One man's journey in the footsteps of a great explorer into the heart of Africa.As a young man, Warwick Cairns met the then elderly explorer Wilfred Thesiger and the two men struck up an unlikely friendship. Invited to visit him at his African home, Cairns decides to make a bit of an adventure of it and do some of the journey on foot.When he himself was a young man, Thesiger led an expedition to explore the course of the Awash river in Ethiopia. Every westerner that had gone before him had been killed by local tribesmen. Needless to say, he survived.Alternating chapters chart Warwick's journey with that of Thesiger creating a captivating dual narrative that is part travel book, part biography, part autobiography, part history with fair doses of philosophy and humour thrown in for good measure.In Praise of Savagery is a highly original book that defies classification but is always effortlessly readable.
Warwick Cairns was born in Dagenham in 1962. He studied English and Psychology at Keele, and then a few years later took a postgraduate degree in English Literature at Yale under the brilliant but eccentric Professor Harold Bloom. He has worked shifting boxes in a warehouse, and lending money to people in a bank, before writing letters to the people asking why they weren't paying the money back, and why they weren't returning his phone calls. He also spent time drilling wells on a Sioux reservation in South Dakota and travelling in Africa with the explorer Wilfred Thesiger - the subject of his third book -before settling on a career in advertising.