A Desert Dies chronicles Michael Asher's life with desert communities in the Sahara over three drought-filled years. While Michael came to appreciate the allure of a nomadic life in isolation, he also saw how the perennial failure of rains devastated the way of life of even the hardiest of residents.
Shortlisted for the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award for 1986-87
A classic travel writing piece previously published by Longman’s and Penguin Books in 1984 and 1986 respectively.
This is a gripping personal account of the devastating drought in East Africa, 198285. During three years of teaching in the Sudan, Asher spent most of his free time traveling in the desert with peoples of the Sahel and the desert fringes. But he wanted to go furtherto experience the daily life and culture of the traditional nomads. In 1982 he resigned his job to live among the Arabic-speaking Kababish who roamed the northern third of Sudan, west of the Nile. Over the next four years he made eight journeys with the tribe, joining a northward migration, a salt caravan, a trek to Egypt (where he was arrested); he searched for a fabled oasis and made a final journey to see a dead land. Despite hardships and the continuous struggle for survival in the inhospitable environment, Asher succumbed to the spell of the desert. He gives us vivid portraits of a dying culture, of a people besieged by forces beyond their control, while his descriptions of desert travel are the equal of classics in this genre. This is first-rate adventure. Photos.