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Nomads of Niger by Carol Beckwith

Nomads of Niger

by Carol Beckwith, Marion van Offelen (Author)

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Carol Beckwithprimary authorall editionscalculated
Offelen, Marion vanAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0810981254, Hardcover)

If one picture is worth a thousand words, then the combination of text and images in Nomads of Niger adds up to the equivalent of a whole encyclopedia. The cover photograph alone tells you this will be a special journey; before you even reach the title page you've already been treated to several stunning portraits of a nomadic people known as the Wodaabe, "who number among the last nomads of Africa, indeed among the last nomads on earth." The landscape the Wodaabe inhabit is a harsh one: "In central Niger, between the great Sahara Desert and the grasslands, lies an immense steppe, scattered with scrawny bushes and skeletal trees. For nine months of the year hardly a drop of rain falls. The days are torrid, the nights sometimes freezing cold. And the harmattan, the hot wind out of the desert, blows up relentlessly, filling the air with a sandy haze." Across this no-man's land the Wodaabe herd their cattle, migrating north in the rainy season and south again in the dry months and leaving no trace of their travels as they go.

Photographer Carol Beckwith spent 18 months traveling with one particular band of Wodaabe, and her photographs concentrate on the family of a herdsman named Mokao and his family. Nomads of Niger is more than just a coffee-table book; it is also an informative and highly entertaining account of the lives, customs, rituals, and taboos of the Wodaabe reminiscent of the best of National Geographic magazine.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:22 -0400)

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