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Seasons of Sand Hardcover – November 1, 1993


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 236 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (November 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671769359
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671769352
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,738,729 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The solitude and wildness of the Saharan desert and the lives of the nomads who travel it become palpable in Aebi's amazing account of his search for a unique adventure. A romantic who longed to find some remaining unexplored "white space" on the map, this former artist and loft designer tagged along with a rented camel and a hired cameleer on a caravan headed for the infamous salt mines of Taoudenni in Mali, a two-month trek through the Sahara from Timbuktu. A stopover at Arouane, a historic desert village known for its good water, changed his life. Once a trans-Saharan trade center where caravans of 10,000 camels would stop to drink, Arouane was, by the time Aebi visited, a fly-infested, dirty "hell on earth" without a tree or any other vegetation, whose population had dropped from thousands to just 125 people. The author was seized by the idea of helping the village reclaim itself--"It wasn't any highblown sense of charity that had me entertaining such thoughts," he explains. "It was a challenge, a bit of excitement." Frank and humorous, filled with marvelous people and the details of his own daily life, Aebi's book tells an original tale of how he won over Arouane's inhabitants, taught them to garden, doctored them and helped them gain a sense of controlling their own destinies, only in the end to see many of his achievements sacrificed to nearby political rebellions that made the village a target of attacks and once again destroyed nearly everything but its spirit. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Aebi is described on the jacket cover as a "modern-day swashbuckler and Renaissance man," but his adventures in an ancient Saharan village in Mali fall somewhat short of the image of Robin Hood. Aebi sought to transform a dusty village into a prosperous town boasting hotel and gardens. With his own money and ambition, he partially succeeded, but desert rebels and his own arrogance eventually stopped his plans. As social commentary on the lingering reality of the colonial mentality, the book illustrates the point well. It is also worth reading as a fascinating story. Recommended for larger public libraries.
- Bill Rau, Takoma Park, Md.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ein Kunde on February 16, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Ernst Aebi, in something of a mid-life crisis, reads Richard Trench's "Forbidden Sands" and goes to travel in the Sahara. In Mali, some distance from Timbuktu, he finds a desolate, nearly dead village which was once an important waystation on trans-Saharan caravan routes. He has an epiphany. He decides to teach the villagers how to raise vegetables in a garden. With his own money and resources he starts the garden. One thing leads to another, and he decides to stay longer than he had planned. Overcoming numerous obstacles he eventually starts a school and a hotel (which he calls the Hilton, in hopes that the real Hilton hotel corporation will sue, thereby publicizing his project). Life in the village changes: an entrepreneurial class begins to emerge from a medieval master-serf society. He comes to love the village and its people. He tells his story in "Seasons of Sand". It is not a great book per se, but Aebi's story is worth hearing, and he shares much of his first-hand knowledge of Saharan peoples and traditions. He is a down-to-earth and practical man, and he writes without pretension. The story ends circa the early 1990's. What has become of Aebi and the people he single-handedly helped? The rest of the story should be part of a new edition of this book. This book deserves at least some of the recognition that "I Dreamed of Africa" has received.
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By Thomas Lange on May 25, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book has taken me to a place that I never thought I would go. You were right there and feeling everything.
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By Monica on October 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I thought this book was a very interesting and historical portrayal of the area. He gave an excellent account of hardship and his persistence in the face of huge obstacles rounded off with an amazing end. Packed with history, adventure and a real connection with the locals I highly recommend this book. I found it a riveting read.
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