middle East when I can and it was a pleasant surprise to stumble across this "Librarian's Pick" at my East Marietta Library Branch. Morrison is a former beat reporter who has decided to specialize in the part of the world where Africa and Islam intersect. The premise of this book is that Morrison and an old college friend who drinks and smokes too much and tends bar in a country club will meet in Uganda and try to make it all the way up the Nile River from Uganda to Cairo. Once you realize how far that is and how many rapids, civil wars, dam projects, police states and anarchy are on that route, it quickly becomes an amazing struggle to travel by boat, barge, truck, bus, motorbike and foot through much of South Sudan, Uganda, Sudan and Egypt.It was actually happenstance that I was finishing this book just as South Sudan was named the 193rd sovereign country by the UN. The Black Nile is an excellent education about the end of that 30 plus year civil war and the official split between the Christian dominated South and the Arab Islamic North that features an amazing cast of characters, African and expat. Morrison understands the politics and logistics of this place, and travels most of North and South Sudan by himself after his college buddy drops out halfway through. Morrison's political stance is as objective as any, and he measures these various places along the journey on personal freedom, hospitality, and the realpolitik of the current massive natural resources exploitation by Dictator-states and foreign countries.This is a highly entertaining read for anyone who views themselves as global, and will fill in the details for you regarding the new African state of South Sudan.

  • Ray
    2019-04-17 16:39

    If you love going to your brother-in-laws house to see his home movies from his last family vacation, you may be a candidate to enjoy this book. If you're among the people who would rather clean your sock drawer than endure the family travelogue, then this book may not be for you. Part of the problem I had was the publishers "hook" in the subtitle, e.g., "One Man's Amazing Journey Through Peace and War...". I'm sure that was intended to move the book off the bookshelves in the stores, but the book didn't deliver in that regard. I found the sub-title false advertising. The book really was much more of the day-to-day problems of making a several months journey through Sudan to Egypt. But it wasn't much of a river journey as much as a bus, rental car, and truck ride from one little village to another in the general vicinity of the Nile. And the adventure promised isn't about wildlife, historical points of interest, or warring tribes, but more about how the author can find a ride, find a hotel or other place to sleep, or a decent meal. The only salvation, for me, was the reminder of how fortunate we are as Americans. The Africans the author met were a mix of very poor or often corrupt political figures, and the lives they lead are very difficult indeed. Remembering that, and remembering to appreciate what we have, was the best thing I took from this book.

  • Eric
    2019-04-08 12:19

    I had to reserve this one as an audiobook hold at my local library, so by the time I was able to download it I had forgotten the part of the subtitle that includes mention of war, the at-that-point subsiding of which had allowed this trip to take place at all. Another reviewer expressed that the "...One Man's Amazing Journey..." phrase should probably be outlawed, but allowed in this case. That people will set out to make these journeys is a bit amazing, and Morrison's book is clearly a cut above a mere travelog. It would be my hope that his experience encourages others to put in motion actions that make such future, similar journeys possible, and less dangerous. Some of his exchanges with the people he encounters on the way are both heart-warming, and heart-rending. In that, I think he succeeds in stirring the imagination and telling a very entertaining story. Perhaps another author will set out to sort out in more analytical detail which elements of the politics assessed and expressed in the journey are more reflective of the realities for each of the various regions and ethnicities.

  • M
    2019-04-21 16:16

    The Black Nile: One Man's Amazing Journey Through Peace and War on the World's Longest River is a true story, the story of people trying to live in a complex territory. A modern adventure, with a lot of details about The Nile's river and its inhabitans, part travelog, part history. Dan Morrison's modern adventure is a rich and educational adventure written in a vivid style. Here's the link " The Group Talks with Dan Morrison " The Black Nile: One Man's Amazing Journey Through Peace and War on the World's Longest River

  • Mikey B.
    2019-04-07 16:38

    Mr. Morrison boats, walks and mostly takes assorted perilous bus rides that skirt the Nile. This book is like an introductory sketch of the countries the Nile passes through.We are given history, geography and introduced to a few of the people who inhabit this region. Most of the people the author converses with are men as we would expect in this part of the world. Often their stories or version of events are contradicted by others encountered by the author later on. Such are the perplexities of recent history. The author interviews a few American evangelists that are in the Sudan. I do find their presence troubling in view of the already existing religious strife in the Sudan. Outsiders in embattled countries should always proceed with caution and that can be difficult to do when religion is involved.Most of the book is on Uganda and the Sudan with only the last 35 pages on Egypt.

  • Valerie
    2019-04-01 10:23

    Several things struck me about this book. Firstly, the author's companion made several telling comments about why things don't change in Africa. Highlighted by a scene from a cholera camp in which the simplest things that would stop the infection can't be done, because the big men are busy being big men. It also made me reflect on the wisdom in several recent books on aid (Half the Sky) of giving the money to women, under their control, and the fact that almost all of it will then go to protect the family or community. The story of the oil in Sudan, and the dual nature of Africa/Arabia that exists in the areas travelled was very interesting. As was the idea that by disrupting the yearly flooding, that the biological clocks of the people who depended on it might have been disrupted, perhaps beyond repair.

  • Andrew Ayers
    2019-03-27 10:42

    Not knowing much about this book, I thought it would be an adventure-filled tale of travelling by boat down the Nile filled with crocodiles and rapids. I didn't realize that the boat journeying part of the book would be minimal and that there would be a lot of political and cultural analysis of the complicated histories between Uganda, Sudan, and Egypt. So, it was not what I expected, but I was pleased to know more about the complicated relationships between these nations, and also the internal conflict within Sudan. Water is going to be the new oil when it comes to international conflict and the Nile is one of the most contested rivers on the planet and this book offers some great insight into the whole situation.

  • Susan
    2019-04-17 10:19

    I thought that The Black Nile was an interesting take on a region that does not seem to get much coverage anymore. I have read a number of books about life in East Africa, but most were written by people native to the area. I found it interesting to learn more about the region from an outside perspective. I also really liked the background that went with each area that Mr. Morrison visited and feel like I learned a lot about the region that I hadn't known before. I think that if someone is looking for an adventure story, this is probably not it. But if someone is interested in the region and what has been happening there over the years, this is a very good book.

  • jilllora
    2019-04-21 12:25

    Don't pay much attention to the subtitle, or even the book description. This is about Morrison's travels through Uganda, Sudan and Egypt...sometimes by boat, but more often in a land vehicle. It's a fascinating glimpse into what it's like to travel through a region that has been devastated by environental issues, war, and political intrigue. It is not a history of the region, nor is it a traditional travelogue. Go into it with an open mind and you might just find yourself amazed (by Morrison's nerve), intrigued (by the region) and entertained (by the writing and the adventures).

  • Lisa
    2019-04-05 11:39

    Overall I enjoyed this book, but I was expecting it to be better than it was based on the description on the book jacket of both the book and its author. I was hoping to learn about Africa and the people of Africa. Instead, this book pretty much just stated everything I have already heard about the continent and the people there. I also didn't care for the writer's style, or maybe it was the editing. The second half of the book was better than the first half, almost as if two different people wrote the book. This wasn't a bad book, just not as good as it could have been.

  • Karen
    2019-04-08 13:13

    A very thought-provoking story of Morrison's journey from Lake Victoria to Rosetta, on the Mediterranean Sea, passing through Uganda, Sudan, and Egypt. The main thing I learned is that I knew essentially nothing of these nations' history, culture, or geography. Also, sadly, though the name "Nile" evokes a sense of the romance of far-off places, crocodiles, Pharoahs, and Egyptian treasures, today's Nile is far more likely to mean tawdry river ports, poverty, disease-bearing insects, pollution, garbage, and endless, heartbreaking violence. Eye-opening and very much a learning experience for me.

  • Diane Webber-thrush
    2019-04-11 09:28

    I just started this book and I really can't put it down. I didn't want to stop reading when I got to work after my Metro commute. It's such a vivid lens Morrison is bringing to this part of the world that I know nothing about -- but the most unexpected part for me is the humor. I gather the ride gets rougher later, but I'm really all in for that ride after just a few pages.

  • Tatiana
    2019-04-15 13:16

    I enjoyed reading about the author's attempt to travel down the Nile mostly through Sudan. The summary of Sudanese politics through the meeting of different tribe members is certainly a propos this summer as South Sudan declares independence. I enjoyed this both as an interesting travelogue and as a quick orientation to this part of the world.