Take a trip abroad with these 5 must-read books about living and working overseas.
1. Dark Star Safari by Paul Theroux
“In Dark Star Safari the wittily observant and endearingly irascible Paul Theroux takes readers the length of Africa by rattletrap bus, dugout canoe, cattle truck, armed convoy, ferry, and train. In the course of his epic and enlightening journey, he endures danger, delay, and dismaying circumstances.
“Gauging the state of affairs, he talks to Africans, aid workers, missionaries, and tourists. What results is an insightful meditation on the history, politics, and beauty of Africa and its people, and “a vivid portrayal of the secret sweetness, the hidden vitality, and the long-patient hope that lies just beneath the surface” (Rocky Mountain News). In a new postscript, Theroux recounts the dramatic events of a return to Africa to visit Zimbabwe.”
2. What Sahel Am I Doin’ Here: 30 Years of Misadventures in Africa by Steve Wisecarver
“What Sahel Am I Doin’ Here? is a collection of light-hearted tales that captures the exotic, bizarre, comic and even magical nature of daily life on the African continent. It is the author’s tribute to the resilience, joy and adventurous spirit of the African peoples.”
3. From Timbuktu to Duck and Cover: Improbable Tales from a Career in Foreign Service by Lewis Lucke
“While spending thirty years overseas in the US Foreign Service, and living in eleven countries and working in many more, Ambassador Lucke accumulated many stories that would never have happened ‘at home.’ His work took him to Timbuktu (twice), to places in West Africa where kids ran away in fear at their first glimpse of a person with white skin, to the scary run up to Gulf War I in North Africa, to the jungles of Bolivia and Lake Titicaca in the Andes, the fall of Communism in the old Czechoslovakia, biblical sites of Jerusalem, the passing of King Hussein in Jordan, to interaction with a few US Presidents and many members of Congress. He was thrust into the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, deployed into the war zone of Iraq, and finally served as US Ambassador to the last absolute monarchy in Africa. His take on a thirty-year career abroad: ‘It was never boring.’”
4. Tropical Gangsters by Robert Klitgaard
“Selected as one of the six best nonfiction books of 1990 by the editors of the New York Times Book Review, this is a compelling and entertaining account of the author’s two-and-a-half year adventure in Equatorial Guinea, and his efforts to get this small bankrupt African nation on the path of structural development.”
5. Africa Memoir: 50 Years, 54 Countries, One American Life by Mark Wentling
“Visit all 54 African countries with an adventurous American guide who has spent over half a century on the continent.
“Africa Memoir tells the incredible lifetime story of Mark G. Wentling, a boy from Kansas who grew up to travel, work, and visit all 54 African countries. Derived from over a half century spent working and living on the African continent, Wentling devotes a chapter to each country describing his firsthand experiences, eye-opening impressions, and views on future prospects.
“Original and authoritative, this one-of-a-kind, three-volume work deserves a special place on the bookshelves of anyone interested in Africa.”
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