Picture of author.

Aidan Hartley

Autor(a) de The Zanzibar Chest

2 Works 484 Membros 9 Reviews

About the Author

Aidan Hartley was born in 1965. He lives in Kenya with his wife and two children

Includes the name: Hartley Aidan

Image credit: James Brabazon

Obras de Aidan Hartley

The Zanzibar Chest (2003) 483 cópias
Wild Life (2006) 1 exemplar(es)


Conhecimento Comum

Data de nascimento
Local de nascimento
Nairobi, Kenya
Locais de residência
Nairobi, Kenya



"In his final days, Aidan Hartley's father said to him W-we never should have come." Those words spoke of a colonial legacy the stretched back through four generations of one British family living in Africa. In The Zanzibar Chest, Hartly as a frontline reporter who covered the atrocities of 1990s Africa, embarks on a journey to unlock the mysteries and secrets of that legacy, and deliver a beautiful, sometimes harrowing memoir of intrepid young men cut down before their prime, of forbidden love and its fatal consequences, and of family and history, and the collision of cultures that defined them both."… (mais)
iwb | outras 8 resenhas | May 18, 2023 |
This was a fantastic book, though I must admit parts of it are very tough to get through- more on that later. It is also really multiple stories combined into one book.
1. The title refers to a chest his father had with diaries and journals detailing his fathers work during the last 30 some years of British colonial rule in Africa and Yemen.
2. The book details the author's quest to travel to Yemen and learn as much as possible and see the location that make up his fathers friend's journal, and to learn how and why he died.
3. The author was a front line reporter who covered what happened in Somalia starting in 1990.
4. The author was front line reporting from the beginning on the genocide that took place in Rwanda.
It is # 3 and 4 that make this book a tough read, and the author himself says what he reported and has written for the book do even begin to convey the horrors he witnessed.
The majority of Africa went from being ruled by Europe and the people being treated like shit, to being ruled by dictators who the people either elected or who took over via a coup, and treated the people like shit. And when those leaders were toppled a new madman dictator took their place, to loot the country and treat the people like shit. This is why there are certainly no easy answers to fixing Africa, if in fact there is a fix.
What I liked about the author's perspective is that it wasn't sermonizing, it wasn't pointing the finger at just one group and saying Them, they are 5he reason the country is a mess. Everyone associated with the countries of Africa are to blame.
By the end of the book it is clear the author is suffering severe PTSD, but as this came out 12 years ago that tag wasn't used to label his condition.
If you want an introduction to the atrocities committed in Somalia and Rwanda, if you want an introduction to the good as well as the bad that the British contributed to Africa and Yemen, if you want a history lesson and an adventure, or if you want to be exposed to the pure evil the human race is capable of, read The Zanzibar Chest.
… (mais)
zmagic69 | outras 8 resenhas | Mar 19, 2017 |
This rating suffers because I don't think Hartley necessarily knew what he was onto at first--great stretches of this read like an "imperial family" memoir by one if its most insufferably smug scions, and much ore entertaining swathes like a foreign correspondent's memoir, which is much more interesting and colourful of course although also even more smug (the way he writes about his sexual "exploits" cannot be borne outside of fiction, and then there is also that awful subtitle), and there is a brief concern that he will go all torture porn on you, but no--i think this book was an attempt to write his way through the experiences that haunt and poison you--in Hartley's case, Rwanda, Somalia--until you know there's something fearsome that has emerged from inside you in response and is turning your dreams into fears. The fact that the only thing that makes that better is time, and then only if you give it air, and let it heal "very slowly, from the inside." And to get there he had to write through the other stuff. And while the combination makes for a much more unusual book, the way we get breezy and breezy and then the hard bulletin is not easy to take. But then it can't have been easy for the people who were there either, and certainly it makes me more capable of toughening up and handling my seventeen-hour cashless stint as a ghost in Addis Ababa airport, where it's so cold right now.… (mais)
MeditationesMartini | outras 8 resenhas | Aug 12, 2012 |



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