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Harmattan: A Journey Across the Sahara Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 289 pages
  • Publisher: Clover Park Pr; First Edition edition (January 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0962863211
  • ISBN-13: 978-0962863219
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,768,816 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This affecting travel and spiritual adventure concerns five Peace Corps volunteer women teachers in Liberia who in 1964 undertook a seven-week, 4000-mile journey through West Africa, crossing the Sahara from Nigeria to Algiers by train, bus, car and trans-Saharan truck. Writing with a sense of immediacy, Kennedy, who was one of the party and is now a principal planner at UCLA, evokes the magic and awesomeness of the alternatingly hot and frigid desert lashed by the Harmattan wind and sand. The unpredictable, rugged, often dangerous conditions (the group was abducted by lecherous French gendarmes ) served both to forge and strain bonds among the temperamentally diverse travelers, who were isolated by the language barrier and traditional Arab treatment of women. Kennedy judges the adventure well worth the hazards because those the group encountered largely responded generously to "their curiosity . . . respect . . . and terrible vulnerability." Author tour.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Kennedy recounts her journey with four other Peace Corps volunteers across the Sahara from Liberia to Algiers. As the journey progresses, we are acquainted with a variety of intriguing individuals and experiences that were part of the realization of this group's goal. Kennedy matter-of-factly describes the wrath of the desert elements, the search for lodging and transportation, the strain on relationships, language challenges, and the logistics of such a journey. She excels at describing what happens and making observations throughout but fails to generate or relay the excitement one expects from such autobiographical travel accounts. Though the concept has great literary potential, the book itself misses the mark, leaving readers with a feeling of dissatisfaction. A possible candidate for general collections.
- Jo-Anne Mary Benson, Osgoode, Ontario
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 4, 1999
Format: Hardcover
For those in a hurry, here is the bottom line on "Harmattan," Geraldine Kennedy's new book: Get it. Beg, borrow or steal it. Read it. You will laugh. You will learn. You will be inspired. Nothing better reveals the spirit and courage necessary to create a new world for the 21st Century.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 18, 1996
Format: Hardcover
"Harmattan" is an utterly riveting narrative and, in the stunning, seductive world of travel literature, an instant classic, an unforgetable contribution
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 4, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is a book for any woman who has attempted or dreamed of a quixotic quest. The year is 1964 in newly independent Africa when author Kennedy and four fellow Peace Corps volunteers brave the relentless Harmattan winds across the forbidding Sahara desert. The women do not let the lack of money or safe transportation deter them. If they had thought to ask for advice they would have been told that the trip was impossible, but no one asked. The travelers, on summer break from their teaching jobs, are more acquaintances than friends. Each is changed by the experience, but it is through Kennedy's eyes that we watch the desert test and forge the woman she will become. Her lyrical writing, spiced with a wry humor, involves the reader from the first paragraph: . . . . . . . . . ."Zinder was the place on the edge of the Sahara where they kept and told the desert stories. They knew of the men lost­sixteen Arabs in three trucks swallowed last spring­and those spared, praise Allah, to return to Zinder. A strange sort of anticipation permeated life there, a foreboding of misfortune inevitable as the wind swirling dust through the alleys, against the ancient ageless mesquite, under skirts, and over piles of peppers and yams. The Harmattan blew. Resignation replaced hope. Endurance meant survival. Despite the wind, winter was the preferred time for travel in the desert. Death, the people said, accompanied the summer trips of fools.". . . . . . . .As a reader, I immediately signed on for this journey. When the five women leave the desert at Algiers, I felt an exhilaration, a feeling of accomplishment. My life also had been enriched by their journey. For I now too am the keeper of one of the stories told by the old men on the edge of the desert, the story of "desmoiselles formidables."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 18, 1996
Format: Hardcover
After Eisenhower and before Vietnam was a lovely time to be young and American and on the loose in an optimistic world, and Kennedy records her adventure lovingly. And honestly too­the five young women were an unlikely grouping and got sick of each other. The depth of understanding that grows in her is with the desert, with her place in the human race, and with herself . . . now written down in this book full of wisdom and heart
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 18, 1996
Format: Hardcover
Their story is truly amazing as, thanks to both naïveté and determination, they accomplish what few men even dare to try. Kennedy transports us back to a time when America was still innocent and five young women could rely on the kindness of strangers in making their way
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 18, 1996
Format: Hardcover
An affecting travel and spiritual adventure. Writing with a sense of immediacy, Kennedy . . .evokes the magic and awesomeness of the alternatingly hot and frigid desert lashed by the Harmattan wind and sand. . . The unpredictable, rugged, often dangerous conditions . . .served both to forge and strain bonds among the tempermentally diverse travelers
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 18, 1996
Format: Hardcover
"Harmattan" tells of the world Geraldine Kennedy and her adventurous friends found on their epic journey across the Sahara. It makes me proud of the special spirit and talents of women volunteers and reminds me why the Peace Corps was the best job I ever had. Three Cheers! (LMR, Former Director of the Peace Corps and Former Ambassador to Norway
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 18, 1996
Format: Hardcover
One of the most exciting books I've read. I savored it like "Kon Tiki" because both seem so wonderfully improbable as undertakings. Read it
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