Skeletons on the Sahara by Dean King

In October we read Skeletons on the Sahara by Dean King. It is a memoir of Connecticut captain James Riley, originally published in 1817, telling the story of the wreck of the merchant brig Commerce on the west coast of Africa. His tale of suffering at sea and of enslavement, death and redemption on the Sahara was stunningly detailed and nuanced.

“An absorbing account of misfortune and fortitude, “Skeletons” is the story of Captain James Riley and his crew, whose merchant ship was wrecked off the northwest coast of Africa in 1815. They survived captivity at the hands of Arab slave traders and a trek across the Sahara.”
New York Times Book Review

The book group as a whole were mix about whether they liked it or not. It had many aspects that were really fascinating such as the peoples ability to continue living in such a dramatic landscape and such diverse conditions and still remaining a team. But there were many moments that were just to barbaric or horrifying such as having to drink camel urine and the brutal conditions of slavery.

A facinating read, even though it was not always enjoyable !



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