WITH A FOREWORD BY TIM BUTCHER AND AN INTRODUCTION BY PAUL THEROUX. In 1935 Graham Greene set off to discover Liberia, a remote and unfamiliar West African republic founded for released slaves. Crossing the red-clay terrain from Sierra Leone to the coast at Grand Bassa with a chain of porters, he came to know one of the few areas of Africa untouched by Western colonisation.
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(198mm x 129mm x 17mm)
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
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UK Kirkus Review »
In 1936 Graham Greene undertook his 'journey without maps' to Liberia. He was 31 and had never travelled outside Europe. This account of his treacherous 350-mile walk through virgin forest is re-published with a preface written by Greene in 1946. At the time of his journey Liberia was unmapped territory where the British were content to leave blank spaces and the Americans fill them with the single word 'cannibals'. Greene tells of his encounters with village chiefs who had to be 'dashed' with chickens and whisky, lone Dutch prospectors, and an English medical missionary 'body and nerves worn threadbare by ten years' unselfish work'. He tries to understand the power of the village devils and the bush schools. In that now vanished world he learns how to encourage his child-like porters when they are on the brink of mutiny, but also to trust them. In a chapter headed 'Civilized Man' he marvels at their delight in the full moon celebrations and regrets his own world's lost contact with the lunar influence. The boredom of travel is well brought out - Greene tries to relieve the monotony of a five-hour march by thinking of his next book, but is afraid to concentrate on it for too long 'for then there might be nothing to think about next day'. Near the border with French Guinea he experiences the happiness and freedom of Africa for the first time. When he finally reaches the coast he is at the point of exhaustion - and the end of the whisky. His experiment - his search for the heart of darkness in Africa - is related with compassion and originality. His descriptions of towns such as Dakar, of characters like the Dictator of Grand Bassa and the exiles marooned in their legations in Monrovia are vintage Greene. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Graham Greene
Graham Greene was born in 1904. On coming down from Balliol College, Oxford, he worked for four years as sub-editor on The Times. He established his reputation with his fourth novel, Stamboul Train. In 1935 he made a journey across Liberia, described in Journey Without Maps, and on his return was appointed film critic of the Spectator. In 1926 he had been received into the Roman Catholic Church and visited Mexico in 1938 to report on the religious persecution there. As a result he wrote The Lawless Roads and, later, his famous novel The Power and the Glory. Brighton Rock was published in 1938 and in 1940 he became literary editor of the Spectator. The next year he undertook work for the Foreign Office and was stationed in Sierra Leone from 1941 to 1943. This later produced the novel The Heart of the Matter, set in West Africa. As well as his many novels, Graham Greene wrote several collections of short stories, four travel books, six plays, three books of autobiography - A Sort of Life, Ways of Escape and A World of My Own (published posthumously) - two of biography and four books for children. He also contributed hundreds of essays, and film and book reviews, some of which appear in the collections Reflections and Mornings in the Dark. Many of his novels and short stories have been filmed and The Third Man was written as a film treatment. Graham Greene was a member of the Order of Merit and a Companion of Honour. He died in April 1991.