Unwisely's Reviews > Skeletons on the Zahara: A True Story of Survival

Skeletons on the Zahara by Dean King
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's review
Apr 13, 2009

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bookshelves: non-fiction, 2009, historical
Read in April, 2009

This is a book about a ship that wrecked in the Western Sahara in 1815. It's a newer one, based on the books published by the survivors, plus the author's own trek out there in 2001 (although this mostly shows up in the form of footnotes). Captain Riley's diary was apparently very popular and much read in its day, and is one of the books that influenced Abraham Lincoln's anti-slavery stance.

What I learned is OMG, I don't want to be shipwrecked out there, geez. They ran out of water, they were starving, they were mostly treated poorly by the tribesmen who captured them...but sometimes not.

While not so compelling it kept me up reading, it was overall very readable and quite interesting, both historically and anthropologically (apparently the Captain's observations are still cited when describing the Sahrawis). I also learned that bees can carry dysentery, which fact fascinates me.

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