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No Mercy: A Journey Into the Heart of the Congo Paperback – June 30, 1998
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Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The title "No Mercy" should give you a clue. The book starts with O'Hanlon and his companion-du-jour, an American academic named Lary, as they try to plan a trip in the jungles of the Congo. The usual 3rd world problems of bribing the corrupt government officials, avoiding getting killed and robbed, and finding local guides ensue. Entertaining and normal.
O'Hanlon hires the Congolese Minister of Nature or some such thing who brings along extended family members as workers. Marcellin (the government minister), Nze, and Manou then take over the book. The American provides needed sanity to the first part of the trip as they go up the river in a fetid, crowded steamboat and begin their travels. Dead bodies float by frequently. Murderous natives who mostly want to murder O'Hanlon's guides and night-time escapes from danger become more and more frequent. Then O'Hanlon's companion has to leave and O'Hanlon is left at the mercy of his guides and Congolese society as he journeys to an isolated lake where reports of a Lochness-like creature abound.Read more ›
I bought *No Mercy* based on reviews I read in Amazon.com. I was enticed by the notion of a travel writer-naturalist (if that is a label fitting O'Hanlon) traveling hundreds of miles on a months-long trip to one of the most remote and wildest spots on the globe, at the end of which was a chance to view the legendary cryptid critter of the Congo, Mokele-mbembe.
I lap this stuff up-high adventure in the wilderness, extreme camping at its extremest. And O'Hanlon an informative and entertaining guide.
But the book is about so much more. O'Hanlon is a travel writer by trade, and although there is a very remote possibility his readers would choose to travel upriver to the deepest part of Africa, it does make a fascinating read. So many aspects of life in Africa jump off the pages ---death on the river, traveling in an antique steamer up the Congo River, tense interactions with armed militiamen, the diet of the Congo, taro root and bushmeat (mostly monkeys), constant gift-giving and bribery, the politically volatile region, ready to explode at any minute---and you are as perplexed and exhausted as the travelers are, except you're reading in the comfort of your living room.
I lent this book to my brother-in-law, Goog. He likes off beat stuff. But it wasn't his cup of tea. Perhaps it was the book's languid pace. I guess it is a little like *Heart of Darkness* in a way.
Yes there are grim and ugly parts of the journey, but I, like O'Hanlon, kept slogging along in the hope of catching a glimpse of the mysterious Mokele-mbembe. No Mercy opened my eyes to what Africa suffers through as it crawls into the twenty-first century with so many disadvantages.
I'd read other books by O'Hanlon, just for the joy of hearing his description of animal behavior while suffering unspeakable hardships and indignities
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of the greatest travel books I have read... ever.
I'm a big fan of Redmond O'Hanlon. His narrative brings a nice balance of adventure, humor, cultural observations... Read more
I loved this book. He's a brilliant writer. I want this book in my KINDLE collection. Please put all of his books out in a Kindle format.Published 10 months ago by Christy L. Vail
Rambling narrative about a rambling trek, in that sense the heavy verbosity in this "adventure" tale works. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Frank Elsener
Not for the faint of heart, but brilliant. I think the best travel, and best travel writing, starts with a random errand--in this case confirming reports of a modern dinosaur--and... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Live Clean
One of my favorite writers and surely one of my major heroes. I can't begin to do justice to his verve, insanity and boldness as a naturalist and his brilliant hair-raising books... Read morePublished 15 months ago by MJ Langstaff
A long and detailed journey through which the author himself is taken far beyond the norms of Western existence. Read morePublished 18 months ago by mopz
Good book..hard reading, but written like a Conrad novel. The revolting living conditions in the Congo are freely discussed-one reason why I'd rather read a book like this, and... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Eugene G. Kelly