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FREE PDF Å BOOK Chasing the Devil ½ For many years Sierra Leone and Liberia have been too dangerous to travel through bedevilled by a uniuely brutal form of violence from which sprang many of Africa's cruellest contemporary icons This travel book touches on one of the most fraught parts of the globe at a different moment in its historyRavel book touches on one of the most fraught parts of the globe at a different moment in its histor While Butcher is a gifted writer and I dig anyone who deepens my knowledge of Graham Greene one of my top 5 20th century authors I never could get past the feeling that he was using Greene as a flimsy hook to a rather contrived adventure narrative The exploration of Sierra Leone and Liberia might have been deeper absent the Greene connection I also found the pacing odd so much on Sierra Leone and the very beginning premises of the trip and then relatively little that lets us really get to know Liberia its culture or Liberians even Johnson Tim's faithful guide remains a cipher It also seemed very odd that the book's deepest insight into West African culture ie the supposedly development retarding civil war encouraging nature of the tribal secret societies came from a conversation over beer with a white North American missionary It's almost cliche enough to make me reduce my rating to two stars the man didn't get to know any Liberians but he got the real inside scoop at a bar? But it was engrossing and engaging and a bold enough stunt so 3 stars

Chasing the DevilRavel book touches on one of the most fraught parts of the globe at a different moment in its histor While Butcher is a gifted writer and I dig anyone who deepens my knowledge of Graham Greene one of my top 5 20th century authors I never could get past the feeling that he was using Greene as a flimsy hook to a rather contrived adventure narrative The exploration of Sierra Leone and Liberia might have been deeper absent the Greene connection I also found the pacing odd so much on Sierra Leone and the very beginning premises of the trip and then relatively little that lets us really get to know Liberia its culture or Liberians even Johnson Tim's faithful guide remains a cipher It also seemed very odd that the book's deepest insight into West African culture ie the supposedly development retarding civil war encouraging nature of the tribal secret societies came from a conversation over beer with a white North American missionary It's almost cliche enough to make me reduce my rating to two stars the man didn't get to know any Liberians but he got the real inside scoop at a bar? But it was engrossing and engaging and a bold enough stunt so 3 stars

MOBI ☆ Chasing the Devil ☆ Tim Butcher

Chasing the Devil Å For many years Sierra Leone and Liberia have been too dangerous to travel through bedevilled by a un To get my one gripe out of the way first It might be a fairly stupidly obvious thing to say but the titles given to books can be really important; they might be the initial hook to draw us to pick the thing up in the first place the crutch to keep us going and indeed they sometimes colour our understanding or interpretation of the book's content With this book I found the title aggravating I began to read it because I had been genuinely moved and amazed by the previous book I had read of Butcher's 'Blood River' and therefore i decided to pick this up even though the title seemed a tad histrionic and sensationalist Butcher admirably elucidates what he means by the 'Devil' but it grated because the title itself did not accurately describe what we were reading The 'devil' is shorthand for the admittedly horrendous secret societies of the African hinterland the main one he 'encountered' being the Poro However Butcher is not really investigating them in any sense in which 'chasing' would be an accurate verb Instead if anything he stumbles across them and then encounters their total secrecy the breaking of which is punishable by amputation isolation and tragically on many occasions death I know this will seem a ridiculously picky moan but there you areHaving said that i feel better Butcher does writes a fascinating and very personal travelogue folowing in the footsteps of Graham Greene and his cousin Barbara who walked the self same hike across Liberia in 1935 What Butcher and his three companions doThe three companions being David a Brit and two local men Johnson and Mr Omaru Though local appears to have a very small geographically specific meaning in Liberia is seek to emulate as far as is possible the Greenes' trail Amazingly they often encounter things dramatically unchanged or perhaps depressingly much worse after the years of coup and counter coup of violence and repression of depressingly familiar embezzlement corruption and short sighted hypocrisyThe arrogant leadership of the descendants of freed slaves who ruled and astoundingly enslaved the native bush dwellers up until into the 30's when Greene was surreptiously investigatng this was finally swept aside by an horrendous bloodletting in 1980 Doe the new Dictator was himself brutally murdered 10 years later after himself wading through the much mourned 'rivers of blood' and then Charles Taylor swept to power and it was he who finally destroyed totally the infrastructure and spirit of the Country After the brutal civil war his ousting might have heralded a positive future but corruption and the power of secret tribal aliances and societies devestated even this small hopeCertainly Butcher enables his reader to see the power of these groups and the uphill struggle the wider community has to weaken or at least soften the power exercised by the shadowy leaders and his analysis of why these societies hamstring development was fascinating It is a community focused phenomenon born from the necessity of surviving in the tough West African bush and by its nature it stresses the value of the group over the individual of developing at the pace of the lowest common denominator not the advanced outlier And it is this feature of Poro and any other secret society found elsewhere in Africa that condemns its followers to flatlining stagnationObviously this uotation taken out of its context probably sounds horrendous as surely humanity at its best should develop by bearing in mind those at the lowest and most vulnerable points in society but the Poro do this at the expense of freedom and individuality and independence of thought They impose it not through an overall recognition of the needs of the weakest but often by an intransigent maintaining at all costs of the power structure which survives through fear intimidation and rank cruelty It is a depressingly familiar story which weighs the reader down because the seeming hopelessness of the situation serves only to show how far Liberia is from a fighting chance of improvement whilst corruption and nepotism and violence still holds sway At one point Johnson a seemingly lovely bloke whose personality Butcher enables to shine through the narrative loses his normal 'joie de vivre' as he passes through one isolated village on the hike In a group of men who are idly sitting at peace and uiet in the heat of the day Johnson has spotted one of the chief architects of Taylor's brutal violence and cruelty This man remains at large unpunished and uite clearly unfazed He knows he will never be called to account and so powerlessly does JohnsonTim Butcher is an excellent writer he has a lovely turn of phrase and is a dab hand at the striking image In an abandoned rubber plantation There were giantstrees as thick as my torso with boles as misshapen as recently fed pythons Having just watched one horrible scene invoving a python in 'Snakes on a plane' this brought me a lurch of realizationHe writes with humour when appropriate and very movingly at others His references to his own experiences in war torn Liberia and also his third party accounts of friends' and colleagues' are genuinely poignant and striking The sacrifices and deprivations undergone by the journalists so as to report from these places of horror and blood are often impressive and noble but the thing i most admired about Butcher's accounts was that he never sought to make their sacrifices out to be worse then the people of whom and for whom they were reporting The journalists though brave could opt to not go His account makes very clear his recognition that tragically the people on the ground those most in need have not the luxury of any kind of choice ps Just a uick word for the lovely pencil drawings at the head of each chapter They are by Sally Stephens and they are enchanting MOBI ☆ Chasing the Devil ☆ Tim Butcher

Tim Butcher ☆ Chasing the Devil EPUB

Tim Butcher ☆ Chasing the Devil EPUB Iuely brutal form of violence from which sprang many of Africa's cruellest contemporary icons This t Tim Butcher's second travel book offering takes the reader on our journey through west Africa in the footsteps of Graham Greene He and his traveling companion travel through Sierra Leone Guinea and Liberia by road foot and boat recreating a journey made by Graham Greene and his cousin Barbara in 1935 which eventually led to Greene writing 'Journey Without Maps' As with his previous book Blood River Butcher takes on considerable risk by choosing to make this journey in an area of Africa not well known for its political stabilityLiberia is well known for blood diamonds and child soldiers than for travel and Butcher delves into its history as he traverses the land and meets local people He introduces the reader to local culture such as the 'devils' mentioned in the title; sorcerers with magical powers that still play a very prevalent role in today's society He also draws obvious parallels between his journey and Greene's with particular witness to the fact that many of the villages he visits in remote jungles are much the same and no better off than they were 77 years agoIt is a journey very different from that in Blood River but a bold and fascinating one nonetheless Let's hope Butcher continues his adventures so we may continue to enjoy his work