Historically rich, remote, and once unimaginably dangerous for travellers, Timbuktu still teases with "Find me if you can." Rick Antonson's encounters with entertaining train companions Ebou and Ussegnou, a mysterious cook called Nema, and intrepid guide Zak all make you want to pack up and leave for Timbuktu tomorrow.
As Antonson travels in Senegal and Mali by train, four-wheel drive, river pinasse, camel, and foot, he tells of fourteenth-century legends, eighteenth-century explorers, and today's endangered existence of Timbuktu's 700,000 ancient manuscripts in what scholars have described as the most important archaeological discovery since the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Think Eric Newby's A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush or Redmond O'Hanlon's Into the Heart of Borneo and you begin to see what kind of writer Rick Antonson is. To Timbuktu for a Haircut combines wry humour with shrewd observation to deliver an armchair experience that will linger in the mind long after the last page is read.