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The Group Talks with Authors > Q&A with Dan Morrison

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message 1: by M (last edited Aug 15, 2010 08:30PM) (new)

M (wwwgoodreadscomprofilem) | 337 comments The Nile, the longest River on Earth with the Amazon River.... The Black Nile: One Man's Amazing Journey Through Peace and War on the World's Longest River, thirty-six hundred miles of hair-raising spectacle and adventure from Lake Victoria to The Mediterranean Sea by Dan Morrison.

Let's talk with Dan Morrison during our Summer book club, from August 17 to August 20, 2010 !


message 2: by M (new)

M (wwwgoodreadscomprofilem) | 337 comments In a few days, The Green group will host Dan Morrison for 4 days at " The Group Talks with Authors " Dan Morrison will answer questions each day about his first book The Black Nile: One Man's Amazing Journey Through Peace and War on the World's Longest River from August 17 to August 20, 2010.

An amazing talk !


message 3: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Crimmel (jeffreyrcrimmelcom) | 9 comments Michelle wrote: "In a few days, The Green group will host Dan Morrison for 4 days at " The Group Talks with Authors " Dan Morrison will answer questions each day about his first book [book:The Black Nile: One M..."
This sounds like a great story. A good travel adventure.


message 4: by M (last edited Aug 15, 2010 09:01PM) (new)

M (wwwgoodreadscomprofilem) | 337 comments Jeffrey wrote: "Michelle wrote: "In a few days, The Green group will host Dan Morrison for 4 days at " The Group Talks with Authors " Dan Morrison will answer questions each day about his first book [book:The ..."

Dan Morrison's story start with this quote:

" Ah, The Nile. What hasn't been said of it ? - Maria Golia, Cairo:City of Sand " .

So.....

http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/3...


message 5: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Crimmel (jeffreyrcrimmelcom) | 9 comments How does one join in on the talk?


message 6: by M (last edited Aug 15, 2010 02:38PM) (new)

M (wwwgoodreadscomprofilem) | 337 comments Jeffrey wrote: "How does one join in on the talk?"

Hi Jeffrey,

You can add questions for the author Dan MORRISON at this thread from August 17 to August 20, 2010.

The thread " Q&A with Dan MORISSON " is the thread dedicated for the talk. The author will answer questions added by the members each day. THE DISCUSSION WILL START TUESDAY, 17th

Here's the link to vote for the event !

http://www.goodreads.com/event/show/9...


message 7: by Dan (new)

Dan (danmorrison) | 10 comments Heythere:

Author Hugh Pope has written a substantial review of The Black Nile: One Man's Amazing Journey Through Peace and War on the World's Longest River in the weekend Wall Street Journal. Here's a link: http://bit.ly/bAnDkp.

The Journal also has a short online excerpt of taken from Chapter One, a very brief scene-setter: http://bit.ly/c94D0l .

I'm looking forward to answering your questions over the next few days. For a little more background on the author, please see my Goodreads bio and my personal web site, http://danmorrison.net. Scroll down and on the right side you'll find links to some of my reporting for National Geographic News and the San Francisco Chronicle.

For readers who use the iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch, The Black Nile will be featured as the Book of the Week on the Apple iBookstore beginning on Tuesday, August 17th. I just saw my first iPad today on the flight from Hong Kong to New York, and I have to say it looks really cool.

But I think I'm a couple years away from buying an e-book reader. I like to kick a book around -- dogear the pages, underline the good parts, and flip to the pictures and maps and back again. The e-readers look like investments to protect as much as vehicles for reading enjoyment.

I have digressed. Looking forward to corresponding in the coming days.

Best regards,

Dan Morrison





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


Dining with al-Qaeda by Hugh Pope


message 8: by M (last edited Aug 17, 2010 01:38AM) (new)

M (wwwgoodreadscomprofilem) | 337 comments Hi Dan,

I want to thank you for being with us for this new discussion at " The group Talks with Authors " for 4 days.
The Black Nile: One Man's Amazing Journey Through Peace and War on the World's Longest River is one of the books' choices of our Summer book club. Waters - oceans, rivers,... - are major world ecosystems and The Nile is among the longest river in the World.

escaped

The Nile has two major tributaries, the White Nile and Blue Nile, the latter being the source of most of the Nile's water and fertile soil, but the former being the longer of the two. The White Nile rises in the Great Lakes region of central Africa, with the most distant source in southern Rwanda and flows north from there through Tanzania, Lake Victoria, Uganda and Southern Sudan, while the Blue Nile starts at Lake Tana in Ethiopia, flowing into Sudan from the Southeast. The two rivers meet near the Sudanese capital of Khartoum.

" The Nile has two major tributaries, the White Nile and Blue Nile " . So, here's my first question to start the talk in August 17, 2010.
Why have you choosen the title " The Black Nile" for your book ?

Among all the informations you have added today for the group, I have noticed a lot of interesting elements about The Nile River and particularly these two sentences ( book's review written by Hugh POPE )

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001...

" Even if he wasn't often wet with more than perspiration, Mr. Morrison does pay ample attention to the Nile's troubles as a waterway. The problems begin at its source, where the over-fished Lake Victoria is increasingly clogged with hyacinth, which has to be mechanically hauled out. Three decades ago, the author tells us, fish where abundant and many of them five feet long; Mr. Morrison sees fishermen making do with undersize 15-inches "

Can you tell us more about the major environmental affects and issues on The Nile's river ecosystem...

" Mr. Bryan, the author's companion and verbal sparring partner for the third of the account, later writes to him: " It's good enough to be desperate once in a while ........"

Which event (s) was (were) the most important during this amazing journey along The Nile's River?

Thank you


message 9: by Dan (new)

Dan (danmorrison) | 10 comments Hi Michelle:

Let me thank you for investing so much time and effort in the Green Group and in this author Q & A.

Your first question addresses current environmental issues on the Nile ecosystem. Here are some that come readily to mind:

* Lake Victoria, where I spend most of Chapter Two, presents a special combination of problems. The lake is a big economic engine for the east African region and each day new residents are drawn to its shores in search of jobs related to the fishing industry. This growing population is quickening the pace of deforestation around the lake. The cutting of trees and the smoke from the hundreds of thousands of cooking fires has helped throw off the lake's rain cycle. So too have schemes in which big forests were cut down to make way for rubber plantations and sugar cane. So there's less precipitation, and the rains that do come can be unpredictable.

Inside the lake you have the Nile perch, an invasive species introduced to Victoria during colonial times. If you're buying frozen white fish fillets at a market in Europe and parts of the United States, there's a good chance it's Nile perch. The perch eat and eat and have wiped out a number of smaller native species. Their waste provides food for another invader, the fast-growing water hyacinth, which chokes waterways and landing sites and provides a nice breeding environment for mosquitos and snails that bring the disease bilharzia. Its quite a puzzle, one that the World Bank is working to crack with a big (and expensive) restoration plan.

* Farther downriver in Sudan we see the White Nile being put to industrial use, irrigating large mechanized farms and sugar cane fields. There was recently a big fish die-off in the Nile in Sudan after a sugar plant discharged waste into the river. To the south, in the Upper Nile region (see Chapter Eight), there are fears that cheap and dirty oil extraction (using methods that have been discarded in the developed world), which is already poisoning local watering holes, could lead to contamination of the Nile itself. At some point in the future, Sudan's reliance on harmful extraction methods could place it in conflict with Egypt, its longtime benefactor to the north.

* It's in Egypt that the Nile is stressed and stretched to capacity. With 80 million people reliant on the river for drinking water and irrigation, poorly regulated industries, and a government that more often than not falls way short of protecting its citizens and environment, the Nile in Egypt is something of a limping miracle. Here's an example: When the Aswan High Dam went up in the late 60s and early 70s, researchers were concerned that sardine fisheries off the Mediterranean coast would suffer from a lack of nitrogen now that the dam was holding back the potent volcanic silt from the Ethiopian highlands. But later tests showed that nitrogen levels actually increased. How? What the river lacked in silt it made up for in untreated sewage spewed daily into the river. And so the sardines were saved.

Add fertilizer, pesticide, prodigious litter, and industrial effluents and you can see why the Nile in Egypt can resemble a dirty canal as much as a great river.

A little later I will post some links to articles I've written on these issues.

I look forward to questions from the group. Thanks again for having me.

Best/Dan Morrison


message 10: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Crimmel (jeffreyrcrimmelcom) | 9 comments Any close calls with the hippo population. I have heard they are one of the biggest threats while traveling on the Nile.


message 11: by Marieke (new)

Marieke Dan wrote: "Hi Michelle:

Let me thank you for investing so much time and effort in the Green Group and in this author Q & A.

Your first question addresses current environmental issues on the Nile ecosystem..."


yuck, dan--are these sardines considered contaminated? do people eat them? are there health problems related to this? I don't want to bad-mouth Egypt, but i've visited the country and am happy and proud to say i was the only person in my group (not a tour group) not to get horrendously ill with the runs. before i left the US on that trip, my jordanian arabic tutor warned me that Egypt is very special in this regard. I was incredibly careful about the food I ate...I am very curious about the reasons for such extreme dangers of food-borne illnesses in Egypt. A colleague has suffered irreparable stomach damage because he could not wait to get home to wash his fresh cherries in a powerful disinfectant before eating them...i have a lot of trouble wrapping my mind around this. I apologize if this question registers in the crude category, but I personally think food-borne illness is a really important issue.

I'm looking forward to your links!!


message 12: by Dan (new)

Dan (danmorrison) | 10 comments Heythere:

Jeffrey, Africa's hippos do have a fearsome reputation, but for most of my Nile route they were completely absent. I did spot a group of hippos while traveling to a cholera-stricken militia base near Malakal in southern Sudan, but they were at some distance, no bigger than your thumbs.

Marie, Egypt has serious sanitation issues that run the gamut from water treatment, to irrigation (food crops are often irrigated with contaminated water), to hygiene in the kitchens of Cairo's restaurants and hotels. These problems are not unique to Egypt but they are certainly a fact of life for visitors there. As you say, constant vigilance is the rule for visitors -- it's up to you to compensate for all the carelessness that may have gone into the production and preparation of your food. It's one of many examples of the failure of the state in modern Egypt.

As for the sardines, they take their nitrogen where they can get it. I don't believe they taste any differently.

Best/Dan Morrison

Here are links to some of my stories from the region:

Lake Victoria
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/ne...

The Water Hyacinth
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/ne...

Discoveries of Ancient Nubia
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/ne...

Damming the Nile
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/ne...

Egypt's Oldest Art
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/ne...


message 13: by M (last edited Aug 18, 2010 12:43PM) (new)

M (wwwgoodreadscomprofilem) | 337 comments Dan wrote: "Hi Michelle:

Let me thank you for investing so much time and effort in the Green Group and in this author Q & A.

Your first question addresses current environmental issues on the Nile ecosystem..."


Hi Dan,

Thank you for all these details and the links related the environmental affects and issues of The Nile ecosystem. It complete some writings that I have read, a few years ago, about the effects of invasive species and deforestation in this area of the world.


message 14: by Steven (new)

Steven (tbones) | 9 comments Hey there Dan, I haven't read your book yet but it sounds very interesting. I was actually watching a show on Discovery called River Monsters and they were searching for a big nasty fish on the Nile. If I remember correctly the Nile was said to be the deepest river in the world too? As for the Hippos, it's amazing how aggressive those animals are. To look at them growing up, I would never have thought of them like that. Then after read Michael Crichton's Congo and imagining the scene with them attacking the boats was a learning experience for me. I looked up everything I could about them after that.


message 15: by Dan (new)

Dan (danmorrison) | 10 comments Hey Steven: The Nile perch are indeed nasty, and gigantic. As for the depth of the Nile, it is quite deep in some places (and was extremely shallow in others during my journey) but I think bragging rights might go to the Yangtze in China or the Congo River.

Does anyone have a definitive answer?

Best regards, Dan Morrison

ps - I read Chrichton's Congo as a kid and loved it. Also his book Eaters of the Dead which, owing to my youth and stupidity, I thought was a nonfiction account based on ancient Norse writings.


message 16: by Dan (new)

Dan (danmorrison) | 10 comments Michelle had asked about the origin of the title, The Black Nile.

I chose that title because, for the most part, my journey is along the African Nile. In the popular imagination, the Nile runs from Egyptian monument to monument, but this is only a small part of it. It’s an African river. Questions of race loom large in Sudan; the issue is extremely complicated. And because oil has such a role in the region and in the book – all this together made it The Black Nile.

Best/Dan Morrison

And here's a recent piece of mine from the National Geographic blog on the battle for control of the Nile's waters: http://blogs.nationalgeographic.com/b...

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


message 17: by M (new)

M (wwwgoodreadscomprofilem) | 337 comments Dan wrote: "Michelle had asked about the origin of the title, The Black Nile.

I chose that title because, for the most part, my journey is along the African Nile. In the popular imagination, the Nile runs fro..."


Thank you for your answer, Dan. " The Nile runs from Egyptian monument to monument " is a cliche and I particularly enjoy to discuss with the group at " The Group Talks with Authors " about your book The Black Nile Your amazing journey and your experience along The Nile's River, in a complex territory, give us an another glance about some countries of Africa.
Thank you for all the interesting and informative links from The National Geographic. August 20, 2010 is the last day of " The Group Talks with Authors " with Dan Morrison and I hope the group will ask you questions about your great experience in Africa.


message 18: by Dan (new)

Dan (danmorrison) | 10 comments I just got a bit of good news. The Black Nile: One Man's Amazing Journey Through Peace and War on the World's Longest River has been selected as a Hot Read by the web site The Daily Beast. You can see their short review at http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-an....

Please keep the questions coming.

Best regards,

Dan Morrison


message 19: by M (last edited Aug 19, 2010 02:59PM) (new)

M (wwwgoodreadscomprofilem) | 337 comments Dan wrote: "I just got a bit of good news. The Black Nile: One Man's Amazing Journey Through Peace and War on the World's Longest River has been selected as a Hot Read by the web site The Daily ..."

Congrats, Dan. The review talks about your encounter with new cultures.
Can you tell us more about these new cultures?


message 20: by Dan (new)

Dan (danmorrison) | 10 comments Congrats, Dan. The review talks about your encounter with new cultures. Can you tell us more about these new cultures?

------------

While I had lived in Egypt and had visited several cities in Uganda, I found neither country was much preparation for southern Sudan, where the tribal cultures were very strong and very different from what I'd encountered elsewhere. Southern Sudan had suffered from a criminal level of underdevelopment, followed by more than two decades of really vicious warfare and famine, and its people were extremely isolated from the outside world.

When I arrived in southern Sudan and met the local people from various tribes, including the Dinka, Nuer and Shilluk, I felt that I probably had more in common with a person living in nearby Kampala -- and he with me -- than either of us had with the southern Sudanese. The histories and experiences were so different that often there was very little common ground.

Part of this, of course, was a result of my own inexperience in the region. But part of it was just a fact of life. Southerners who stayed in south Sudan during the war had a very different experience from those who left as refugees. And those who were refugees had a very different outlook from visitors like me. I will say that the discomfort or unease that I initially felt in south Sudan faded over time, which again speaks to my status as a first-timer and to the learning curve that any newcomer must have upon visiting a new country or when encountering a new culture.

In particular the cattle-based culture of the Dinka and the Nuer was something to behold. Their dedication and attachment to their cows was more than impressive. A young herdboy will know each of more than 100 cows by sight and will recognize each individual length of rope that he uses when staking them down for the night -- each cow has its own length of rope and the boy can match each cow to its personal rope without a second thought. It blew my mind.


message 21: by Steven (new)

Steven (tbones) | 9 comments hey Dan, I think maybe The Congo was the river I saw in the River Monsters show. I know they said at it's deepest you could stack 5 Statue of Liberties one on top of another. Also there were spots the guy fished in that the waters were extremely violent. The fish he caught was called some type of Tiger Fish and it looked like it had a head of a croc.
Now I have to read your book to learn more about the Nile though. Sounds like a very interesting adventure.


message 22: by M (last edited Aug 21, 2010 08:39AM) (new)

M (wwwgoodreadscomprofilem) | 337 comments Once again , thank you Dan for these great four days, thank you for the time you spent for being with the group when you were just arriving in New York from Hong Kong. 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.
I'll add your book, Dan as a favorite book about major world ecosystems for " 2010 - The International Year of Biodiversity "

The Nile in Africa, The Yangtze in China, The Indus in Asia, The Amazon in South-America, The Mississipi in North-America, The Danube in Europe, The Euphrates in Southwest Asia , The Ganges in India are among the longest rivers on Earth. These major world ecosystems are our patrimoine on Earth, a fragile ecosystem facing a lot of environmental, ecological and human issues. Their history have inspired and inspire a lot of authors. It's also a great opportunity for us to encounter differents cultures.

I hope you have enjoyed the talk with Dan MORRISON. People are welcome at the "Great African Reads " group to follow the discussion with the author.
Here's the link to visit the discussion of The Black Nile One Man's Amazing Journey Through Peace and War on the World's Longest River by Dan Morrison
http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/3891...


message 23: by Dan (new)

Dan (danmorrison) | 10 comments Hello Green Group:

I hope some of you have read and enjoyed The Black Nile in the weeks and months since this discussion. I'm writing to let you know the book was reviewed in this Sunday's New York Times Book Review. Here's a link: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/05/boo...

Best/DM


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