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The Zanzibar Chest Paperback – August 3, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
In addition to being autobiographical, Hartley attempts to weave in the tale of his father's long deceased best friend, Peter Davey, into his narrative. While interesting in and of itself, this diversion never succeeds in tying in to the main body of the work. Hartley struggles valiantly to draw a comparison between himself and Davey, but the links are tenuous at best. In the end, the reader is left with the indication that if Hartley had been born fifty years earlier, he would have become a man like Davey, but this is a conclusion that is hardly supported by what is revealed about both men. Nonetheless, as I alluded to above, Davey's tale is an intriguing one, and while it is oddly disconnected from the rest of the book, it is still an interesting tale.
That said, where the book really shines is in Hartley's descriptions of his life as a journalist.Read more ›
In contradistinction is the life of Mr. Hartley, who begins his career as a Reuters stringer quite well educated but professionally clueless. He gradually hones his craft during long, hot, unhygenic, drug-fueled months through close friendships with more seasoned and cynical professionals. Eventually he himself becomes a seasoned and cynical professional and acts as mentor to newcomers.
Together, he and his friends bear witness to several famines, the civil war in Rwanda, as well as the battle of Mogidishu. It is the butchering in Rwanda that finally overfills his capacity for horror. He eventually retires to write this memoir.
Though he possesses the neutral eye of a journalist, Mr. Hartley does occasionally talk about the way the the events affect him and criticizes western goverments' attempts to help.
The structure of this book was the most interesting part of the book to me. I enjoyed the contrast between his progress through the 1990s horror show with his pursuit of long dead characters of another generation.
I bought this book because I enjoyed the author's interview on Fresh Air with Terry Gross. Because of that interview, I was already familiar with the story and some of the most terrifying events, particulary in Rwanda.
I was, therefore, most shocked by his incredulous reaction to the inhumanity he witnessed in a brief assignment in Bosnia. In a way that is puzzling to me, Mr.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A very interesting and personnel read. I ripped through this book in 2 days and. Had difficulty putting it down. Read morePublished 7 months ago by TED KAZ
Aidan Hartley's `Zanzibar Chest' interweaves four strands - the horrors of Somalia and Rwanda, the life of Hartley's father, the life of Hartley's father's friend Peter Davey, and... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Geoff Crocker
"The Zanzibar Chest: A Story of Life, Love, and Death in Foreign Lands" by Mr. Aidan Hartley, and I must say that at my first glance of a few pages when I looked at a copy... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Amazon Customer
I am simply awed by the fact that Aidan Hartley was able to witness these incredible scenes and remain sane. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Krystil
Well written. I would hope that Mr. Hartley would write more, but he poured his heart and soul into The Zanzibar Chest. Read morePublished on May 30, 2013 by St Jacob
While this book wasn’t what I was expecting, I want to declare right at the outset that it was REALLY REALLY GOOD! Read morePublished on March 9, 2013 by Suzanne Dobbins
It's not a happy book to read, but an important one. I especially recommend it to people living and working in Africa, espeically Peace Corps Volunteers.Published on December 9, 2012 by Marta Rusek
Gripping, horrific, funny, depressing, engrossing, exciting, insightful, detailed, soaring, emotionally depleting, I don't want it to end, mind-boggling, a must-read.Published on November 26, 2012 by Rocky Peltzman
I was given this book by a friend along with a disclaimer: "It's very intense!"
I started reading the hefty volume slowly at first, and then at a quicker pace as Hartley's... Read more