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

The Black Nile by Dan Morrison
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M 50x66
's review
Mar 25, 2012

really liked it
Read in March, 2012


Dan Morrison and his friend Schon travel the nile from Uganda to Egypt, where the Nile meets the Mediterranean Sea.

Going into the book, I was expecting a travelogue with some political components, as one can not escape that when dealing with a journey through Africa. For the first third of the book it feels more like a travel diary, with Morrison and Schon starting their trip through Uganda. Near the border with what is now South Sudan, Schon is unable to continue due to an inability to get proper documentation. From this point, it's Morrison's solo trip. In these last two-thirds of the book, the feel goes from travelogue to a mild political reader as he meets higher-ranking officials and opinionated locals.

A knowledge of contemporary African politics helps to wade through the seemingly unending problems Morrison encounters. However, as he encounters the various wars and conflicts and the problems they cause through each region he passes, he summarizes the historical significance relating to whatever is happening in that particular area. General maps are also included in the readings, but Morrison names many towns so one can follow along on a map. In one interesting reference, Morrison speaks with a man in Egypt who thinks there will never be a separated county of South Sudan. This book was written in 2010, and just about a year after it's publication South Sudan became a country.

Another point I liked was Morrison's honesty throughout the trip. I've read and watched many travelogues where the host or narrator, while respectful, acts like every place they visit and person they meet is good with the 'this place and everyone in it is nice!' mentality. Morrison says when he enjoys something, but is bluntly honest with places that aren't good (either in crime or condition) or people trying con more money of out him for goods or services.

I liked the book, but as I said, it became somewhat politically heavy-handed towards the end which was kind of a turn off.

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