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Malaria Dreams: An African Adventure
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Malaria Dreams: An African Adventure

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  464 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews
Malaria Dreams is a tale of high adventure across Africa, recounted with the wit and humor that delighted readers of Night Train to Turkistan, Stuart Stevens' highly praised first book. "A rollicking, off-beat African odyssey".--Publishers Weekly.
Paperback, 236 pages
Published January 13th 1994 by Atlantic Monthly Press (first published August 1989)
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(showing 1-30 of 985)
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Feb 20, 2016 Mitch rated it did not like it
Shelves: travel
Malaria Dreams is a book about the author and his friend's trip from West Africa to the Mediterranean in a questionable car, and it's well written. So why the one star?

I like adventure travel and adventure travel books better than the next guy usually- depending on who the next guy actually is, of course. But this book? The whole idea for the trip sounds like it was inspired by a malaria nightmare and the reality of it was even worse.

I've read a couple other adventure travel books (a ridiculousl
Sep 11, 2012 Blair rated it liked it
Shelves: africa, travel
My friend and I are trying to plan a trip to Africa next year, so my new project is reading travel memoirs that take place in Africa to familiarize myself a little with travel there and things we might want to do or see. This book was fun and a very quick read. It's the story of a man who road trips from Bangui, Central African Republic, to Algiers, Algeria, on a three-month long trip. Lots of fun stories about misadventures, cultural differences, etc. And in a surprising twist of events, I Goog ...more
Jan 21, 2016 Trina rated it really liked it
This book was my first introduction to travel writing, and possibly the first piece of nonfiction I'd ever read that I actually liked (!!!), and it was a hoot to read back in 1994 when I was an excited and impressionable high school sophomore in World Geography class.

In a way, this class was my first foray into (unknowingly) studying anthropology, and I really did well, despite taking the class to avoid taking World History (we had a choice between the two), because I've always sucked at histor
Deborah Purdon
Feb 03, 2014 Deborah Purdon rated it it was amazing
I found this book at the library while scanning the shelves for travelogues about Africa. Stevens wrote this book in the late 80's about his sojourn in Western Africa that begins in the Central Africa Republic. The first half of the book chronicles Stevens' experiences in CAR as he attempts to liberate a LandRover from the grips of the Ministry of Mines. This section was especially interesting to me and moving because CAR is currently imploding in terrible violence and near genocide. Stevens' st ...more
Pamela (Lavish Bookshelf)
What’s the difference between a study of current events and a study of modern history? In college we used to say the difference was 20 years. Anything more recent was considered current events. Anything older was timeworn enough to be in the history books. Maybe 20 years is a worthless guideline in this instant digital age, but it’s still probably an applicable criteria gauge.

So keeping this 20-year rule in mind, Malaria Dreams by Stuart Stevens is ready for the history section of the library. O
Mar 03, 2012 Brenna rated it liked it
In this adventure, a dodgy acquaintance of Stevens asks if he would like to go to the Central African Republic to retrieve his Land Rover, and drive it to France. Amazingly (though really not so surprising, considering the craziness of his earlier Chinese adventure) Stevens agrees. He drafts an attractive female friend into the adventure, and the two of them set off.

Immediately they run up against the patent corruptness of African governments: some minister took a liking to the Land Rover and mo
Feb 25, 2010 Joe rated it really liked it
One day, while the author is hanging out with his friend in London, the friend mentions that he has a car in the Central African Republic, just waiting for someone to drive it back to the UK. What could go wrong?

Obviously, everything, or else this book would be pretty boring. Everything breaks, the author and his companion don't have good maps or an understanding of how things work, they get mistaken for smugglers: good times.

I was hoping this book would be somewhat like the TV series "Long Way
This was a page turning travel story of trying to get from Chad back to the Mediterranean. The book was recommended to me by Stephanie when I was last in Nairobi. This is a weird travel story in that there are large lacuna in the story itself. Stuart Stevens, as it turns out, and is also an unusual character with it interesting history in political campaigning. I liked reading it to think about how such a journey has changed or not changed since when Stuart wrote the book.
Jul 03, 2007 Emily rated it liked it
Recommends it for: those interested in Africa and anyone who has been there
Shelves: booksofthepast
It was a while ago that I read this book, but I do remember thinking that some of Stevens' experiences in Africa were remarkably similar to my own. The story is of a man who goes to Africa in an effort to fetch a car for a friend and drive it back to Europe. What ensues is an adventure that lasts months, covers thousands of miles, and leaves the author with great stories and hundreds of ant bites. It's written with quite a lot of humor, a major love of adventure, and (as much as I can remember) ...more
Aug 06, 2013 Mary rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading this, and I think it was a pretty good description of how one tries to get things done in Africa, without getting too cute or finding everything too funny. A bit more background would have been appreciated - why did he do this, how much prior Africa experience had he had - and it ends rather abruptly. A map also would have been useful. This did take place 25 years ago, so it would be interesting to understand how the countries have changed, or whether the experience would still ...more
Mar 19, 2013 Lauren rated it liked it
Very funny book about the misadventures of an American traveling through Africa to pick up a car for an acquaintance. I guess I have to consider this just a travel book, because there were no deep thoughts coming from the author--just wry, sarcastic observances. He never revealed how he really felt about anything (and lots of positively crazy things happened), and never revealed much about himself. More than halfway through the book we finally discover he's married. And we know next to nothing a ...more
Nov 01, 2015 Sue rated it really liked it
Stuart is asked to travel to CAR to retrieve a Land Rover that this acquaintance would like to have in Europe. Stuart agrees and the adventure begins.
Thoroughly enjoyable and frequently humorous. Although I daresay that some of the incidents likely didn't seem humorous at the time. Had to laugh at all the times they were told that something was an easy fix that would take no time at all. Africa time in all its glory! Also enjoyable from the point that these are countries that as yet, I've not
Feb 19, 2014 Rorey rated it it was amazing
Finally a good book about traveling in Africa. It is a hoot and for everyone who has lived an African dream, you will completely be able to relate to this book.
Jan 24, 2016 Storyheart rated it really liked it
A reviewer described it as HEART OF DARKNESS as played by the Marx Brothers. I don't think I can do better than that.
Ben Schaffer
Nov 30, 2014 Ben Schaffer rated it really liked it
Oct 08, 2014 Terry rated it liked it
I never got the reason for the car
Jan 10, 2008 L.J. rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: travel, general reading
Good travel writing and well paced. Reviewing the book from memory their are passages I still remember (especially a funny encounter when trying to sleep on top of the Land Rover and the consequences thereafter). Stevens' has a straight forward and easy going approach to the subject of his travel and I appreciate this style in travel writing, not embellishing how much danger was involved or cynicism that is often found in developing nation travels.
Aug 20, 2007 Stacia rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone!
This is my most favorite book of all time. It cracks me up everytime I read it! Stuart Stevens is my favorite author, and I had the good fortune of meeting him in Congo. If you've ever traveled in Africa or a developing country, I think you will appreciate this book. It's about his trip from the CAR to Europe by landrover. He has a very sarcastic sense of humor. I really recommend this one. Makes me laugh just thinking about it.
May 06, 2012 Lindsey rated it liked it
This was pretty dated, but it was still fun to read someone's impressions of Cameroon (and West Africa in general) from twenty years ago. Some situations were hard to imagine, but there were other moments that still rang true. For example, just as I was reading a section about hassles with African bureaucracy, a police officer came to our beach hotel and started insisting we fill out various forms and present our IDs. :)
Jan 15, 2014 Paul rated it really liked it
A very interesting travelogue that starts in CAR and ends in Algeria. A trip that could not be repeated today. It was a fun book.
May 06, 2012 Gwen rated it liked it
Stuart Stevens goes to Central African Republic to get a Land Rover. After weeks, it is obvious that we will not be able to get this vehicle so shops and buys another one and then drives to Algiers. He has a lot of plunk and what makes the book interesting is how he achieves this route with all the vehicle difficulties. Otherwise, there is not so much content.
The first three paragraphs were enough – it is exactly the tone that I most dislike in travel writing – “Oh gee whiz, I ain’t done no preparation at all – do ya think it will matter?” Is was then I realized this was written by the same person who did the awful Night Train to Turkestan book and I knew it would not improve.

Jul 16, 2007 Linda rated it liked it
Recommends it for: expat's in africa-world travelers
fun read--should have read it before first trip to africa but don't know if i would have believed it until i actually had the experiences that are described oh so succinctly and humorously in this short novel. actually read this one twice to re-live the trek across multiple african countries and allow a grin to cross my face.
Dec 13, 2012 Elliot rated it really liked it
While this book is a bit dated, it's amazing how much of the nearly 20 year old book about traveling West Africa I found relevant to my life in Mozambique. The book is also quite funny, and parts of it had me laughing quite loudly as I stayed up unreasonably late to read just a few more chapters before going to sleep.
Karol K
Aug 14, 2016 Karol K rated it it was amazing
Hilarious and believable. I really enjoyed this book. So much humor and hi jinks that I am glad I was not there. You have to be really young or really a hippie or too much adventurous to drive a car thru the Sahara to Europe. Loved reading about the African continent and its people.
Jun 22, 2009 Susi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa, non-fiction
Any writer who's gone to the Central African Republic and writes about it, gets four stars just for having the guts to go. The first time I read this book was in 1992, when I lived in Bangui, but I read it again recently and found it just as entertaining the second time around.
Sep 28, 2015 Carl rated it liked it
This book is now somewhat dated, but the adventure is still fascinating. I had it on the bedside table for months and dipped in and out of it. It does end with a bit of a clunk. I was unsure whether they actually delivered the Land Rover and what happened to them afterwards.
Jul 20, 2008 Kylie rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People who have lived in/visited Africa
Recommended to Kylie by: Joy
I lived in Africa. Africa haunts me even today and I love to read books about Africa.

This one is a fun, comedic experience of one person in the 1970s but his experience was similar to mine in the 2000s. Probably best for people who have been to or lived in Africa.
Karen M
Jun 15, 2008 Karen M rated it it was ok
Was recommended this book from a friend - Book was full of flat one dimensional characters that could have been cut out from a child's coloring book. Bad books like this are only good, in that they encourage me to finally write my darn book!
May 26, 2010 Nicole rated it really liked it
I thought this book was hilarious - the author describes the trials and tribulations of his travels across northern africa and the fustrastions of a westerner navigating the burearacy of the social system to accomplish that goal
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An American travel writer, political consultant and Daily Beast columnist. He is the cofounder of Washington, DC-based political media consultancy Stevens & Schriefer Group. He served as a top strategist for Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign.
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