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John Reader
Price: $ 50

First and greatest of our planet's continents, Africa is the birthplace of our world: the earliest living organism, the earliest dinosaur egg, and the earliest mammal are all of African origin, and its Great Rift Valley was the cradle of the human race. From the vast sand sea of the Sahara to the lush jungles and mighty rivers of Central Africa to the sweeping southern veldt, it's a realm of unparalleled diversity that boasts spectacular landscapes, an extraordinary wealth of wildlife, a remarkable range of peoples and cultures, and a rich but surprisingly little known history.

We learn how a green ribbon of fertility along the Nile nourished the ancient Egyptian civilization whose pyramids still awe us after five millennia, and we marvel at the overgrown earthworks that mark the last traces of the lost cities of Sheba, only one of the many powerful kingdoms to rise and fall in the course of Africa's long history. We visit the Baka, a diminutive, communal people who thousands of years ago mastered the art of surviving in the rain forest but must now find a way to meet the challenges of modern civilization. We join a salt caravan trekking across the desert on an arduous journey that men and camels have made every year for centuries, dive with spear fishermen along the Swahili coast, wander with nomadic Masai herdsmen of East Africa, and descend with South African miners into the world's deepest, richest mines. Here too is the wildlife for which Africa is so famous, from the silverback gorillas who haunt the ever shrinking forest to the elephants migrating 600 miles through the Sahel to the crocodiles venerated by the Dogon from time immemorial, and much more.

A wonderful, extravagant tapestry of peoples, flora, and fauna, Africa is as colorful, as beautiful, as alluring, and as endlessly fascinating as the magnificent continent it celebrates.

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