The shadow of Kilimanjaro: on foot across East Africa

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9780747543817: The shadow of Kilimanjaro: on foot across East Africa
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In one of the most acclaimed travel and adventure books of the past year, Rick Ridgeway chronicles his trek from the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro to the Indian Ocean, through Kenya's famed Tsavo Park. His tale is, according to The Boston Globe, "a gripping account of how it feels to be charged by an incensed elephant and kept awake at night by the roaring of stalking lions." But it is more than an adventure story. The Los Angeles Times noted that "the pace of walking gives Ridgeway time to contemplate his great theme and the great men and women who have struggled with the conundrum of whether man can live at peace with the beasts." Ridgeway examines the effects of colonial expansion on the indigenous people, the landscape, and the animals, and contemplates the future for all of them.

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Review:

Known for such feats as being the first climber to reach the summit of K2 without bottled oxygen, climbing Antarctica's highest mountain, and leading a team to the top of a formidable 2,000-foot granite tower in the most remote corner of the Amazon's Orinoco jungle, Rick Ridgeway, in his latest book, takes a walk. Of course, it's no ordinary stroll. Accompanied by park officers, Ridgeway treks unprotected among lions and elephants, rhinos and oryxes.

The Shadow of Kilimanjaro is as much a search for answers to an adventurer's most soul-searching questions as an account of a thrilling journey. In the introduction Ridgeway writes,

Henry David Thoreau did not write that in wilderness is the preservation of the world, as he is oft misquoted, but that "In wildness is the preservation of the world." There is a difference, and it is significant. A wildness is intact. In wildness, all the original pieces are there. My own backyard mountains in California, from the Coastal Range through the Sierras, are in many places wilderness, but none of it is wildness because the grizzly is gone. We may have the grizzly on the state flag; having it there, however, is not a celebration of our heritage but a burlesque of what we have done to the most noble patriarch ever to walk the land.
Starting at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro and ending at the Indian Ocean, Ridgeway's aim during this adventure is less to get there and more to be there. During his weeks on foot, he thoughtfully considers the effects of colonial expansion on Africa's indigenous peoples, its landscape, and its awe-inspiring animals--all the while contemplating with a conservationist's heart Africa's uncertain future. --Kathryn True

From the Back Cover:

In this widely acclaimed tale of adventure, renowned explorer and adventurer Rick Ridgeway takes us on a five-hundred-kilometer trek from the icy summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, across the famed Tsavo parks of Kenya, to the shores of the Indian Ocean. Here is a rare and pulse-quickening view of one of the last wild places on Earth, as Ridgeway and his party find themselves eyeball to eyeball with lion and buffalo, elephant and crocodile. But Ridgeway has more in mind than sheer adventure. Beyond the high drama of the walk itself, Ridgeway captivates the reader with the visceral excitement of the presence of the magnificent animals and his passionate cry for their preservation.

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