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The Resource Sahara : a natural history, Marq de Villiers and Sheila Hirtle

Sahara : a natural history, Marq de Villiers and Sheila Hirtle

Label
Sahara : a natural history
Title
Sahara
Title remainder
a natural history
Statement of responsibility
Marq de Villiers and Sheila Hirtle
Creator
Contributor
Subject
Language
eng
Award
Booklist Editors' Choice, 2002.
Review
  • After navigating the physical and political properties of the world's oceans, lakes, rivers and aquifers in his last book, Water , Canadian journalist de Villiers is back on (very) dry land in this new volume—but his writing is every bit as fertile. Co-written with Hirtle (with whom he also wrote Into Africa ), the book is part travel memoir, part history lesson and part archeological dig, bringing to life the stark landscape of the earth's largest desert. The first half describes how sand dunes take shape so suddenly and travel, wavelike, so quickly; why stands of petrified forests developed; and how relatively mild shifts in the earth's ecosystem and weather patterns transformed the once-verdant grasslands of a mere 10 centuries ago into today's austere environment. The book's second half discusses the ebb and flow of great cities and civilizations along both the northern (Berber and Arab) and southern (black African) edges of the desert, as well as the Moor, Tuareg and Tubu nomads who roamed between them. It also details trade patterns and tribal groupings that have existed over many centuries and takes the reader on a contemporary camel-powered salt-trade caravan. Though this book doesn't have the political urgency or current-events hook of Water , the authors' evocative blend of reportage and concise historical overview makes it a fine read for both armchair travelers and those interested in natural history. (Sept .) --Staff (Reviewed July 8, 2002) (Publishers Weekly, vol 249, issue 27, p42)
  • South African–born de Villiers (Water: The Fate of Our Most Precious Resource ) and Hirtle (his coauthor on Into Africa: A Journey Through the Ancient Empires ) offer a thoroughgoing account of the world's largest desert. They include a complex history (both natural and human), as well as a look at the complicated ethnology and present-day life of the various tribes (Tauregs, Berbers, Moors, and Tubu) that have adapted to this incredibly harsh climate. On occasion, the authors tend toward the overly dramatic ("mountains as black as a sinner's heart"), and the organization seems a bit complex and convoluted, but chapters on the Sahara's natural history and modern conditions as well as a fascinating account of a caravan crossing the desert make this a worthy purchase for larger academic and natural history collections.—Tim Markus, Evergreen State Coll. Lib., Olympia, WA --Tim Markus (Reviewed August 15, 2002) (Library Journal, vol 127, issue 13, p136)
  • A fully versed and admiring portrait of the Sahara, by travel-writer de Villiers (Water, 2000, etc.) and Hirtle (with de Villiers, Into Africa, not reviewed).The authors explain that the Great Emptiness really isn't empty: not only is it full of sand and wind and stone, but it's also "full of creatures frequently deadly, full of refugees in secretive mountain fastnesses, full of traders and traffickers and travelers and trickery." The writers break down their exploration of the region in two: place and people. As a place, they write in an evocative geography, the Sahara is three million square miles of ergs, regs, and inselbergs; of dunes that hop, that are blood red, that can run for 40 miles and climb 1,000 feet; is home to blind fish and crocodiles, vipers, kraits, and adders, lizards and gazelles, and maybe djinns; boasts mountains that are both sanctuaries and weather-makers; and has water, lots of ancient water buried deep. There's also a fair share of humans and their histories, from Neolithic rock painters through the Garamanites, Berbers and Beni Hilal, the Fulani theocracies, Moor, Chaamba, Tuareg, and Tubu. And there are their towns, cities, and empires—Agadez, Timbuktu, Kano, the kingdoms of Old Ghana, Mali, Kanem-Bornu—and the caravan routes that linked them all to the interior, where salt, gold, and slaves were plucked and transported. De Villiers and Hirtle are careful to preserve the poetry of the desert—both the indigenous representations and the narratives provided by early Arab and European travelers—while at the same time making the place real for those to whom it is mostly a land of pure image: a sandy waste, a barren waterless sea.A thoughtful history of, and popular guide to, the great African desert. (Maps, photos throughout) (Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2002)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
156500
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
De Villiers, Marq
Illustrations
  • illustrations
  • maps
Index
index present
Literary form
non fiction
Nature of contents
bibliography
http://library.link/vocab/relatedWorkOrContributorName
Hirtle, Sheila
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
Natural history
http://bibfra.me/vocab/lite/titleRemainder
a natural history
Label
Sahara : a natural history, Marq de Villiers and Sheila Hirtle
Instantiates
Publication
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references (pages [305]-309) and index
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
433341
Dimensions
24 cm
Extent
326 pages
Isbn
9780802713728
Isbn Type
(alk. paper)
Lccn
2002071391
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
illustrations, maps
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780802713728
  • (Sirsi) ADH-0684
Label
Sahara : a natural history, Marq de Villiers and Sheila Hirtle
Publication
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references (pages [305]-309) and index
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
433341
Dimensions
24 cm
Extent
326 pages
Isbn
9780802713728
Isbn Type
(alk. paper)
Lccn
2002071391
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
illustrations, maps
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780802713728
  • (Sirsi) ADH-0684

Library Locations

    • Central LibraryBorrow it
      710 W. Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX, 78701, US
      30.2713021 -97.7460168
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