The Zanzibar Chest: A Story of Life, Love, and Death in Foreign Lands
When, on the death of his father, Aiden Hartley found a chest containing an old diary written by his father's friend who had been killed in colonial Africa, Hartley decided to write a book.
The result, however, is not just about his father's friend. It is Hartley's own story; the story of his father, his family, his early years in East Africa, and it is especially a vivid account of his years spent as a hack reporter in some of Africa's and the world's most terrifying, dangerous places in the 1990's; places like Somalia, Serbia, and Rwanda. He witnessed atrocity after atrocity; evil in it's most immediate form. But he also experienced life at its fullest, from the sordid to the sublime.
I liked The Zanzibar Chest very much, although from the title, I expected more of an emphasis on his father's friend, Peter Davey.
Still, it was a colorful, fascinating, devastating story, told with a clear reporter's eye. I feel like I also learned a lot about Africa and its problems, especially Somalia and Rwanda. They became more than just news soundbites from almost 20 years ago. (Wow, is it really that long ago?!)
This is definitely a book full of adventure and bravado. If you're looking for an adventurous read, I'd definitely recommend The Zanzibar Chest. I'd also recommend it to anyone who would like to look behind and beyond the headlines of the 1990's.