MEN OF SALT reviews

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     "A harrowing, stupendous journey." - The New York Times

     "Even if readers don't find the idea of spending 40 harrowing days with a caravan crossing some of the world's most unforgiving desert as enticing as Benanav does, that doesn't mean they won't quickly devour his thrilling account of that otherworldly journey. The Caravan of White Gold was named for the voyage nomads have taken for centuries in search of the lonely, moonlike salt mines of Taoudenni, Mali. To a seasoned travel writer and veteran outdoorsman like Benanav, the opportunity to take part in such a journey - through the brutal Tanezrouft region of the Sahara - was impossible to resist, and it isn't long after hearing about it that he's in Timbuktu, Mali, ready to set off across an area four times the size of England, referred to alternately as "The Land of Thirst" and "The Land of Terror." Like many voyagers into the unknown, Benanav does his best to research where he's going and peppers his travelogue with well-placed historical background; he's also smart enough to see where his research and assumptions about the fascinating nomadic culture are utterly wrong. There is romanticism, especially in Benanav's warm accounts of his fellow travelers, but there's also an awareness of the deadly perils of their world, especially the salt mines themselves, so desolate they were used as a gulag for political prisoners until 1991. This is that rare work that takes readers beyond their imaginations." - Publishers Weekly Starred Review

     "Benanav's evocative and beautiful writing appeals to all the senses." - Library Journal

     "Benanav's precise eye for detail is every bit as sharp as his wit; he fills the pages of this unusual work with a seemingly endless string of revelations." -  Barnes and Noble, selected for their 'Discover Great New Writers' series.

     "Personal yet unsentimental...a tale told with spirit and respect." - Harvard Business School Book Review

     "A riveting account." - The Cleveland Plain Dealer

     " 'With nothing but the essentials for survival, surrounded by nothing but desert,' Benanav describes himself as feeling 'like a rich man.'  This in itself suggests the extent to which the traveler/author has dropped his American material needs and immersed himself in the culture he'd come to discover.  As such, he's the perfect person to present the experience of crossing almost 1000 miles of Saharan desert to those of us who know we’ll never make such a trip...He offers us an unmatched perspective on this ancient way of life...Every sandy step along the way opens windows into a world unimaginably different from our own.  With photographs and maps to fill out the picture, it's an amazing and unforgettable trip." - The Santa Fe New Mexican

     "MEN OF SALT is a vivid, electric glimpse of a rarely seen culture at its rawest." - Men's Journal

     "Ranks with classic armchair adventures...a ripping good yarn...harrowing and magical.  Benanav's enthusiasm and pluck are matched by the proud and spirited people encountered along the way. We may never make the journey ourselves, but we should be glad Benanav did: He succeeds in honoring an ancient culture and the generations of people who have traveled a path few of us would choose." - Saudi Aramco World 

     "Fascinating!" - Booklist



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