Book Review: Skeletons on the Zahara: A True Story of Survival

408147There is no worst possible fate for a sailor, having sailed around the world myself, than being shipwrecked; that is unless the shipwreck results in being captured and and held as a slave to barbarous and malevolent Muslims in the Sahara desert!

Such was the fate of American Captain James Riley and his crew of eleven men. The year was 1815 when the brig (two-masted sailing ship) ran around off the coast of Africa. One would think local human beings would come to the aid of men in dire straits, but instead, for these civilized Christians, the exact opposite happened.

No sooner had the men reached the shore and caught their breath from their arduous ordeal, families of desert dwellers swarmed them, stole the meager supply of goods salvaged from the wreck, stripped them naked, beat them with sticks and took them into captivity as slaves.

This two-month incredible journey will leave the reader wondering how humans can be so inhumane. Yet, in the midst of starvation, dehydration, illness and injuries, there are some who while still treacherous, show a measure of compassion, such as Sidi Hamet. But is his limited compassion enough? Will the men survive? How long can the human body last in such extreme conditions? Such are these and other questions presented in the riveting account of Skeletons on the Zahara.

The original story, written in the 19th century was a best seller in its day and one that influenced and shaped the life of Abraham Lincoln, who read it as a boy. Skeletons on the Zahara is one of my favorite survival stories of all time and I recommend it to those who are not faint of heart!

Author: pastor roger

Pastor Roger is retired Executive Director of Hope Now For Youth. Hope Now is a Christian rescue organization. The ministry helps young gang members get out of the gang life and into a job. He is a licensed pastor in Hope Now Bible Church where he preaches on various Sundays throughout the year and leads an adult Bible study during the week. He serves on the Board of Directors and assists the new executive director as the organization’s Director of Communications and Director of Cambodia Ministries. He graduated with High Honors from Moody Bible Institute with a Bachelors degree in Biblical Studies. He attended Riverside Community College, Biola College (University), and he received his certificate in Strategic Planning and Management in Retailing from Babson College. Roger was a member of the U.S. Coast Guard in the early 70s. In 1980 he began a 24-year career with Berean Christian Stores (now Lifeway Christian Stores). In 2000 he became president of the company and served in that position for four years. He became Executive Director and CEO of Hope Now For Youth in 2004 and retired from that position in 2018. He has traveled to Antarctica, Chile, Peru, Mexico, Canada, New Zealand, South Pacific Islands, Cambodia, Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Jordan and Israel. In 1975 he married Carol and has two married daughters and eight grandchildren (Six grandsons and two granddaughters). He believes in the U.S. Constitution and supports all efforts to defend it. Roger enjoys learning how to be a better writer, coffee (not tea) reading, playing golf, watching (soon to be World Champions Dodgers) baseball, and hanging out with his grandkids.

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