Death in the Sahara: The Lords of the Desert and the Timbuktu Railway Expedition Massacre

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9781616085940: Death in the Sahara: The Lords of the Desert and the Timbuktu Railway Expedition Massacre
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Under-armed in hostile territory, and foolishly employing the enemy as guides, the one hundred explorers were ambushed and stranded without camels or supplies in the deserts of southern Algeria. Many were killed outright, and for four months the survivors were menaced by the Tuareg, the “lords of the desert,” robbed, starved, and tricked into eating poisoned fruit. To escape, the men hid in the wastelands of the Sahara with little hope of finding food or water. Finally forced to eat each other, only a dozen men lived to tell their tale. The story of their one-thousand-mile journey is one of the most astonishing narratives of survival ever recorded.

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About the Author:

Michael Asher is an SAS veteran, desert explorer, and a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He lives in Morocco.

From Publishers Weekly:

In 1880, the French government sent 100 men into the unexplored Sahara to scout the path for a possible railway from the coast. Here, Asher depicts a grim saga of treachery, endurance and slaughter along the way. In the desert, the expedition ran afoul of Tuareg tribes, warlike nomads who had resisted outsiders for a thousand years. Betrayed and attacked, the surviving soldiers made a grueling four-month trek back to the coast; only a dozen survived, some by eating their companions. As a veteran explorer of the Sahara, Asher offers intense descriptions of desert customs and landscapes, so much so that at times the actual narrative of the expedition fades in comparison. No Frenchman survived to write his memoirs (only Arab soldiers attached to the expedition), and the lack of primary source material makes Asher's task unenviable. Far too many times, he attempts to enliven the story by explaining what the soldiers thought and felt, even as they are being killed. Despite these shortcomings, his telling remains a fascinating saga of a brutal desert world suspended somewhere between the medieval and the modern. (May)
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9781602396302: Death in the Sahara: The Lords of the Desert and the Timbuktu Railway Expedition Massacre

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