Tim Butcher’s book: Blood River

I enjoyed Tim Butcher’s book “Blood River” immensely. The narration is well done and it paints a picture of Congo that is lively and accurate. Butcher endeavours on a monumental challenge, which is to traverse the entire length of the Congo River from its origin in eastern DR Congo to its end point where it empties into the Atlantic ocean. All 4,700 km of it!

We hear a lot about corruption and failed African states. I am not going to deny the existence of corruption in the Congo, but will point out that this is not a major theme in Butcher’s bike. He hires riders to take him on motorcycle from from “A to B”, pays them a fair wage, and the deal is done. They encounter armed Mai-Mai deep in the forest, he “bribes” them by handing them a United Nations leaflet.

Butcher travels on roads / paths that no white person has been on since the time of the Belgians. The adventure is both engrossing and unbelievable. The prospect of eco-tourism along the Congo River is very exciting. Nothing like a few tourists taking pictures of lilly pads and monkeys to make the conflict-mineral occupation just dissolve away.

If you end up reading the book, please do share your comments.I’d like to thank my Swedish friend Ellinor for recommending the book and Peter for the surprise purchase.

-BM

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One response to “Tim Butcher’s book: Blood River

  1. Neil Richards

    I too have just read Tim Butcher’s book whilst on holiday in Dominican Republic. I lived in Kenya in the early 60’s so can appreciate the relaxed life that must have been the Belgian Congo (as it was then). For it to degenerate to what it is today is barely credible and puts into perspective what the development of “civilisation” really means in a state where the leaders are not sympathetic to the populace. I could not put the book down and commend it to anyone who has a soft spot for Africa. I am afraid it shows that democracy is not sitting comfortably on that continent.

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