Relying on extensive research and contemporary reporting, Charlie English, former international editor of The Guardian and a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, expertly interweaves two suspenseful stories: the 19th century European obsession with finding the legendary African city of Timbuktu; and in 2012, the desperate effort to preserve Timbuktu's scholarly Islamic heritage from destruction when al-Qaeda jihadists occupied the city for eleven months. English combines scholarship and journalism to create a compulsively readable account of the myth and the reality of Timbuktu and why the place continues to enthrall our imagination.
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