OVERRIDE

In the Land of Magic Soldiers

A Story of White and Black in West Africa

Daniel Bergner

Picador

An Los Angeles Times Best Book 2003

In Sierra Leone, rampaging soldiers have made a custom of hacking off the hands of their victims, then letting them live as the ultimate emblem of terror. The country is so desperate that, forty years after independence, its people long to be recolonized.

In this book, the acclaimed author of novelist and journalist follows a set of Western would-be saviors and a set of Sierra Leoneans, who take us into a land of beauty, horror, resilience and redemption. From mercenaries to missionaries, child soldiers to parent fugitives, Bergner tells this racially charged story with sensitivity and precision, creating an unforgettable work of literary reportage.

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In the Land of Magic Soldiers
ONEThere is a place where the bend in a path--just that, a slight curve in a narrow strip of mud--can produce an ache, a longing, a bending of the heart. Within the jungle on either side stand the cotton trees. Twelve stories high, their monstrous trunks fan out toward the earth in giant buttresses, forming the walls of strange rooms. To step inside those chambers, to have the massive growths enclose you, to lean with your feet on the spongy ground and your back to the cool damp bark, with almost all the sounds of the world absorbed by the misty air and the immensity
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REVIEWS

Praise for In the Land of Magic Soldiers

"[Bergner] has undertaken a huge, ghastly task, and his book is so beautifully written that you will not pull away from it...Bergner describes what is magical and what is malign in Africa as well as anyone ever has." --The Los Angeles Times

"An eloquent witness...[Bergner has] a journalist's eye for the telling moment." --The New Yorker

"The strength of [Bergner's] spare and evocative account is his gallery of characters, whose stories weave through the book and at times intersect with one another...A reminder of the potential [for killing and healing] that we all carry within us." --Adam Hochschild, The New York Times Book Review

"Astonishing, unsettling...A remarkable book, full of piercing images and brilliantly observed details."--Chicago Tribune

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Daniel Bergner

  • The author of Moments of Favor and God of the Rodeo: The Quest for Rendempiton in Louisiana's Angola Prison, Daniel Bergner has written for Harper's, Talk, and The New York Times Magazine. He lives with his family in New York City.
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In the Land of Magic Soldiers

A Story of White and Black in West Africa

Daniel Bergner

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Picador

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