Morocco RPCV Jeffrey Tayler

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RPCV Jeffrey Tayler is the author of "Siberian Dawn" and "Facing the Congo." He has published numerous articles in Atlantic Monthly, Spin, Harper's and Condé Nast Traveler. He is a regular commentator on NPR's "All Things Considered." Two of Tayler's travel essays were selected by Bill Bryson for the inaugural edition of "The Best American Travel Writing 2000". He lives in Russia.

RPCV Jeffrey Tayler is the author of "Siberian Dawn" and "Facing the Congo." He has published numerous articles in Atlantic Monthly, Spin, Harper's and Condé Nast Traveler. He is a regular commentator on NPR's "All Things Considered." Two of Tayler's travel essays were selected by Bill Bryson for the inaugural edition of "The Best American Travel Writing 2000". He lives in Russia.

Contents

2002

2002: Morocco RPCV Jeffrey Tayler faces the Congo

FOR TAYLER, AN American expatriate and writer suffering from an admitted existential crisis, serving in the Peace Corps in Uzbekistan and then living in Russia wasn't enough. So in the spring of 1995, he set out to calm his wanderlust by embarking on an excruciating journey: tracing the route taken down the Congo River by British colonialist Lord Stanley in the 19th Century. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: City Pages. "Jeffrey Tayler: Facing The Congo" November 22, 2002.


2003

2003: Morocco RPCV Jeffrey Tayler on how to recognize bad Peace Corps Writing

Tayler, a former Peace Corp worker, is the author of "Siberian Dawn" and "Facing the Congo." He has published numerous articles in Atlantic Monthly, Spin, Harper's and Condé Nast Traveler. He is a regular commentator on NPR's "All Things Considered." Two of Tayler's travel essays were selected by Bill Bryson for the inaugural edition of "The Best American Travel Writing 2000". He lives in Russia. "There is little that is phonier, more annoying, or more ephemeral that the memoirs of the traveler gone native. One frequently comes across this sort of thing in Peace Corps journals, when the writers vaunt having "assimilated" to their new cultures. To one degree or another, everyone adjusts to being in new places, but claims of conversion make me suspect the writer's maturity and perspective: there is no superior culture, and people everywhere are flawed. If you travel in country X and just don't end up liking something there, just can't understand or accept something, you should say so, and say why, in your story. We are not all alike and we should be forthright about this." Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Rolf Potts' Vagabonding. "Jeffrey Tayler" May 24, 2003.


2005

2005: Review of Morocco RPCV Jeffrey Tayler's "Angry Wind"

From the opening chapter on, it is evident that Tayler has thoroughly mastered the art of travel writing. In just about every scene he takes us deep into the world he's exploring, whether celebrating the new year in an oasis town being shelled by rebels in the Chadian outback, making a nerve-racking boarder-crossing on the back of a moped "taxi," or feasting with Tuareg nomads in the desert outside Timbuktu. He paints in distinctive characters met along the way, layers in centuries of history rife with half-forgotten empires and waves of Arab and European conquerors, and details his own intellectual and emotional responses. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Oregon Live. "Journey Of Discovery: Africa's Sahel" March 6, 2005.


2005: Morocco RPCV Jeffrey Tayler's "Angry Wind": Misery and mystery in unforgiving place

Tayler himself openly questions Bush administration policies and war plans, but most of the criticism of the U.S. he hears is unsolicited. Although he faces skepticism and hostility as an American, many of the people he interviews treat him with respect and decency, reserving their outrage for President Bush. As one of Tayler's Nigerian guides puts it: "We separate Bush from the American people. Evil comes from Bush, not from the American people, who are honest." Anti-Americanism is not new to this region, but "Bush (and Blair) angered Muslims in a newly and uniquely personal way," Tayler writes, "and evoked a disgust whose likes I had never before seen in twenty-one years of overseas travel." Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Seattle Times. ""Angry Wind": Misery And Mystery In Unforgiving Place" March 27, 2005.


2005: Morocco RPCV Jeffrey Tayler’s Glory in a Camel’s Eye: A Perilous Trek Through the Greatest African Desert (Houghton Mifflin) tells how he became intrigued by the romance of Islam’s rich cultural past in general, and by the Bedouin and the Empty Quarter of the Arabian Peninsula in particular

“From the 9th through the 15th century,” he writes, “the Draa served as one of the main caravan routes between Europe and Timbuktu. The desert-wise Bedouin, or Ruhhal (from the Arabic rahala, ‘to wander from place to place’) in the Arabic dialects of North Africa, were the master navigators of this 1,100–mile channel across the sea of sand.” As this excerpt suggests, Tayler is generous in passing along to readers his knowledge of Arabic and also at weaving in historical context. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Straight.com. "Glory In A Camel’s Eye: A Perilous Trek Through The Greatest African Desert" June 2, 2005.


2005: Review of Jeffrey Tayler's Angry Wind

It is desperation that reigns in countries such as Chad, Mali, Niger, northern Nigeria and eastern Senegal where westerners, especially women, hardly dare tread. Mr. Tayler, with his knowledge of French and Arabic, also finds Sahel tourism a tough go. His use of apt detail and color in describing this region gives us a true feel for his adventures in exotic locales. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Washington Times. "Muslim Africa, American Worship" October 30, 2005.


2005: Jeffrey Tayler writes How the former world chess champion Garry Kasparov hopes to unseat President Vladimir Putin

"Politics in Russia has historically been a game of winner take all. Victors amass booty and virtual immunity from censure or even prosecution. The vanquished, if they are lucky, escape abroad or putter away their remaining years in dacha gardens. On the surface the contemporary situation is not much different: President Vladimir Putin, in power since 2000, has packed the State Duma and the Federation Council (Russia's bicameral legislature) with his supporters, and the national media are largely subservient to his wishes. During the first four years of his rule Putin's approval ratings never dropped below 70 percent, and in 2004 he won re-election with 71 percent of the vote. His closest competitor, the Communist candidate Nikolai Kharitonov, received only 14 percent and has drifted back into the muddy fields of his demographically doomed party. Now Moscow is awash in rumors that in 2008 Putin may seek election to a third term—a move currently prohibited by the constitution, but easily arranged." Jeffrey Tayler served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco. He has published numerous articles in Atlantic Monthly, Spin, Harper's and Condé Nast Traveler and is a regular commentator on NPR's "All Things Considered. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: The Atlantic. "Challenge Match" December 1, 2005.


2006

2006: Jeffrey Tayler has said the Muslim masses across the African continent firmly believe that the US government's politics is driven by oil and energy interests

"In my 4,000 mile odyssey I met a large section of people who believed that it is the oil and energy markets that are driving its policy. For more than two centuries now, the US has served as the planetary repository of hope, a country judged by the high standards and enlightened ideals on which it was founded. Everywhere during my travels people told me the attack on Iraq was unprovoked. Why did Americans not protest. And what happened to the American democracy ? They asked me." Jeffrey Tayler served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco. He has published numerous articles in Atlantic Monthly, Spin, Harper's and Condé Nast Traveler and is a regular commentator on NPR's "All Things Considered. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Peninsula On-line. "Us Travel Writer Rails At Bush Administration" May 8, 2006.


2006: Jeffrey Tayler traveled in a two-man rubber boat almost the entire length of Siberia's Lena River

Tayler shows he can listen, which is a surprisingly rare and valuable trait in a journalist. But can he write? Siberia is an elemental place - of cedar and birch, of log cabins and tart berries and mushrooms and wood smoke, of shamans and windstorms and bad teeth and rotten livers. It's scratching chickens and mangy dogs and mud at the threshold. It demands an earthy vocabulary, and instead Tayler treats us to descriptive passages that employ words like asthenic, oneiric, delectation, Aeolian and estival, and phrases like "permeated my first moments of wakefulness." Can you imagine sharing a boat with this guy for 2,400 miles? Jeffrey Tayler served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco. He has published numerous articles in Atlantic Monthly, Spin, Harper's and Condé Nast Traveler and is a regular commentator on NPR's "All Things Considered. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Baltimore Sun. "Journey Reveals Much About Siberia, Author" July 23, 2006.


2006: Jeffrey Tayler's strange sojourn in Siberia reveals a land of beautiful women, crumbling hamlets, and untapped riches

For all its sadness, this remains a book well worth reading. It will make you grateful for all that you forget that you have. It also helps to make all of us mindful that, even in this day of CNN, many people still exist - or perhaps persist is a better word - in states and places far beyond our ken. Jeffrey Tayler served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco. He has published numerous articles in Atlantic Monthly, Spin, Harper's and Condé Nast Traveler and is a regular commentator on NPR's "All Things Considered. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Christian Science Monitor. "Forgotten At Civilization's Edge" July 28, 2006.


2006: Jeffrey Tayler writes: The annexation of Siberia "facilitated Russia's transformation from a middle-sized European state into the largest country on earth, a Eurasian superpower with ports on seven seas covering, during the Soviet days, one sixth of the planet's surface."

In the summer of 2004, Tayler, the Moscow correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly and an American who has lived in Russia since 1993, traveled down the Lena from near its headwaters to its mouth. With only a guide to navigate the treacherous river, Tayler explored the length of the Lena and its surrounding, unforgiving landscape, in a small, custom-designed raft. Along the way, through encounters with dozens of Siberians, he also explored Russia's political history and current social conditions. Jeffrey Tayler served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco. He has published numerous articles in Atlantic Monthly, Spin, Harper's and Condé Nast Traveler and is a regular commentator on NPR's "All Things Considered. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Oregon Live. "Frustrated, Fatalistic Siberians See Their Future As No Future At All" September 3, 2006.


2006: Kyrgyzstan RPCV Robert Rosenberg reviews Morocco RPCV Jeffrey Tayler's "River of No Reprieve"

The book achieves its broad insightfulness largely through alternating accounts of river travel with social reportage. "You always want to stop in villages and meet people — the one thing I do not want to do out here," Vadim rants. Indeed, Tayler disembarks in every barren town, village and hamlet along the way, leaving his guide guarding the raft and mumbling, "I hate returning to civilization." Tayler has considerable skill in searching out friendships. He is amazed by the warmth of the people who take him in and supply food and shelter. "Once again, I thought, the feared 'village barbarians' were turning out to be among the friendliest souls I had met in Russia." Jeffrey Tayler served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco. He has published numerous articles in Atlantic Monthly, Spin, Harper's and Condé Nast Traveler and is a regular commentator on NPR's "All Things Considered. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: St Petersburg Times, Russia. "Trial By Water" October 20, 2006.


2007

2007: Washington Posts reviews "River of No Reprieve" by Jeffrey Tayler

Tayler does so many things well here. There's the compelling man-vs.-nature angle, of course, but even in this most isolated land are stories of people -- the gulag prisoners from various political persecutions of the past, the beautiful women and vodka-marinated men of today's Siberia. To Vadim's annoyance, Tayler stops at each village to talk, noting the "pride Russians often take in showing foreigners that no one, but no one, could live worse than they." As Tayler shows, they make a good case. Jeffrey Tayler served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco. He has published numerous articles in Atlantic Monthly, Spin, Harper's and Condé Nast Traveler and is a regular commentator on NPR's "All Things Considered. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Washington Post. "Road Reads" February 18, 2007.


2007: Jeffrey Tayler writes: Glimpses of veiled passion on unexpected wagon ride through Turkey

We rocked down the road, with lightning flickering from the vaulted clouds ahead. I felt uneasy about riding alone with her in this conservatively Muslim part of Turkey where, in the local Arabic dialect, women were known as hareem, or the forbidden ones. So I tried not to look at her, but I failed. She was just too beautiful. I asked if she was married. "Ahh, our men are our grief!" she exclaimed. "Yes, I am." At this she reached behind herself, twisting around and pulling at the blankets on the cart. To my surprise, she uncovered another young woman lying with a baby in her arms. "My sister, 'Aysha!" Hawa' announced. 'Aysha handed her a shard of pita bread. "Try this," Hawa' said to me. "It's khubz al-'Arab"-Arab bread-"and I baked it myself." Her eyes sparkled green. She covered 'Aysha again. I took the bread. It tasted like clay, but I ate it anyway. She clucked and hissed to the horse, and we rolled on toward the thunderclouds. We passed a group of men huddled in the fields around fruit and jugs of water; they called out an invitation to me to come eat with them. Hawa' shouted to them that I must get to Harran immediately. She chuckled; she seemed happy to keep me to herself, and, to put it mildly, I was happy to stay with her. Jeffrey Tayler served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco. He has published numerous articles in Atlantic Monthly, Spin, Harper's and Condé Nast Traveler and is a regular commentator on NPR's "All Things Considered. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: San Fransisco Chronicle. "Glimpses Of Veiled Passion On Unexpected Wagon Ride" October 14, 2007.


2008

2008: Jeffrey Tayler writes: Black Gold and the Golden Rule

I was on my way to Bonny Island on the Gulf of Guinea, where much of Nigeria’s petroleum industry is based, a number of years ago. The shuttle-launch in which I sat filled slowly with passengers settling carefully into their places on four unsteady benches. Our captain finally jumped aboard and started up the outboard motor; a youth on the dock untied our mooring rope and tossed it onto the bow. We backed out and then swung round and entered the mangrove creeks of the delta. Soon after, we hit open water and shot toward the shipping lanes, where tankers moved like roving megaliths among patches of fog, and lowering black clouds released torrents of rain and wind. We unfurled a plastic tarp and sheltered beneath it. Our launch began pitching on the swells. The young man next to me introduced himself. To protect his identity, I’ll call him Sunday. Sunday was a welder for an oil company on Bonny. He pointed out bizarre columns of flame shooting hundreds of feet above the jungle to the Southeast. “The oil fields of Ogoniland, my home,” he shouted. “They burn day and night.” When I told Sunday I was an American, he smiled. “Ah, your country is trying to force the Nigerian government to comply, to give us Ogonis our rights and the money from our oil. Otherwise we don’t get.” Jeffrey Tayler served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco. He has published numerous articles in Atlantic Monthly, Spin, Harper's and Condé Nast Traveler and is a regular commentator on NPR's "All Things Considered. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: World Hum. "Black Gold And The Golden Rule" March 28, 2008.


2008: Jeffrey Tayler writes: The pitiable David-and-Goliath asymmetry of Georgia's dustup with Russia, plus Saakashvili's repeated hyperbolic declarations to satellite news stations, have obscured both the United States' culpability in bringing about the conflict, and the nature of the separatism that caused it in the first place

Perhaps Saakashvili believed that, with the world's eyes on the opening of the Olympic Games in Beijing, he could launch a lightning assault on South Ossetia and reclaim the republic without substantial grief from Moscow, as he had Ajaria in 2004. His statements once the war began demonstrated that he expected real Western help in confronting Russia. Whatever prompted him to miscalculate, the strategic realities ignored by the Bush administration in pumping up Saakashvili's ambitions reasserted themselves as soon as Moscow responded to Saakashvili's gambit with the largest military assault, by land, sea, and air since the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979. Within days, Georgia lost both South Ossetia and Abkhazia to Russia, two thousand Georgians were dead, tens of thousands had been displaced, foreigners were being evacuated, and Gori and Tbilisi, their airports bombed, appeared threatened.��As Russian bombs rained down on Georgia and Saakashvili pleaded for help from the West and for a cease-fire from Moscow, Putin stated bluntly that "Georgia's aspiration to join NATO . . . is driven by its attempt to drag other nations and peoples into its bloody adventures," and warned that, "the territorial integrity of Georgia has suffered a fatal blow." The Bush administration answered with boilerplate language of protest, failing even to dispatch Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to the region until six days later for rounds of shuttle diplomacy. Saakashvili complained that "all we got so far are just words, statements, moral support, humanitarian aid." But neither the United States nor Europe will risk Armageddon for Georgia. For Saakashvili, game over. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: The Atlantic. "At Putin's Mercy" August 17, 2008.


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