Book review: the nobility of wilderness
27th Mar 2013
Tom Sheppard, MBE could well be the only man on the planet that knows the Algerian Sahara like no other desert traveler.
The British explorer has traveled across concealed corners of the Algerian Sahara with such boyish enthusiasm – he decided to pen a book entitled \"The Nobility of Wilderness\" - detailing the story of his wide-ranging solo travels into a country bigger than Western Europe.
A deeply personal encounter, Sheppard has appreciated the beauty, delicacy and the overwhelming beauty of the world around us since his days in Rajasthan, when he frequently gasped at the deserts of Rajasthan out of the train window, whilst heading for Mumbai.
A true joy to read, yet the photography in this publications is truly sublime. Feel free to marvel at the enigmatic images on offer – the daily miracles relating to critical wind speed, and grain sizes which result in awe inspiring sand sculptures look so simple yet so exquisite at the same time.
And how about the late afternoon light when a third dimension presents itself as perfection of detail after the harsh, flat, unrelenting glare of a midday sun overhead.
The major attraction here is the fact that Sheppard is not one to follow the crowd. An individual in every sense of the word – he is freed from the dread of the airport, bureaucracy, crowds and additional peripheries – travel for Tom Sheppard is when the pressure is lifted and you are free to take your time; free from the hustling crowds and most notably embrace the genuine hospitality and kindness of people such as El Golea, and young Younes, amongst others whom he met in his desert adventures, this is a tale about a man who has kicked materialism into touch and fell for the sultry dawn and purple sky – whilst sitting back and witnessing the Eid new moon, a lunar event that includes a clear view of the shaded side - absorbing any physical stress without leaving any trace (except, perhaps the occasional bout of dehydration).
So what does it take to drive around a country bigger than western Europe?
A great deal of tenacity, passion and intestinal fortitude…but don’t just take our word for it, pick up a copy and prepare to be fascinated by the captivating images and a very personal story, detailing one man’s passion with all things automotive, adventure and every day miracles – away from the hustle and bustle of every day life.
So if you want to know about what it takes to drive around Algerian towns such as Ghardia, El Gloea, the menacing mass of the Erg Mehedjebat dunes and nature’s very finest in the Tamanrasset vicinity – pick up a copy of the book today – you will be enthralled.
In true Afzal Kahn fashion, Tom\'s vehicle was adorned with a private registration: THS 8. It\'s just a shame Tom did not call Afzal and borrow the 4 HRH number plate.
Kahn News gives this book a score of: 9/10.
To order a copy of the book click here