Tayler is perfecting a new genre of travel book: the author puts him or herself in situations of great discomfort, cultural alienation, and physical danger in poor and unstable developing-world regions, then depicts the ensuing misadventures with colorful detail. Here, he explores the southern edge of the Sahara Desert from Chad to Senegal. His mode of transport breaks down every few pages, and he is frequently bribing officials. The many colorful characters he comes across are puzzled that a rich American would visit their country. (Many assume he is a CIA agent.) Other recurring themes include the importance of Islam in the region and the population's general dislike for the current U.S. administration, though the latter does not prevent Tayler from striking up friendships everywhere he goes or from benefiting from acts of generosity. Still, this enjoyably readable book is unlikely to benefit the Sahel's struggling tourism industry.
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