#33 -- "Blood on the Tracks" by Miles Bredin
When I was a little kid, Angola was my second-favorite African nation. (Everyone, if you would, leave lists of your top five in the comments.) I'm not sure why. Mom says that when I was young I heard a news story about a fellow falling off a ship off Angola, and was obsessed -- drawing pictures of the scene, etc. (The guy apparently survived.) Could be. It could be that I thought the flag was cool. It could be that Angola was becoming independent at about the time I was becoming aware of the wider world.
Or it could be...
The Adventures of Angola and Chad would be one of the better webcomics around, I think.
Anyway. As these things do, even as things have gone poorly for Angola over the years, I've still kept an eye on the place, and when I find a book I've never heard of that deals with it -- well, I've got to get it.
So, "Blood on the Tracks." It's an early-'90s account of a rail journey from Angola (emerging briefly from a civil war at the time) to Mozambique (emerging more-or-less permanently from a civil war at the time), heading through Zaire/Congo (was about to descend into a civil war that makes other civil wars look weak), Zambia, and Zimbabwe (no civil war lately, but they might as well). As you might imagine, the rails are in kind of rough shape in most places, so the train conceit is rarely kept up (and perhaps should have just been dropped; it's a distraction at times).
The book is pretty good, an account of a place that (weird youthful fascinations aside) I don't know a ton about and probably won't be visiting any time soon. I found the Angola and Mozambique parts the most interesting; it may depend on personal taste. It lags a bit in parts, when it just becomes a string of people encountered saying "well, we're kinda fucked here." Bredin's a good writer, with a dry wit and level gaze, but parts could probably have been chopped.