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Walking with Abel: Journeys with the Nomads of the African Savannah Hardcover – August 4, 2015
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Praise for Walking with Abel:
Named a Top Summer Reading Pick by the Los Angeles Times, Playboy, Esquire, Christian Science Monitor, Vol 1. Brooklyn, BBC.com, and Mental Floss
“Badkhen's rich and lucid prose illustrates her journey as vividly as might a series of photographs… By the time readers put the book down, they will have done something remarkable: visited a mostly inhospitable but eminently seductive locale alongside a storyteller able to render the strange and different both familiar and engrossing. Walking With Abel not only takes us somewhere new, it viscerally reminds us that such places still exist in the world.” –Christian Science Monitor
“Fascinating…highly ambitious and deeply profound.” –Los Angeles Times
“Lyrical [and] meditative…[a] tender tribute to a people deeply rooted in the land.” –Boston Globe
"[D]isplays the skill of a writer accustomed to telling the stories of those living unimaginable lives.” –Ms. Magazine
“[Badkhen] who was given the Fulani name Anna Bâ, describes all in graceful prose, word paintings that approach poetry…nearly perfect.” –Minneapolis Star-Tribune
"Fascinating." -The Brian Lehrer Show
“Enthralling…Walking with Abel is essential reading.” –Dayton Daily News
“Staggeringly vivid… poetic, and tactile...[Walking with Abel] amasses much of its strength from isolated movements taken together. It’s a subtle path, but a deeply effective one.” –Biographile
"Extraordinarily poetic." -BBC.com
“[The Fulani] live in the here and now in ways the modern world has lost even the memory of, and their story, told with deftly measured, evocative prose and poetically precise detail, slows the reader down to consider just what that means… Badkhen infuses her story with the kind of authenticity only a fellow traveler can know.” –BookPage
"We swooned over Anna Badkhen's writing the way we did for Katherine Boo's Behind the Beautiful Forevers." –Shelf Awareness
"Vivid, memorable nonfiction." –Playboy
“A careful rendering of one of the world’s last remaining migratory peoples… [Badkhen] uses her credentials as a war reporter with tact, reconditioning readers whose only context for West Africa — and perhaps the continent — is that of violence… She situates the Fulani in relief across centuries and physical space… [and] her richly detailed and delivered observations are crafted with a careful ear for the rhythms of language.” – The Los Angeles Review of Books
"An engrossing look into an alien world from the perspective of a writer with a unique story of her own.” –Philadelphia Inquirer
“Lyrical … Badkhen combines journalistic observation with deep feeling…The Fulani are individuals, not archetypes. Their journey is both beautiful and difficult… tenderly render[ed]…[and] exquisitely written.” –Publisher's Weekly (starred)
"In lyrical and evocative prose, Badkhen writes of the beauty of the land and the sky and the grace and wisdom of the people…readers [will] savor her gentle, elegant story.” –Kirkus Reviews
“[Badken] mak[es] Fulani culture come alive as she follows the herders’ daily efforts to cope with drought, disease, and death in an often unforgiving landscape...[Walking with Abel] will appeal to anyone interested in Africa’s nomadic peoples and readers of memoirs such as Cheryl Strayed’s Wild.” –Library Journal
“[Badkhen] vividly captures and communicates an increasingly rare and wondrous experience.” – Booklist
"Walking with Abel is a rare and extraordinary book. Anna Badkhen writes with so much precision and soul that practically every line delivers its own revelation. This intrepid writer has given us more than a window into an ancient, and possibly doomed, way of life; she digs down to the very core of what it means to be human.” –Ben Fountain, author, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, winner of the National Book Critics' Circle Award and finalist for the National Book Award
"Lucid, generous, and rugged, Badkhen has written a magisterial book which speaks to us as a species in the early twenty-first century - where have we walked from and where are we walking."
–J.M. Ledgard, author of Submergence
“Sumptuously narrated, Badkhen’s sojourn compels you to ponder the existential centers of life—love and loss, loyalty and betrayal, courage and fear. At the end of this riveting tale, the reader not only knows something about the fascinating particularities of Fulani being-in-the -world, but is also inspired by the indomitable resilience of the human spirit.”
–Paul Stoller, author of Yaya’s Story: The Quest for Well-Being in the World
“An amazing saga among the nomadic Fulani in the African Sahel. Badkhen’s account is a wondrous tableau of survival in one of the planet’s toughest environments, threaded with history, legend, and a wealth of stories.”
–Wayne White, Middle East Institute
About the Author
Anna Badkhen has written about wars on four continents, including the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, and Chechnya. Her reporting has appeared in The New York Times, The New Republic, Foreign Policy, and other publications. She is the author, most recently, of The World is a Carpet: Four Seasons in an Afghan Village and Walking with Abel: Journeys with the Nomads of the African Savannah. Badkhen lives in Philadelphia.
Top customer reviews
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That's what reading Anna Badkhen's Walking with Abel feels like.
The brave and observant Ms.Badkhen spends a year with the Diakayates, a family of nomad cowboys who shepherd their cattle through Mali in West Africa. Through her eyes and lyrical prose, we learn of an ancient way of life that has remained mostly unchanged throughout the ages. These are people who understand their world to be full of meaning and spirits, omens and hardships. They understand cows the way most people understand their dogs and cats, and perhaps even more so. They persist under the scourge of drought, the threat of war, and the encroachment of the modern world.
Ms. Badkhen guides us through her firsthand experiences, living as the Fulani live, taking in what she sees and communicating through prose that reaches near poetry. Yet she retains an unflinching view of the harsh realities the Fulani face, and with grace and humility reveals a beautiful culture that like all others must contend with tragedy.
This is simply a great book, one that deals with loss both personal and universal, that smiles at the sometimes-absurdities of human relationships. Most of all it celebrates life through the lens of an existence few in the West would ever wish for, revealing that joy can bloom in the hardest of lands.
Pick it up and be transported. You'll see the world is a much bigger place than you've imagined.