TEZOUAI
Photo by matteoc used under a Creative Commons license.

William Langewiesche, Sahara Unveiled (Pantheon, 1996).
An account of a 1,200 mile trip across the Sahara and through Algeria, Niger, Mali, and Senegal, by taxi, truck, bus, riverboat and train.  It has been years since I read this book, so I do not recall it crisply, but Langewiesche — then a staff writer for The Atlantic, now a correspondent for Vanity Fair — is no slouch as a writer.

Google BookSearch offers links but no preview. Langewiesche was given the Lettre Ulysses Award for reportage in 2004. Here is an index of his writing in The Atlantic, including pieces which became parts of this book. Here is a bio with many links, none relating to this book. This appears to be an excerpt from the book. Ryan McNally interviewed him after this book was published. Tai E. Moses calls Langewiesche a thoughtful and candid guide. Richard Bernstein (The New York Times) says he fashions an entertaining and edifying tale. Tim Bray says it’s a fine book. When Bruce Tierney finished it, he wanted to keep reading. Elisabeth Sherwin says there’s little romance and no mystery, a grim but compelling read. Katherine Whittamore (Salon) doesn’t like his tone. PRB’s review is mixed. Ray Roberson says it’s a peek into modern-day life in the desert. In Mauritania, William Ryan says it’s an evenhanded portrait of the good and bad parts of touring northern Africa. Langewiesche later wrote this piece about the Sahara for National Geographic Traveler.

Buy it at Amazon.com.