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African Silences is a powerful and sobering account of the cataclysmic depredation of the African landscape and its wildlife. Matthiessen explores the human lives oppressed by bankrupt political regimes and economies. He finds an entire community threatened by ravaged land and wildlife, a catastrophe to which they have only begun to awaken.
"A journey through Equatorial Africa to study the fate of elephants and other wildlife produces a somber chronicle of irrevocable loss, relieved only by noted naturalist and novelist Matthiessen's lucid prose and concluding intimations of some redress.... Matthiessen offers much more: a moving and never-sentimental evocation of loss to both man and beast, infused with sympathy and realism. Vintage Matthiessen."