THE BLACK NILE by Dan Morrison


One Man’s Amazing Journey Through Peace and War on the World’s Longest River
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An American journalist’s intrepid adventure on the legendary Nile.

Tired of piecemeal journalism work from a “fast-shrinking roster of newspapers and magazines,” Morrison empowered himself by taking a perilous 4,000-mile journey from Lake Victoria to Rosetta, Egypt, by various means of transportation. The trip was broken up over the course of six months because of visa restrictions between warring north and south Sudan. At first the author was to be accompanied by his best friend from North Carolina, Schon, who joined him in Kampala, Uganda, and helped secure the building of their paddle boat. They finally got going from Jinja after weeks of idleness. By the time they reached Juba, Schon was out of vacation time and had to return home. Morrison resumed his travels alone, jumping from one political hotspot to another thanks to the kindness of strangers, such as a motley assortment of Western aid workers and good Samaritans on a humanitarian barge, where he learned about the ongoing tribal travails between the cattle-herding Nuer and Dinka peoples. Through the swamps of the Sudd he reached oil-rich Malakal, riven by gunmen and malarial microbes, but he was confounded by visa restrictions and flew back to Cairo. Months later, finding himself again marooned in rainy Malakal, “without luck and without connection,” he cobbled together enough transports to reach Kosti and then Khartoum, where the White Nile merges magnificently with the Blue Nile. The trip to the engineering marvel of the Aswan High Dam forms the narrative climax, but the last stint into upper Egypt is rather skimpy.

An unorthodox travelogue—uneven in places but packed with illuminating, gritty detail.

Pub Date: Aug. 16th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-670-02198-7
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2010


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