No Mercy: A Journey Into the Heart of the Congo O'Hanlon, Redmond Vintage; Vintage Departures ed edition (June 30, 1998)

O’Hanlon is able to weave nature, history, politics, culture, and religion into an amazing picture of the heart of Africa, what to many of us is a very alien life in a very alien world: The tree in the middle of the road wasn’t cut down because there are still spirits in it. The Christian convert wonders how God can be all loving when there are eleven thousand diseases of the skin. The Frenchman who never gets sick warns the elephant researcher that some of the natives are turning into elephants at night and leaving tracks everywhere (which might throw off the elephant population estimates). Much like Red Strangers by Elspeth Huxley, this books allows a multidimensional view of the reasons behind beliefs, thoughts, and actions that seem nonsensical to our world view. It is a beautiful work.

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