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Barnes & Noble "Discover Great New Writers" Seasonal PickIn fact, there was no road at all, just an endless stretch of desert sand called "The Land of Terror" by the nomads who cross it, and described by author Michael Benanav with humor and startling insight in this compelling narrative.Benanav joined what is known as the Caravan of White Gold -- so-called because the salt was once literally worth its weight in gold -- on its mission into the deadly heart of the Sahara to haul back gleaming slabs of solid salt for sale at market. He'd been siezed by the idea after coming across an article about the dying days of the caravan: "It was that feeling known by those of us who don't so much take journeys as are taken by journeys: hearing the call of a particular place for a particular purpose that will not be denied. It was the kind of trip I was born to take."Following his amused guide, Walid, Benanav lived for weeks among the camel drivers as they traveled eighteen hours a day for nearly a thousand miles without a map or landmark in sight, through sandstorms and searing heat. Along the way, he learned how to care for and ride camels, became a medic to injured salt miners, and grappled with the dilemmas of cultural extinction created by the ever-widening impact of globalization. MEN OF SALT is a revelation, introducing an important new voice to the tradition of travel literature.
About the Author
Michael Benanav writes and photographs for the travel section of The New York Times. He has also written for other national newspapers, and was a contributing editor to The Salt Journal. He has also worked as a mountain and desert guide in the American West. He lives in northern New Mexico.
"Even if readers don't find the idea of spending 40 harrowing days with a caravan crossing some of the world's most unforgiving desert as enticing as Benanav does, that doesn't mean they won't quickly devour his thrilling account of that otherworldly journey. This is that rare work that takes readers beyond their imaginations."-- Publishers Weekly
Benanav’s evocative and beautiful writing appeals to all the senses.”--Library Journal
"...vibrant account "--Plain Dealer
a rousing adventure, with enough rancid meat, dust storms, thirsty days, and star-spangled nights to keep the pages turning.”-Natural Histroy
So the next time you fret as an entrepreneur over how to meet payroll or perfect an elevator pitch, just think of your counterparts in the salt trade as they burn to a crisp and munch on sand-sprinkled meals. You’ve got it easy.”--Harvard University Business magazine & website
This is a harrowing and stupendous journey ”-- New York Times Book Review
"Men of Salt is wondrously alive with suspense and imagery. Benanav is a true explorer, a young lone-wolf sharing with readers his search for the mystery of far-off lands where hardly any Americans dare to tread."--Arthur Gelb, author of City Room
"An engaging account of proudly going native, enduring and prevailing on a rugged road."--Kirkus Reviews - October 15, 2005: