Since 9/11 and what I saw as the current occupant's gross misinterpretation of the Muslim world which manifests into hate mongering by the neo-conservative side of politics to this day, I have wanted to learn more about their culture. Jeffrey Taylor's book on boating down a river in Siberia brought his name to my eye and another book of his entitle Angry Wind soon was added to my bookshelf.
Angry Wind is a chronicle of a two month trip across the Sahel region of Africa through the countries of Chad, Niger, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal. These countries encompass some of the most destitute countries in Africa and in the post 9/11 world of 2003, still before the United States invaded Iraq, attitudes towards the United States were poor at best. Jeff Taylor's expertise is studying cultures in his travels and he wanted to see for himself the conflict between Christians and Muslims and Muslim attitudes towards the United States which at the time appeared to be heading towards another war in Iraq. He accomplished both goals.
Taylor is fluent in Russian, French and Arabic along with English an thus has the tools to undergo such a trip yet he struggles along the way dealing with multitudes of corrupt officials and thieving citizens of both faiths. Yet always he seems to find good Samaritans along the way to help guide him through the country via local transportation consisting of trucks, boats, trains and camels and look out for his welfare
This is the second book of his I have read and it has convinced me that I need to read more. I have another one on my shelf but for now it will remain so. My next book is the beginning of a goal that I have had for many years. I am attempting to read a biography on each of our presidents beginning with George Washington and working my way to Obama. I figure by the time I get to him, I will have several biographies to choose from. For Washington, I chose a 500 plus page tomb written by Willard Sterne Randall. I will give a report on it when I finish sometime next year.