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A Rock and a Hard Place: An American Geologist's Adventures in Africa

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Deadly Snakes. Heatstroke. Scorpions. These are just a few of the obstacles that George Zelt encounters as a graduate student in apartheid-era South Africa. In A Rock and a Hard Place, readers will follow George as he explores this contradictory, beautiful country during a time of growth and oppression. With tales of finding refuge in a desert sandstorm, being stalked by a Deadly Snakes. Heatstroke. Scorpions. These are just a few of the obstacles that George Zelt encounters as a graduate student in apartheid-era South Africa. In A Rock and a Hard Place, readers will follow George as he explores this contradictory, beautiful country during a time of growth and oppression. With tales of finding refuge in a desert sandstorm, being stalked by a leopard, and narrowly escaping a herd of rampaging Cape buffalo, George’s story will leave readers breathless—their hearts racing, with the imagined grit of sand in their teeth!  Nature is not the only obstacle George encounters. When he makes a discovery that may disprove an established geologic theory, his graduate advisor (and developer of said theory) does everything in his power to prevent George from going public. George has to fight not only against nature but also the politics of university life, all while navigating the complexities of South African culture. ​Who would have thought studying rocks could be so thrilling?


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Deadly Snakes. Heatstroke. Scorpions. These are just a few of the obstacles that George Zelt encounters as a graduate student in apartheid-era South Africa. In A Rock and a Hard Place, readers will follow George as he explores this contradictory, beautiful country during a time of growth and oppression. With tales of finding refuge in a desert sandstorm, being stalked by a Deadly Snakes. Heatstroke. Scorpions. These are just a few of the obstacles that George Zelt encounters as a graduate student in apartheid-era South Africa. In A Rock and a Hard Place, readers will follow George as he explores this contradictory, beautiful country during a time of growth and oppression. With tales of finding refuge in a desert sandstorm, being stalked by a leopard, and narrowly escaping a herd of rampaging Cape buffalo, George’s story will leave readers breathless—their hearts racing, with the imagined grit of sand in their teeth!  Nature is not the only obstacle George encounters. When he makes a discovery that may disprove an established geologic theory, his graduate advisor (and developer of said theory) does everything in his power to prevent George from going public. George has to fight not only against nature but also the politics of university life, all while navigating the complexities of South African culture. ​Who would have thought studying rocks could be so thrilling?

30 review for A Rock and a Hard Place: An American Geologist's Adventures in Africa

  1. 4 out of 5

    Carla (Carla's Book Bits)

    Oh no no. The first chapter started with Mr. Zelt and his friend illegally mining rocks in modern-day Namibia. This is 100% me, and please call me overly sensitive. But as corrupt as the African government may be, it rubs me the wrong way to see a group of white men just doing whatever they want regardless of the law. Cannot finish. A thank you to NetGalley for providing me a copy in exchange for a review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Glen

    I won this book in a goodreads drawing. An American travels to South Africa to study geology and finds himself with very little supervision and a lot of free time, so he has various adventures. Some interesting information about both Africa, and geology.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Celia Buell

    Free in exchange for an honest review, via Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you to Greenleaf Book Group for listing. For a geology memoir, this was actually really interesting. I have to say, though, I thought the conflict would take place and involve something that has a lot more to do with apartheid and the political and social climate in South Africa in the 70's. As it was, the conflict surprised me, especially as George Zelt moves forward in his actions against rival geologist Joost. One thing that Free in exchange for an honest review, via Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you to Greenleaf Book Group for listing. For a geology memoir, this was actually really interesting. I have to say, though, I thought the conflict would take place and involve something that has a lot more to do with apartheid and the political and social climate in South Africa in the 70's. As it was, the conflict surprised me, especially as George Zelt moves forward in his actions against rival geologist Joost. One thing that I didn't like was Zelt's attitude to the native Africans. Although in theory Zelt was against apartheid, his writing shows he made some clear choices about who to associate with while trying to discover the truth about his geological studies. While I feel the apartheid climate may have limited his relationships somewhat, I still feel that overall Zelt had at least some semblance of white superiority going on, even if he wasn't outright racist towards the black people of South Africa. I feel like that could have been handled a lot better. At the very least, I wish he had spoken more to his interactions in his writing. I know this is not what the memoir is about, but I still wish he had spoken more to the social piece of his story. One thing I liked a lot was the animals and the descriptions of the various steps they took to avoid them. These parts reminded me of Peter Allison's How to Walk a Puma: And Other Things I Learned While Stumbling through South America, especially where Patrick was extremely knowledgable about the animals. Overall, this wasn't my favorite cultural exploration I've read this year, but it was pretty good, and I'd be interested to know if Zelt has plans to publish any more of his field notes from this period in history.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Rodney Harvill

    For the record, I received this book as part of a Goodreads giveaway. For a simple title, there is quite a bit of meaning. This book chronicles George Zelt’s adventures in South Africa as a PhD Geology student who had to make months-long field expeditions into a sparsely populated region of Namaqualand, a place with many dangers such as its fauna and harsh climate, a place where he had to rely on himself to survive while studying its geology and collecting samples of Precambrian strata. A previou For the record, I received this book as part of a Goodreads giveaway. For a simple title, there is quite a bit of meaning. This book chronicles George Zelt’s adventures in South Africa as a PhD Geology student who had to make months-long field expeditions into a sparsely populated region of Namaqualand, a place with many dangers such as its fauna and harsh climate, a place where he had to rely on himself to survive while studying its geology and collecting samples of Precambrian strata. A previous PhD candidate at Cape Town University, an Afrikaner named Joost, had come to a certain conclusion about the geologic history of that same region and successfully defended it in his dissertation. Mr. Zelt’s dissertation assignment had been to build on Joost’s theories, further fleshing them out, but what he was finding out in the field was somewhat different from Joost’s conclusions, suggesting that Joost had been wrong. This presented a problem because Joost was now on faculty at Cape Town University and became the geology department head while Zelt was a PhD candidate. When Zelt refused to fudge his findings to align with Joost’s earlier conclusions, his funding was taken away, and he was forced to withdraw from Cape Town University. Fortunately for him, he was subsequently admitted to the University of Natal, where he completed his dissertation work, successfully defended his dissertation that contradicted Joost and earned his PhD, making him Dr. Zelt. What were the strengths of the book? I really enjoyed the descriptions of Zelt’s field work as well as his vibrant descriptions of the rugged terrain. Several times brushes with local fauna (a stalking leopard, a herd of Cape Buffalo, various venomous snakes) placed him at risk of serious injury or even a rendezvous with death, and he brought these encounters to life for the reader. After his withdrawal from Cape Town University, Zelt and two friends made an overland excursion into Rhodesia to look for gold. His friends returned to South Africa and he flew to Kenya, where he had a few more adventures prior to flying home in the Unites States (Because of his withdrawal from Cape Town University, Zelt’s student visa expired. He was unable to return to South Africa until he was admitted to the University of Natal.). A substantial portion of the book is dedicated to these exploits, many of which featured danger and little to no advanced planning. Because this part of the book doesn’t materially advance the storyline, it might be considered a weakness. However, it was fun to read, in part because it brought back memories of some of the crazy things I did while I was in the Navy in my early 20’s, like locating and exploring the acropolis of Rhodes by myself or exploring the tunnels under the medieval walls of Rhodes with two friends, with only one flashlight to light the way. So, who am I to judge? One other aspect of the book that I appreciated might also be construed as a weakness by some. Zelt was in South Africa during the 70s, a time in which the black population of South Africa was oppressed by apartheid. That he was disturbed by this is well documented in the book, but it is not the only form of oppression he noticed. For example, he states that Robert Mugabe, dictator of Zimbabwe from about 1980 to 2017, “would demonstrate that no one can kill a black man faster than another black man.” For this African, black lives obviously did not matter. Furthermore, one of his friends in Cape Town was Portuguese but had grown up in Mozambique, whose Marxist government seized her father’s chain of stores. So, he rightly pointed out three forms of ethnic oppression that he observed in Africa: • Whites oppressing blacks • Blacks oppressing blacks • Blacks oppressing whites No race had a monopoly on being an oppressor, and no race had a monopoly on being oppressed. This may not be a popular view today, but I was glad to see someone with the courage to bring it up, even if obliquely. One aspect of the book I did not like was the accounts of sexual encounters. Because I consider his encounter with a naked Italian woman on a beach in Mombassa, Kenya to be quite bizarre, I can understand why he would remember it, but as a Christian, I am not interested other people’s sexual exploits. On the whole I enjoyed the book and respect Dr. Zelt’s refusal to give up when facing an apparently intractable obstacle to his completing his PhD in geology.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Marvin Fender

    I received this Kindle ebook from the Goodreads Giveaway program. The book is a memoir of a young mans African educational adventure in South Africa during the 1970's. "A Rock and a Hard Place" is an average biography with a over abundance of adjectives and metaphors over dramatized accounts with so little scientific information it leaves you totally lost when Mr Zelt refers to his field of study. I found the story interesting and for the most part Mr Zelts' story is inspiring and somewhat enter I received this Kindle ebook from the Goodreads Giveaway program. The book is a memoir of a young mans African educational adventure in South Africa during the 1970's. "A Rock and a Hard Place" is an average biography with a over abundance of adjectives and metaphors over dramatized accounts with so little scientific information it leaves you totally lost when Mr Zelt refers to his field of study. I found the story interesting and for the most part Mr Zelts' story is inspiring and somewhat entertaining. I think this book suffers because of its brevity and assumptions made about the readers' grasp of the geologic science material. A good try and readable but leaves me disappointed by what is lacking.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Terry

    Not quite what I was expecting, but I enjoyed the chance to read Mr. Zelt's story. It's quite a wild ride. I enjoyed the hunt for gems, the travelogue and adventure side of the story, along with the chance to learn a bit more about Africa. Having grown up in the 1970's I was aware of the oppression of apartheid and how awful it was for the South African people. (In my humble opinion, the author made it clear how disturbing it was to him, along with other often overlooked forms of ethnic oppressio Not quite what I was expecting, but I enjoyed the chance to read Mr. Zelt's story. It's quite a wild ride. I enjoyed the hunt for gems, the travelogue and adventure side of the story, along with the chance to learn a bit more about Africa. Having grown up in the 1970's I was aware of the oppression of apartheid and how awful it was for the South African people. (In my humble opinion, the author made it clear how disturbing it was to him, along with other often overlooked forms of ethnic oppression which were happening). I didn't care much for reading about his sexual adventures, but he was a young person at the time this book takes place. (I skipped these parts whenever possible. I'm not a complete prude, but the sexual accounts definitely weren't necessary to the story).

  7. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    This is an adventurous nonfiction book that kept me truly interested. I suffered through heat and sandstorms, critters and characters, and more in my climate controlled home. But the descriptive writing made it a real experience.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Zeb Kantrowitz

    George Zelt spent most of his life before he turned thirty searching for specific rocks in the Kalahari Desert/Namibia and Botswana. He was trying to prove that the rocks in this area were not what prior books on the area were from. It's way too technical for me to try and explain it, but the man whose he is trying to prove wrong is a professor at the University where he studying to get his PhD. The early part of the book is really a travelogue by a 1980s vagabond who visits Rhodesia, South-West George Zelt spent most of his life before he turned thirty searching for specific rocks in the Kalahari Desert/Namibia and Botswana. He was trying to prove that the rocks in this area were not what prior books on the area were from. It's way too technical for me to try and explain it, but the man whose he is trying to prove wrong is a professor at the University where he studying to get his PhD. The early part of the book is really a travelogue by a 1980s vagabond who visits Rhodesia, South-West Africa and Apartheid South Africa (SA). This part of the book is really a study in the sociology of the end of the British Empire and the Colonies they created in Southern Africa under the tutelage of Cecil Rhodes. He helps to show that except in the big cities and the areas settled by the Boers, people didn't make much of the Apartheid laws. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the later parts of the book are Zelt's explanation as to all he is doing and what a good guy and pleasant person he is and is especially happy to be doing things that would get him in trouble with the government if they knew. But considering he spends most of his time out in some water-less desert, who would have cared. Once he leaves SA, he makes sure that everyone he meets or hangs out with, how 'cool' he was. It gets boring real fast. A good writer should know when to stop, George Zelt didn't learn this or did his editor.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Deirdre

    My friend Barbara and I have had somewhat similar experiences, but leaving out the snakes and rebels, thank you very much. Oh, and no nearsighted rhinos or hungry leopards. We've been opal mining in the Mojave Desert, getting stuck in sand in Last Chance Canyon, also in the Mojave. We hunted for tourmaline in the tailing of the Empress Mine near Fallbrook, CA, visited the Borax Mine in Boron, CA where we were able to pick up fragile calcite and interesting, fibrous ulexite specimens. While there My friend Barbara and I have had somewhat similar experiences, but leaving out the snakes and rebels, thank you very much. Oh, and no nearsighted rhinos or hungry leopards. We've been opal mining in the Mojave Desert, getting stuck in sand in Last Chance Canyon, also in the Mojave. We hunted for tourmaline in the tailing of the Empress Mine near Fallbrook, CA, visited the Borax Mine in Boron, CA where we were able to pick up fragile calcite and interesting, fibrous ulexite specimens. While there, we were allowed to see where the the fascinating and talented head of the chemistry lab, Walking George, lived. So, yeah, I had a feeling I was going to enjoy this book, and enjoy it I did. Thank you Goodreads and whoever else for gifting me a Kindle copy of this book. And thank you, George Zelt, for telling your many adventures and introductions to some very interesting people.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Emmanuelle Works

    This one bothers me. It's written like a novel but is supposed to be a memoir. The author writes himself like a hero. He sounds like a typical privileged entitled arrogant white man, not actively racist but he's clearly comfortable among the colonialists and the system they created, and the fact that they, he, still benefit from it, in fact sounding downright like a jilted supremacist when describing how the Africans managed to kick out them out in some of the neighboring countries. His criticis This one bothers me. It's written like a novel but is supposed to be a memoir. The author writes himself like a hero. He sounds like a typical privileged entitled arrogant white man, not actively racist but he's clearly comfortable among the colonialists and the system they created, and the fact that they, he, still benefit from it, in fact sounding downright like a jilted supremacist when describing how the Africans managed to kick out them out in some of the neighboring countries. His criticism of Apartheid is barely skin-deep. Yet when he describes Africa and talks about his work as a geologist, he's finally genuine, passionate and fascinating.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Emilee (emileereadsbooks)

    Thank you to Netgalley and Green Leaf Book Group for a free digital copy. It took me months to slowly make my way through this book. A couple of times I almost DNFed it, but I am sometimes a completionist and once I got about halfway into it I was interested in seeing where the story went. To be honest it was a little anticlimactic. We got so much (boring) detail about his research in the first part of the book and then it all got concluded rather quickly at the end after deviating to his Africa Thank you to Netgalley and Green Leaf Book Group for a free digital copy. It took me months to slowly make my way through this book. A couple of times I almost DNFed it, but I am sometimes a completionist and once I got about halfway into it I was interested in seeing where the story went. To be honest it was a little anticlimactic. We got so much (boring) detail about his research in the first part of the book and then it all got concluded rather quickly at the end after deviating to his African adventures. I really enjoyed the picturesque descriptions of the African wilds and his adventures and that’s what kept me coming back to this book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Imagine your old kind of kooky uncle promises to sit down and tell you about when he lived in Africa and had a hotly contested dissertation project about rocks. That's this memoir. I enjoyed it quite a bit. I do think potential readers need to have an appreciation for both the tone it's told in (kooky older uncle whose youth was in the 1970s), as well as for at least one of the following: rocks, the inanity that is academic politics, southern African countries in the 1970s. *I received a free cop Imagine your old kind of kooky uncle promises to sit down and tell you about when he lived in Africa and had a hotly contested dissertation project about rocks. That's this memoir. I enjoyed it quite a bit. I do think potential readers need to have an appreciation for both the tone it's told in (kooky older uncle whose youth was in the 1970s), as well as for at least one of the following: rocks, the inanity that is academic politics, southern African countries in the 1970s. *I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.*

  13. 4 out of 5

    Babajaga

    I won a Kindle version of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. On the whole, I enjoyed it. It was interesting to read the author’s description of his stay in South Africa during his university studies in the 70’s, about his encounters with the locals as he travelled this part of the world, his adventures in the wilderness. There are many historical, cultural, botanical and zoological references which the author explains. Those were fun to read. But some of the stories that he depicts felt disjoint I won a Kindle version of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. On the whole, I enjoyed it. It was interesting to read the author’s description of his stay in South Africa during his university studies in the 70’s, about his encounters with the locals as he travelled this part of the world, his adventures in the wilderness. There are many historical, cultural, botanical and zoological references which the author explains. Those were fun to read. But some of the stories that he depicts felt disjointed. I didn’t really see the point why they had been included.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Cristie Underwood

    The author wrote a great account of the personal journey they embarked on. The honest and detailed writing made it easy for the reader to feel invested in their journey.

  15. 5 out of 5

    RACHEL

    My copy was a gift through Goodreads First Reads.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Melinda M

    A Rock and a Hard Place: An American Geologist's Adventures in Africa by George Zelt writes an interesting story that includes adventure and the culture of the time in South Africa. A Rock and a Hard Place: An American Geologist's Adventures in Africa by George Zelt writes an interesting story that includes adventure and the culture of the time in South Africa.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    I won the Kindle version of this book on a Goodreads Giveaway. Being a virtual and in-the-flesh wanderer, I’m always up for a travel-related memoir. In true scientist fashion, the author tells the interesting story of his time in Africa during the 1970s very neutrally and objectively. Emotions make only occasional and brief appearances, which kept me floating on the surface from beginning to end. While I enjoyed this well written book, it’s not likely to be one I’ll remember long enough to recom I won the Kindle version of this book on a Goodreads Giveaway. Being a virtual and in-the-flesh wanderer, I’m always up for a travel-related memoir. In true scientist fashion, the author tells the interesting story of his time in Africa during the 1970s very neutrally and objectively. Emotions make only occasional and brief appearances, which kept me floating on the surface from beginning to end. While I enjoyed this well written book, it’s not likely to be one I’ll remember long enough to recommend...unless I happen to get into a conversation with someone who is passionately interested in geology.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sheri Fresonke Harper

    Good story telling with some amount of geology, enough to interest amateurs and explain basic concepts. Much of the focus was on his experience working on his PhD dissertation and related travel. It's an enjoyable read for armchair travelers with scary encounters with dangerous creatures as well as interesting local species. Good story telling with some amount of geology, enough to interest amateurs and explain basic concepts. Much of the focus was on his experience working on his PhD dissertation and related travel. It's an enjoyable read for armchair travelers with scary encounters with dangerous creatures as well as interesting local species.

  19. 5 out of 5

    John

    Normally this is a book I would love to read. But I just couldn't get into it. I finally gave up after 40 pages. I thought it was simplistic and that he was creating history for some of the places he wrote about. Normally this is a book I would love to read. But I just couldn't get into it. I finally gave up after 40 pages. I thought it was simplistic and that he was creating history for some of the places he wrote about.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jk

    I received a free Kindle copy of this book via the Goodreads Giveaways program and would like to thank anyone who was involved in making that happen. I really enjoyed the opportunity to learn about South Africa in the 1970's that this book provided. The details about it's people, culture, lands and wildlife were fascinating and I was particularly enthralled by the encounters with wildlife that were depicted. I loved the pictures at the end that really brought everything to life as well. I feel li I received a free Kindle copy of this book via the Goodreads Giveaways program and would like to thank anyone who was involved in making that happen. I really enjoyed the opportunity to learn about South Africa in the 1970's that this book provided. The details about it's people, culture, lands and wildlife were fascinating and I was particularly enthralled by the encounters with wildlife that were depicted. I loved the pictures at the end that really brought everything to life as well. I feel like I also learned a little about Geology, although those sections tended to drag a bit for me. The interludes describing the author's sexual encounters with various women felt a little out of place and in my opinion would have been better left out of this story. Overall, this was a fun adventure that I would recommend to anyone with an interest in apartheid South Africa or Geology.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Blaire Hill

    As a biology person, I wasn't sure how I would like a book focused on geology. Rocks have never interested me much. After reading the book, I still don't find rocks interesting, but I do find George interesting. I am so glad that the book is more of an autobiography than a reference book on geology. I honestly wouldn't have finished reading the thing if it was all about rocks. But reading about how George completed his PhD in the face of natural and social adversity was definitely worth hearing As a biology person, I wasn't sure how I would like a book focused on geology. Rocks have never interested me much. After reading the book, I still don't find rocks interesting, but I do find George interesting. I am so glad that the book is more of an autobiography than a reference book on geology. I honestly wouldn't have finished reading the thing if it was all about rocks. But reading about how George completed his PhD in the face of natural and social adversity was definitely worth hearing about. Thanks for making geology tolerable! 😂

  22. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    Note: I received this book as part of GoodReads' First Reads program A Rock and a Hard Place details the life of a young American graduate student in Africa as he pursues his doctorate. His studies indicate that the head of the department at the university he's attending was wrong in his PhD dissertion, and he eventually has to attend another university in another part of Africa to finish his degree. Along the way he details many of the adventures he had in the field, hunting for diamonds and gol Note: I received this book as part of GoodReads' First Reads program A Rock and a Hard Place details the life of a young American graduate student in Africa as he pursues his doctorate. His studies indicate that the head of the department at the university he's attending was wrong in his PhD dissertion, and he eventually has to attend another university in another part of Africa to finish his degree. Along the way he details many of the adventures he had in the field, hunting for diamonds and gold, meeting all kinds of interesting people and close encounters with dangerous animals. This is a fascinating book, and I would recommend it highly.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Reading Reindeer 2021 On Proxima Centauri

    Delightfully adventurous, reading George Zelt's nonfiction narrative of his decades in geology and petrology is akin to enjoying the wild adventures of his heroes, such as Mark Twain, Jules Verne, and Jack London. Mr. Zelt is well blessed with both the "stories to tell" and the talent and wit to express them well for the edification of readers, many of whom are "armchair travellers" enjoying vicariously. Delightfully adventurous, reading George Zelt's nonfiction narrative of his decades in geology and petrology is akin to enjoying the wild adventures of his heroes, such as Mark Twain, Jules Verne, and Jack London. Mr. Zelt is well blessed with both the "stories to tell" and the talent and wit to express them well for the edification of readers, many of whom are "armchair travellers" enjoying vicariously.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I was really excited when I won this one on Goodreads. Unfortunately the author ticked me off when in the first two pages he recalls when he and a friend sheltered in a cave during a sandstorm containing some tribal paintings and brags about leaving trash and human waste for future visitors to discover. A paragraph later they are digging up the body of a Bushman and looting his meager belongings in search of diamonds. Appalling behavior, especially from a scientist.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Shaun

    I received a copy of this book for free through a Goodreads First Reads Giveaway. Enjoyed reading about Zelt's travels and studies throughout southern Africa. It's mainly a travelogue type book, with some memoir tidbits mixed in. There isn't much depth here, but it really isn't meant to have depth, as it's more storytelling. The leopard story was worth the read by itself. Overall, if you like adventure, geology, travel or storytelling type books, give it a try. I received a copy of this book for free through a Goodreads First Reads Giveaway. Enjoyed reading about Zelt's travels and studies throughout southern Africa. It's mainly a travelogue type book, with some memoir tidbits mixed in. There isn't much depth here, but it really isn't meant to have depth, as it's more storytelling. The leopard story was worth the read by itself. Overall, if you like adventure, geology, travel or storytelling type books, give it a try.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Crystal

    This book started out exciting and then fell off. There was a lot of information to learn and stories to hear, but there was some drivel to get through to get to the good parts. The author went out of his way to put in stories that had no reason for being in this book. Apparently he is really proud of his sexual conquests and felt that he needs to tell everyone. Those stories did not assist the book or help to move the story along.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Karen Stromberg

    I won this through Goodreads. I will admit that when I entered the giveaway that I didn't have high expectations. I thought it would be on the dry side but thought I would give it a try. I'm really glad I did. I found that it was almost a page-turner and wanted to know what happened next! It was fascinating to read. I won this through Goodreads. I will admit that when I entered the giveaway that I didn't have high expectations. I thought it would be on the dry side but thought I would give it a try. I'm really glad I did. I found that it was almost a page-turner and wanted to know what happened next! It was fascinating to read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kayla Tornello

    This book shows how the author traveled around Africa while he was studying geology in college. He gives you a glimpse of how brutal that environment is. He also manages to make the study of rocks somewhat interesting. The author also met some very interesting people in his journeys. I received this book as a Goodreads giveaway. Yay!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Not the best writing style but a lot of interesting and entertaining anecdotes from the author's time in Africa in the 1970s. The information on different types of rocks and other geological terms kind of made my eyes glaze over and I mostly skipped over those sections. Not the best writing style but a lot of interesting and entertaining anecdotes from the author's time in Africa in the 1970s. The information on different types of rocks and other geological terms kind of made my eyes glaze over and I mostly skipped over those sections.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Christi Massey

    Absolutely LOVED this book. I felt like I was right along with the author in his experiences. So atmospheric and so many wonderful anecdotes and pieces of history that will remain with me for a long time. An absolute GEM!

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