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September 2011
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By John Andrews

I have read many good books this summer of which these are just a taster.

Chasing the Devil: on foot through Africa’s Killing Fields, by Tim Butcher, is a must-read for those of us who find the tribal wars and famines of that continent incomprehensible. For many years war made Sierra Leone and Liberia too dangerous for outsiders to travel through. Tim Butcher, however, heads deep into this combat zone, encountering the devastation wrought by lawless militia, child soldiers and blood diamonds.

My Name is Red, a novel by Orhan Pamuk, winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize for literature, is a magnificent canvas, set in Istanbul in the late 1590s where the Sultan secretly commissions a great book celebrating his life and empire, to be illuminated by the best artists of the day.

A Mountain of Crumbs, a memoir by Elena Gorokhova, is an exquisitely-wrought, tender memoir of growing up in the Soviet Union in the 1960s. Elena re-creates for the reader the world that both oppressed and inspired her. Through her we learn not only the personal story of Russia, but also the story of one rebellious citizen whose love for foreign languages finally transports her to a new world.
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