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Longing for Africa: Journeys Inspired by the Life of Jane Goodall. Part One: Ethiopia

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When twenty-year-old Annie leaves her privileged life in suburban New York to set up a leather clothing factory in Ethiopia, she anticipates glorious savannas, magnificent animals, and colorful tribesmen. Her treasured childhood Africa scrapbook never prepared her for the isolated, barren mountains of northern Ethiopia, relentless poverty, and a ten-year drought and famine When twenty-year-old Annie leaves her privileged life in suburban New York to set up a leather clothing factory in Ethiopia, she anticipates glorious savannas, magnificent animals, and colorful tribesmen. Her treasured childhood Africa scrapbook never prepared her for the isolated, barren mountains of northern Ethiopia, relentless poverty, and a ten-year drought and famine unacknowledged by the world. Housed in a primitive mud hut with no electricity or indoor plumbing, falling in love with a handsome Italian, and forced to flee the military coup that toppled Haile Selassie, will Annie find the Africa of her childhood dreams or will she return home, disillusioned? Perfect for fans of Elizabeth Gilbert, Alexandra Fuller, or Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen). “With a title like this, of course, I was compelled to read this beautifully written book! A fascinating and adventurous life, spiced with danger, and with a love story thrown in. You can’t go wrong.” Jane Goodall, Ph.D., DBE. Founder, the Jane Goodall Institute. UN Messenger of Peace. “This swept me away. Ann Schrank writes like a magical spider, spinning continental webs that ensnare the reader. There’s flavor, fragrance, wit, perseverance, and pinpoint observational awareness. Owning a great story doesn’t guarantee being able to tell it well. It’s a gift with which Ms. Schrank is lavishly endowed.” Richard Bangs. TV host and producer and author of numerous travel books. “Each chapter brims with anticipation and springs alive with poignant description. A girl reveals in a glance the story of her desperate hunger, told in words so intense we can smell Africa, from the spices to the rotting fruit. Teeming with historical overview and literary flourish, Longing for Africa reads like Graham Greene plus romance.” Cathy Luchetti. Author of Women of the West, Children of the West, and Men of the West. “A memorable story of love, loss and Italian cooking, Schrank’s descriptions of the Palmucci’s Sunday lunch table had me dining right there alongside her. Schrank is a skillful storyteller, writing with compassion and fondness for the people who care about Africa and those who have come to call the continent home.” Robyn Keene-Young. Author and wildlife documentary producer.


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When twenty-year-old Annie leaves her privileged life in suburban New York to set up a leather clothing factory in Ethiopia, she anticipates glorious savannas, magnificent animals, and colorful tribesmen. Her treasured childhood Africa scrapbook never prepared her for the isolated, barren mountains of northern Ethiopia, relentless poverty, and a ten-year drought and famine When twenty-year-old Annie leaves her privileged life in suburban New York to set up a leather clothing factory in Ethiopia, she anticipates glorious savannas, magnificent animals, and colorful tribesmen. Her treasured childhood Africa scrapbook never prepared her for the isolated, barren mountains of northern Ethiopia, relentless poverty, and a ten-year drought and famine unacknowledged by the world. Housed in a primitive mud hut with no electricity or indoor plumbing, falling in love with a handsome Italian, and forced to flee the military coup that toppled Haile Selassie, will Annie find the Africa of her childhood dreams or will she return home, disillusioned? Perfect for fans of Elizabeth Gilbert, Alexandra Fuller, or Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen). “With a title like this, of course, I was compelled to read this beautifully written book! A fascinating and adventurous life, spiced with danger, and with a love story thrown in. You can’t go wrong.” Jane Goodall, Ph.D., DBE. Founder, the Jane Goodall Institute. UN Messenger of Peace. “This swept me away. Ann Schrank writes like a magical spider, spinning continental webs that ensnare the reader. There’s flavor, fragrance, wit, perseverance, and pinpoint observational awareness. Owning a great story doesn’t guarantee being able to tell it well. It’s a gift with which Ms. Schrank is lavishly endowed.” Richard Bangs. TV host and producer and author of numerous travel books. “Each chapter brims with anticipation and springs alive with poignant description. A girl reveals in a glance the story of her desperate hunger, told in words so intense we can smell Africa, from the spices to the rotting fruit. Teeming with historical overview and literary flourish, Longing for Africa reads like Graham Greene plus romance.” Cathy Luchetti. Author of Women of the West, Children of the West, and Men of the West. “A memorable story of love, loss and Italian cooking, Schrank’s descriptions of the Palmucci’s Sunday lunch table had me dining right there alongside her. Schrank is a skillful storyteller, writing with compassion and fondness for the people who care about Africa and those who have come to call the continent home.” Robyn Keene-Young. Author and wildlife documentary producer.

30 review for Longing for Africa: Journeys Inspired by the Life of Jane Goodall. Part One: Ethiopia

  1. 4 out of 5

    Julie Watson

    As a young 20-year-old, Annie Schrank goes to Ethiopia, Africa to fulfil a childhood dream. With courage, she meets others to help her set up a leather clothing factory which is the purpose she is in Ethiopia. I am amazed at how someone so young can embark on such a huge task. The meeting of a lovely Italian family brings some security and a love for the family's son. There are many challenges including her living conditions as well as seeing famine and sickness affecting the population. The aut As a young 20-year-old, Annie Schrank goes to Ethiopia, Africa to fulfil a childhood dream. With courage, she meets others to help her set up a leather clothing factory which is the purpose she is in Ethiopia. I am amazed at how someone so young can embark on such a huge task. The meeting of a lovely Italian family brings some security and a love for the family's son. There are many challenges including her living conditions as well as seeing famine and sickness affecting the population. The author involves herself, helping and caring for the people but growing political tension becomes such that along with her adopted family she flees to Kenya. The descriptive writing of Ethiopia and Kenya including the peoples and tribes I found fascinating. You not only read about the author's journey but also the history, the life and times of these countries during the 1970s which makes it a thoroughly enjoyable read.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Valerie Poore

    An enjoyable account of Annie Schrank's first experiences in Africa when she arrived in Ethiopia as an idealistic young woman with her dog, Daisy, and a few belongings. This memoir reads like a novel and includes much of the excitement, romance and adventure one might find in a fictional story. It even describes in quite some detail the author's first experiences of a real relationship and physical love. In fact, her romance with the Italian neighbour who sweeps her off her feet and into his fam An enjoyable account of Annie Schrank's first experiences in Africa when she arrived in Ethiopia as an idealistic young woman with her dog, Daisy, and a few belongings. This memoir reads like a novel and includes much of the excitement, romance and adventure one might find in a fictional story. It even describes in quite some detail the author's first experiences of a real relationship and physical love. In fact, her romance with the Italian neighbour who sweeps her off her feet and into his family forms much of the content of the book. Ethiopia seemed to both shock and intrigue the author, and I felt her raw emotions about the poverty, the famine and the fear of the political situation very clearly. I particularly enjoyed her descriptions of the country and the people and would have liked even more of this. However, it was Kenya that really stole her heart and I have a feeling I will enjoy the second book in the series even more as she arrived there quite late in her African adventure and the indications are that she returned. Altogether, this was an easy to read and exciting story and I would recommend it to anyone who is as fascinated by Africa as I am.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lucinda Clarke

    I pounced on this book as I love anything to do with Africa and I was not disappointed. Ms Schrank’s book took me to Ethiopia a country I’ve never visited and I saw it clearly through her eyes. Well written, full of interesting anecdotes and a lot of excitement I heartily recommend this to any reader who enjoys travel books and memoirs. This book is both.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ronald Mackay

    On occasion, the memoir form has been dismissed as the pursuit of self-indulgence by a writer seeking immortality for a life insufficiently lived. But Annie Schrank’s “Longing for Africa” Part 1: Ethiopa” is not only an exception to this judgement, it is an outstanding exception. If you read only one memoir this year, make it “Longing for Africa”. You will be rewarded. Annie Schrank is a remarkable person and a fine writer. She talks with ease, candour and professional flourish about breathtaking On occasion, the memoir form has been dismissed as the pursuit of self-indulgence by a writer seeking immortality for a life insufficiently lived. But Annie Schrank’s “Longing for Africa” Part 1: Ethiopa” is not only an exception to this judgement, it is an outstanding exception. If you read only one memoir this year, make it “Longing for Africa”. You will be rewarded. Annie Schrank is a remarkable person and a fine writer. She talks with ease, candour and professional flourish about breathtaking and noteworthy incidents -- events that are of significance not only to the 20-year old designer she was when she left New York to open a leather-good factory in Ethiopa, but matters that will resonate with readers for whom personal growth, courage, love, initiative, empathy and the social, economic and political evolution of the developing world are regarded with interest and significance. Oh, and, of course, sex! Although her New York employer had partnered in the leather factory initiative with the governor of a province a days’ drive from the capital, nobody could have foreseen the difficulties that would be encountered or that the country, stable for a thousand years, would suddenly be rocked by a communist insurrection. This absolutely fascinating story told in multiple and well-integrated strands, shows the author to be a well-educated, highly courageous, reflective and emotionally mature adult despite her tender age. She has a staunch character, a great deal to thank her loving parents for, professional skills and is a fine observer of both the human and physical landscape of the provincial Ethiopia that she is plummeted into with virtually no preparation. This is a memoir that deals most competently with a host of both comfortable and distressing matters -- delight, famine, sex, love, innovation in business, delighted exploration, anthropological observation, home-made food, brutality and kindness. But I was left with an overwhelming respect for the integrity of the author. If you read only one memoir this year, make it “Longing for Africa” by Annie Schrank. You will be well and truly rewarded

  5. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Africa an area where time stood still With talk about Jane Goodall I was afraid I wouldn’t like this book. I actually loved it. This is a story of a privileged life in the USA and a young girl dreaming of Africa. Annie had a wonderful family and her father encouraged her to follow her dreams. In the 70’s her boss offered her a chance to go to Africa and set up a leather factory. Her experiences in Africa are wonderful, helping the people around her to learn English and learning so much in the bar Africa an area where time stood still With talk about Jane Goodall I was afraid I wouldn’t like this book. I actually loved it. This is a story of a privileged life in the USA and a young girl dreaming of Africa. Annie had a wonderful family and her father encouraged her to follow her dreams. In the 70’s her boss offered her a chance to go to Africa and set up a leather factory. Her experiences in Africa are wonderful, helping the people around her to learn English and learning so much in the bargain. I am not sure how happy I would be living in a round house with no water/toilet/shower etc but she never complains and makes the best of everything thrown her way. I highly recommend this book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Zana Hart

    Overwhelm at the poverty and dirt in Ethiopia, not speaking much Italian or Amharic, trying unsuccessfully to start a business with two other expats... Annie Schrank had a lot to deal with. Fortunately she had an unusual romance that helped her live there, and once the country dissolved into revolution, helped her get out to Kenya, which she also loved. Because I spent a summer on a Crossroads Africa workcamp in Sierra Leone, in my mind's eye I could see a lot of what she described. Greatly enjo Overwhelm at the poverty and dirt in Ethiopia, not speaking much Italian or Amharic, trying unsuccessfully to start a business with two other expats... Annie Schrank had a lot to deal with. Fortunately she had an unusual romance that helped her live there, and once the country dissolved into revolution, helped her get out to Kenya, which she also loved. Because I spent a summer on a Crossroads Africa workcamp in Sierra Leone, in my mind's eye I could see a lot of what she described. Greatly enjoyed.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Pat Ellis

    I was lucky enough to beta read this book. This memoir tells of the authors journey - a young woman setting-up a business in a foreign land - hardwork, love & history. You are taken along on this particular part of the author’s life effortlessly - well written and I will look forward to the next instalment.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Brandie Lea Slicer

    Inspiring and rich with detail The Author truly has a gift with detail and powerful prose. I thoroughly this book and look forward to the next. She’s also inspiring! She obviously has, courage, initiative, and the drive to go for what she wants and gets it!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kim Laster

    Youth, Adventure and.... ....Africa all included in a wonderfully entertaining story. I also long for East Africa and this memoir helped remove the distance for a time. I look forward to part 2 and have one question, how is it that Daisy the dog has the same name as your mother?

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jill Dobbe

    A travel memoir that takes place in the 70's in Ethiopia and Kenya. It brought back great memories for me and I enjoyed the fresh, open, and honest writing about the author's independent and adventurous lifestyle at that time. A travel memoir that takes place in the 70's in Ethiopia and Kenya. It brought back great memories for me and I enjoyed the fresh, open, and honest writing about the author's independent and adventurous lifestyle at that time.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Farisa Chalk

    Amazing Motivational, inspirational. I could not put this book down. Will recommend this book to others as well. You are a hero!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Martha Graham-Waldon

    I thoroughly enjoyed this safari through Annie’s youth in Africa. It was an exciting adventure and a welcome escape for me to another time and place. Beautifully written, well done!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn Spurgeon

    I loved the clearly written descriptions of the land and people of Africa. Made me want to go there. The love scenes - not so much. Good writing and moving action.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Luisa Davis

    An outstanding memoir of a young girl who sets off to live out her dream of Africa. She finds it daunting and frightening but bravely confronts her fears and grows up fast amidst the surrounding strife, poverty, and political unrest. The memoir successfully portrays Africa, as she discovers it, and her emotions as she meets a young Italian who sweeps her off her feet and opens her to a sexual awareness and what she thinks could be love. But is she too young for marriage?

  15. 5 out of 5

    radhe

  16. 5 out of 5

    Samit

  17. 5 out of 5

    sandy moseley

  18. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Krause

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mark Riley

  20. 5 out of 5

    Pat Bohling Smith

  21. 5 out of 5

    Valerie Rausch

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rosie

  23. 5 out of 5

    Christine Holgers

  24. 4 out of 5

    Moore

  25. 4 out of 5

    Pâül Jøšéph

  26. 4 out of 5

    Irene Lee

  27. 5 out of 5

    Erja

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mhannold

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sabine Baumann

  30. 4 out of 5

    William D Wood

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