The brutality of human beings is beyond belief What Riley and his crew experienced mirrored that of Holocaust victims, Bataan Death Marchers, American slaves, and other who ve faced absolute cruelty at the hands of our own species The mental strength of these men is extraordinary I was most impressed with Riley s Christian attitude be the best slaves he could be I cannot imagine maintaining that standard amidst their drudgery. A wonderful story of survival in an unbelievable environment, of suffering in body and mind The time period is early 1800 s The story contains many details about life, the people, and the area Very interesting. Listed By Abraham Lincoln, Alongside The Bible And Pilgrim S Progress, As One Of The Books That Most Influenced His Life, Few True Tales Of Adventure And Survival Are As Astonishing As This One Shipwrecked Off The Western Coast Of North Africa In August Of , James Riley And His Crew Had No Idea Of The Trials Awaiting Them As They Gathered Their Beached Belongings They Would Be Captured By A Band Of Nomadic Arabs, Herded Across The Sahara Desert, Beaten, Forced To Witness Astounding Brutalities, Sold Into Slavery, And Starved Riley Watched Most Of His Crew Die One By One, Killed Off By Cruelty Or Caprice, As His Own Weight Dropped FromPounds To A MereAt His Rescue First Published In , This Dramatic Saga Soon Became A National Bestseller With Over A Million Copies Sold Even Today, It Is Rare To Find A Narrative That Illuminates The Degradations Of Slave Existence With Such Brutal Honesty Wow This book is a true story of James Riley, a ship captain and his crew who were shipwrecked in 1815 off the coast of Africa They are slaves to a nomadic Arab group and he tells their story of suffering as they cross the Sahara Desert A good read I loved this book I learned about it from a podcast Futility Closet , and decided to pick it up as part of some research I m doing for a project I was so inspired by Riley s response to such terrible conditions, his willingness to continue to serve his men, trust God, and work hard in the midst of circumstances where I m certain I wouldn t have had close to the same amount of fortitude And while the writing style isn t amazing in of itself, I was fascinated by the different people and conditions he came across, particularly his startling capacity for tracking distances over time, and found his straight forward manner captivating and easy to read in its own right I was also struck by how even handed the book was Though there are definitely some phrases he uses that areunique to his time that wouldn t be acceptable today, he also gives credit where credit is due towards those who help him on his journey to freedom, and the book is remarkably even handed given the circumstances I doubt I could be so kind in my observations were I in his place It was a healthy reminder that both kind and wicked people can exist in any culture and always with cause , that God s hand is in everything, and that anyone can be an oppressor or work to set people free Though it did drag a little in some of itsspecific descriptions of things like architecture or specific tools, etc., for me personally, I also feel like I grew a lot personally in reading this. A pivotal account of the sufferings of an ordinary man as he led his crew through shipwreck and enslavement, and on a redemption trek across the desert He had to endure not only his own humiliation and pain but that of his shipmates, with one being gutted and dragged across the beach Realizing that they had escaped the sea to be enslaved and killed, they floated helplessly again on the sea Eventually, they chose to land and face the dangers again With that choice came slavery and a long protracted starvation I first read Riley s story through the second hand account of Dean King in his book Skeletons on the Zahara a year ago King s account was very true to the original But, I enjoyed hearing the story in Riley s own words immensely I highly recommend both books This especially is an enduring classic, one which Abraham Lincoln considered to be one of the three books that most impacted his life The other two were Pilgrim s Progress and the Bible Riley recounts his story with emotional language, as does King King goes beyond a bit and givesof what came next and how Riley returned to Africa forof his crew after his harrowing experiences Riley includes intriguing information about the geography and culture of the desert as well It is a book for every century and sheds light on the horrors and degradation of human slavery Most interestingly, Riley was blatantly honest about his own mistakes and shares his own struggles with the situations.I read this book for my stop in Western Sahara on my Journey Around the World in 80 books for 2019 I enjoyed the Audible format narrated by Brian Emerson He read with a voice that was both prosaic and consistent with the subject matter I would have thought Riley himself was speaking, had I not known better The sound quality was great, but I heard two passages duplicatedjust small repeated sentences that didn t effect anything My next stop will be Mauritania, though it won t be the book I d planned as it actually has nothing at all to do with Mauritania Oh well Ideas I m still searching. Sufferings in Africa is an autobiographical tale of Captain James Riley, an American naval captain, who was shipwrecked off the coast of North Africa in 1815 In Captain Riley s words, I had only been tutored in the school of adversity, in order that I might be prepared for fulfilling the purpose for which I had been created That purpose was to lead, endure, and encourage a handful of destitute seaman through the cruel and unrelenting Saharan desert.Overall, I enjoyed the book, and especially how Captain Riley continually looked to Providence i.e., God s will and favor in leading him and his men as they encountered what would otherwise appear to be terrible circumstances and people I found it amazing how Captain Riley was constantly the encourager to his men and how he could grasp the Arabic language enough in order to get his tale across to a sympathetic and somewhat greedy Arab trader that agreed to help them I will say the writing is a bit curt and slanted heavily towards recounting the miles traveled, the harsh conditions endured, etc Also, the Kindle edition had numerous OCR errors and typos These things detracted from the story a bit, but I m glad I pressed on I was surprised to learn that this is one of the books available to Abraham Lincoln in his youth and may have helped form his own ideas around the evils of slavery. Having heard that this book was a favorite of Abraham Lincoln s and that it may have influenced his hatred of slavery, I looked forward to reading it The story of Captain James Riley is riveting He accounts both the sufferings of his crew, the hand of God blessing them from time to time, and includes cultural notes Although by modern day standards his reference to negroes and barbarians is objectionable, we have to remember that such was the world he lived in If anything, Captain Riley is very progressive for his time He speaks with respect and awe of several good Muslim people who helped him and discusses several of their cultural s which are worthy of emulation That an 18th century Anglo European could foster such tolerance even in the middle of his enslavement by predominantly Muslim people is extraordinary. One thing I learned from this book is that Abraham Lincoln listed Sufferings in Africa, as one of the three most influential works that shaped his political ideology, particularly his views on slavery The others were the Bible and The Pilgrim s Progress. Easy reading, with historical insights from one of history s participants Very interesting and eye opening While it tells firsthand of the author s experience of being a slave, it also chronicles the pervasive slave culture in Africa at the time, which included all races as slaves The systematized slave trade routes, and enslavement of blacks by other blacks, are documented by the stories of Riley s former Arab master.
Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the Sufferings in Africa: The Incredible True Story of a Shipwreck, Enslavement, and Survival on the Sahara book, this is one of the most wanted James Riley author readers around the world.
- 336 pages
- Sufferings in Africa: The Incredible True Story of a Shipwreck, Enslavement, and Survival on the Sahara
- James Riley
- 10 June 2017 James Riley