The Zanzibar Chest

The Zanzibar Chest

A Story of Life, Love, and Death in Foreign Lands

Book - 2004
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Hartley, an acclaimed frontline reporter who covered the atrocities of 1990s Africa, embarks on a journey to unlock the mysteries and secrets of his own family's 150-year-colonial legacy in Africa. A beautiful, sometimes harrowing memoir of intrepid young men cut down in their prime, of forbidden love and its fatal consequences, and of family and history. and the collision of cultures over the enduring course of British colonialism in Africa that defined them both.
Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, 2004
Edition: First Riverhead Trade paperback edition
ISBN: 9781594480119
Branch Call Number: 967 Ha
Description: 479 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm


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Oct 25, 2012

This autobiography is primarily an account of this wire service journalist's experiences in Ethiopia, Somalia and Rwanda in the late 8os through 1996. But the book is also a family memoir and an account of the death of a close friend of his father in colonial Aden Protectorate. Unfortunately these interwoven themes lead to an over 400 page book that may be hard to follow. The journalist is probably debilitated by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from the extreme violence he sees on these assignments. This personal account offers often startling information about what was happening in these conflicts that didn't make it onto the pages of Western newspapers and TV screens.

anniemurray May 25, 2012

I can't recommend this book highly enough. There is a wonderful feeling of magical realism and romance to Hartley's writing about his family history. Combined with his perceptions of the stark reality of the actual political and social conditions in east Africa in the 1990s makes for a page-turner. I have read this book over and over.


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