Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Buy Used
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Like New
Comment: Crisp, clean pages. Looks and feels like a brand new book.Stored, Sold + Shipped by Amazon. From a Trusted Seller. No highlights, writing or torn pages. *NO HASSLE RETURNS*
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Blue Nile: Ethiopia's River of Magic and Mystery (Adventure Press) Hardcover – June 1, 2001

3.8 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

See all 5 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
$5.76 $0.66

Get a FREE Amazon Echo with homework help
Choose from 40+ subjects with online tutors from The Princeton Review. Learn more
click to open popover

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This is a delightful and well-paced account of a National Geographic team's successful 1999 journey by raft down the length of the Blue Nile one of the two rivers of the upper Nile River from its source in Ethiopia to the Sudan border. Science magazine correspondent Morell (Ancestral Passions), whose crew was the first to descend the Nile in a single, unbroken trip, had taught school in Ethiopia during the 1970s, and she combines her love of the country with a remarkably balanced account of the Blue Nile's history. She perceptively probes the intricacies of Ethiopian culture ("Secrets, intrigues, plots and counterplots riddle every social circle, and you soon learn to not necessarily believe everything you are told"), ancient history ("For their part, the Ethiopian emperors weren't above using the Blue Nile as a weapon to turn Egypt into a desert") and politics. But Morell is most sensitive, and enlightening, on matters of race and gender. As she observes, race "was just something you had to accept: as a white person in Ethiopia, you were and are a spectacle." But she also acknowledges "how ill-prepared we were for meeting men of progress along the Blue Nile," expecting "bandits and spear-throwers, not paramedics who listened to the Ethiopian equivalent of the BBC." This is a loving and insightful description of a culture and region that has been mostly off-limits to Westerners. 16 pages of color photos. (Aug.)Forecast: Morell's previous book was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, so this one may get review attention. Boosted by advertising in National Geographic and National Geographic Adventure magazines, this book could provoke new interest in Ethiopian life and culture.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Morell, a Science magazine correspondent and author of the highly acclaimed Ancestral Passions, here documents the only expedition to travel the entire length of the Blue Nile in an unbroken journey. While she reports no groundbreaking discoveries and uncovers no new facts during this National Geographic expedition, Morell does exhibit an endearing love for the people she encounters and observes their environment and way of life with a keen eye and an open mind. She also cleverly mingles the narratives of earlier Blue Nile explorers with her own findings. This synthesis is useful, as is the author's description of Ethiopia's current political conditions. But it is Morell's portrayal of the indigenous folk, and their relationship with the river they both worship and fear that makes this book so captivating. And while there are other, more authoritative works on the subject (consider, for instance, Major Cheesman's pioneering Lake Tana and the Blue Nile or Alan Moorehead's instructive The Blue Nile, HarperPerennial, 2000), this one nevertheless deserves attention. Recommended for all public libraries. Edward K. Owusu-Ansah, Murray State Univ. Lib., KY
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Series: Adventure Press
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: National Geographic (June 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0792279514
  • ISBN-13: 978-0792279518
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,722,721 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
... when he expressed disappointment about Morrell's constant complaints about the tour guide, Mike Speakes. The book-long litany of criticism for Speakes is what stands out for me - more than the scenery, the people, the history, etc. Morrell suggests that she chose not to address her concerns with Speakes directly out of deference to others in her group. Instead, with the exception of one instance late in the game, she saved all of her venom to share with thousands of readers. I don't know Speakes; I never heard of him before reading this book. I don't know Morrell; I never heard of her before reading her book. I did not read any of the Amazon reviews of the book until after I read the book. What I do know is that Morrell's mean-spirited jibes at Speakes so permeated the story that my opinion of Morrell's character is perhaps as low as she wanted the reader's opinion to be of Speakes.
1 Comment 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Virginia Morell has once again blended her storytelling skills with an adventuresome spirit in `Blue Nile." In it she journeys down the Blue Nile through Ethiopia to the Sudan. In 1999 Morell, on assignment from National Geographic, joined an expedition to be led by famous photographer Nevada Wier, with equally renowned Conrad Hirsch as guide. The idea was to spend two months rafting down one of the most dangerous and treacherous wild rivers in the world; meeting the natives, studying the wildlife, and putting a face on a beautiful and remote landscape.

Morell was ecstatic to be included and to be able to join forces with Hirsch, a friend and former teaching colleague. Things started off poorly, however, when Hirsch became stricken with a malignant brain tumor and had to withdraw as guide. He suggested that second boatman, Michael Speakes be promoted to his position. Speakes was experienced, having participated in earlier trips down the Blue Nile, and promised to "carry us safely down this remote river at potentially high water volumes." Not as personable as Hirsch, Speakes did guide the voyage safely, albeit while exhibiting grating people skills.

Morell does a wonderful job of describing the highs and lows that always accompany such ventures. Her detailing of the flora and fauna is captivating, her shivering and drenched existence is transmitted to the reader in chilling realism, and her disappointments, such as lack of large wild animals, attacks by warring natives (I suspect that deep in her heart she would have welcomed some), and more personable leadership skills, are relayed to the reader with aplomb and discretion. Those failings, along with very few white water thrills, gave me the impression that much more was expected of the journey than was experienced.
Read more ›
Comment 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
My interest in Ethiopia has been piqued recently by my son working on a report about Ethiopia for school and a friend's involvement helping an Ethiopian orphanage which has inspired two trips to help the boys at the orphanage in the last year with a third one planned in the near future. I picked this book up because I have developed an interest in reading travelogues, and really enjoyed the last National Geographic book I read to my kids, _George Washington, Spymaster: How the Americans Outspied the British and Won the Revolutionary War_.

The first part of the book, which focuses mainly on Ethiopian history, the history of Blue Nile expeditions and her personal history in Ethopia is excellent. Her description of the team members is brief in the beginning and really, the only members who receive focused attention are Mr. Speaks, the leader of the tour guides and their main interpreter, Zelalem. Once the trip begins, the narrative becomes more disjointed. The trip barely begines and Ms. Morell speaks of a "daily routine," making me wonder if I missed something. She doesn't speak much about crocodiles, the primary animal threat to past expeditions, and yet, Mr. Speaks had a bucket full of rocks to throw at the crocs, discouraging them from taking a nibble at their boat. This would seem to indicate that they were more prevalent than her initial account indicated or that Mr. Speaks was always prepared to keep the boats and his passengers safe. On several occasions, it seems as if she skips days or even a week in her account. She seems to bounce from brief descriptions of the flora, fauna and river, to descriptions of the people the team encounters, haphazardly adding interactions with other team members and team illnesses with very little context or follow up.
Read more ›
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book read more like a grade school culture capsule than a 500 mile wild river adventure that had never been accomplished before. However it did provide some insight into the Ethiopian culture and some good words to try out on my Ethiopian friends. Virginia Morell came across to me as a bit of a middle aged Drama Queen who was just absolutely overflowing with prattle and contrivance. It seemed to me that Morell rather fancied Captain Speaks and was frustrated that he was a real professional boatman and summarily ignored her attempted manipulations. There was no "Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone" on this trip for Virginia. The book tells an even better story about the Author than the Blue Nile.
Comment 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Pages with Related Products. See and discover other items: burundi