White Man's Grave

White Man s Grave Michael Killigan a Peace Corps Volunteer in West Africa is missing The search for him is launched separately by his father Randall a master of the universe and warlord of the Indianapolis bankrupt

  • Title: White Man's Grave
  • Author: Richard Dooling
  • ISBN: 9780312132149
  • Page: 472
  • Format: Paperback
  • Michael Killigan, a Peace Corps Volunteer in West Africa, is missing The search for him is launched separately by his father, Randall, a master of the universe and warlord of the Indianapolis bankruptcy courts and Michael s best friend, Boone Westfall Once in Freetown, Boone falls in with Sam Lewis, an unscrupulous Volunteer who s fed up with Sierra Leone, a country whiMichael Killigan, a Peace Corps Volunteer in West Africa, is missing The search for him is launched separately by his father, Randall, a master of the universe and warlord of the Indianapolis bankruptcy courts and Michael s best friend, Boone Westfall Once in Freetown, Boone falls in with Sam Lewis, an unscrupulous Volunteer who s fed up with Sierra Leone, a country which in 1992 earned the distinction of being the world s worst place to live, according to the United Nations Lewis leads Boone into the bush and turns him over to Aruna Sisay, the white Mende man, a fallen anthropologist who s sworn off the rigors of fieldwork and succumbed to the charms of ruling hell Back in America, Randall receives an ominous bundle of black rags from Sierra Leone and starts to experience terrifying sleep disorders A raving hypochondriac, he bankrolls a search for his son, while seeking a medical explanation for his nocturnal hallucinations Meanwhile Liberian rebels are crossing the border in the south of Sierra Leone, elections are erupting into riots, and the countryside is ruled by warring secret societies of leopard and baboon men which still practice witchcraft and human sacrifice to win political even supernatural power But where s Michael To find Killigan Boone must negotiate witches and witch finders, disgruntled ancestors and bush devils, bad medicine and shapeshifters who roam about in the guise of animals And Randall learns that the bundle of rags may have transformed itself into a spirit and entered him, causing supernatural disturbances Both begin by wondering if witchcraft is true and conclude that if it works, it may as well be An exuberantly funny satire inwhich litigation, modern medicine, and the insurance business begin to look a lot like primitive magic White Man s Grave pillories our deepest fears, forcing us to consider the ultimate nature of evil.

    One thought on “White Man's Grave”

    1. I loved this book! The quick premise is that an ill/underprepared Peace Corps volunteer goes missing and his ruthless uber-capitalist father goes after him. Neither father nor son is quite prepared to take the local traditions seriously andwellyou learn a lot about cross-cultural respect, about indigenous belief systems and having a healthy respect for things see and unseen and, as but one consequence, you'll pay a lot more attention to trees. Parts are only scary, whereas other parts are utterl [...]

    2. While this is a work of fiction, it's a good backgrounder on the people and culture of Sierra Leone. It was written in the 90s, so you definitely need to keep that in mind when you're reading about the protagonist's custom laptop computer which is equipped with a CD-ROM drive.

    3. I found Dooling's book to be a huge disappointment. It's a bit annoying to have the author and characters tell you the culture is too complex to be explained, but then they attempt to explain it anyway and primarily focus on witchcraft, rather than family and inter-village relations, as well colonial failures that have affected the culture of the Mende people. Mostly, I felt like Dooling had written a research paper on the Mende tribe and tried to turn it into a story. While there was some promi [...]

    4. Occasionally a book surfaces that is so thought-provoking it demands insertion into an academic curriculum. If the book is a novel it is a near certainty that if incorporated into a curriculum, that volume will only go into an English or Literature curriculum. "White Man's Grave" is one of those rare novels that deserves inclusion into the required reading list of any Sociology curriculum. The book raises fundamental questions about cultural perceptions of reality and poses a powerful case for o [...]

    5. Well, this was a book. Due to a unique schedule during the fall, my book reading goes to nil Sept-December for the most part. I finally found an opportunity and picked up this "Impressive.arply satiric" novel that I hadn't heard of before. Concept was "american people trying to figure out west africa to varying degrees of success" and pretty obvious Dooling was trying to take a Bonfire of the Vanities view to it's extreme. Butend of the day was kinda boring. I never really chuckled nor was that [...]

    6. I have read White Man's Grave three times now. This is the one paperback I have bought twice and now keep along with all of my beloved hardcovers. Dooling writes a wonderfully intertwined tale of two very disparate cultures. The crux of the story revolves around the almighty American dollar versus ancient, time-honored African customs. I came away from this book feeling very much vindicated in my belief that cultures should remain intact and while we can do our small part to help (as these peace [...]

    7. This is the Great PCV novel. Funnier than any novel on the suffering of western Africa has any right to be, and a corrosive commentary on dominate tribal values of the middle of North America. Westfall's vision of his life in an Indiana sub-division is worth the price of admission alone.

    8. Witchcraft anyone? Bush devils and fierce satire collide in this story partly set in the jungle in Sierra Leone -- a must read for aspiring Peace Corps volunteers who are poised to disappear in West Africa. Dig it!

    9. Still not sure what I think. I'll have to live with it a little longer. Reminds me a lot of Poisonwood Bible from a different perspective.One thing that really bugs me, though, is that the reason for the ndeile being sent to Randall Killigan and who sent it is never revealed. There doesn't seem to be any real reason for it to have been sent to him since he has nothing to do with the main story unfolding in AfricaIt's an interesting side story, but - why?

    10. While this book was well written and the experience of a white man in the developing world was nicely done, the plot never fully came together for me. It also could have been about 100 pages shorter, as there were so many sections that really didn't add too much to advancing a new understanding of the characters or the plot. Overall, I'm glad I read it, but I'm not sure I would go out of my way to recommend it to others.

    11. Library JournalBehind the fairly simple story of a Peace Corps volunteer missing in West Africa and a friend's search to find him, one feels that some larger significance is brooding and expects it to appear at any moment. Unfortunately, it never does. The pace is fast, the style lush, and the atmosphere slightly ominous; there is plenty of action, adventure, and suspense; but somehow Dooling has not quite managed to make it all come alive. The result has to be one of the longest shaggy-dog stor [...]

    12. Some of the best fiction written about Africa, this book has it all: Witches, Pidgin English, Mercenaries, Lawyers, and Giant Bats. Obviously, I'm going to be a bit biased (and if you can't figure out why, just look at this page a bit more), but I don't throw recommendations around lightly, if you care at all about belonging to a "global community" that includes west africa, you need to read this book. Statements like "We must appreciate and respect other cultures" are trite and easily dismissed [...]

    13. Eines der komischsten Bücher, das ich kenne! Es handelt sich im Prinzip um einen Vergleich religiöser Kulturen - der des weißen Amerika und der des schwarzen Afrikas. Die Geschichte spielt zumeist in Afrika, wo ein US-Amerikaner in die Irrungen und Wirrungen afrikanischer Vodookulte gerät mit all ihren abgründigem Hexen- und Zauberglauben. Basiert auf wissenschaftlich basierten, religionssoziologischen Feldforschungen und ist hinreißend witzig erzählt, aber nicht auf Kosten dieser Leute. [...]

    14. This book has ended up in the pile of not-finished, and it's largely because the book features a number of cultural references that were much more relevant in 1994, when the book came out. I bought it for about a dollar, and if I end up needing space on the shelf, this book will probably be on the chopping block. I've attempted to read it four different times, which is about my limit for a book. I've finished books I hated, just to find the endgame. It takes a great deal for me to give up on a b [...]

    15. "Suddenly the witch hosts realizes that the darkness he always so quickly saw in others is really only his own dark powers reflected in the looking glasses of their innocent hearts. He discovers that the evil he had always ascribed to human nature is really the fruit of his own wicked labors. He planted seeds, and now the harvest has come in. His life is filled with evil people, because they are his converts, members of his coven. In one horrible instant, he sees that he is the cause of much of [...]

    16. Wickedly funny, ugly American satire of cultural clash between classic greedy Westerners and a superstitious, primitive West African society. When Randall Killigan's Peace Corp son goes missing inSierra Leone, he receives a voodoo package that changes his life. Meanwhile in Africa, his best friend is searching for Michael Killigan, unwittingly wreaking havoc by his complete misunderstanding of the culture, and is also changed in ways that will remain with him forever. Not a good recruiting ad fo [...]

    17. I really enjoyed this book. It reads almost as a mystery but Dooling brings an element of fear to the story as well. A father searches for his son in a country with a culture he doesn't understand. I think many Americans have a hard time understanding the many cultural ways that Africa differs from the world we live in. This book made me think about the experiences that my students and their families had living in Africa and how strange the United States must seem to them.

    18. This is one of the best books I've ever read. I would recommend it to anyone. Perhaps it is because I've been to countries like this, but this book had it all. A good story, gut splitting humor and a setting that is so interesting. To bad it is such a dangerous place to visit now.Anyone who reads this - READ THIS BOOK - it's also available on tape and CD read by George Guidell. Also a good way to read this book.

    19. This was perhaps my third reread of this amazing book. It is still fascinating and scary. All the stuff Joseph Conrad hinted about in "Heart of Darkness," Dooling actually describes, and it's terrifying. No wonder the people of Sierra Leone are so frightened of Doctors without Borders. This explains their thinking. Highly recommended.

    20. The author started out with a brilliant idea to write about Sierra Leone, it's culture and beliefs. However, somewhere along the line he lost the plot and what started out to be a good read was similar to buying that craved for chocolate cake and trying to eat the whole lot in one sitting! Nice try, a very heavy read.

    21. This book was recommended to me during my African studies class at Oklahoma State University. My professor was the most engaging white man of small stature who ALWAYS wore a bow tie and had an undying love for Sierra Leone and Africa itself. he book is a wonderful window into Africa and it's complex relationship with the world including those trying to help.

    22. ص= ۳۳۲«مردم جهان اول هر شب سر سفره ی شام، کودکان جهان سوم را می خوررند.»داستان زیبا و قیاس جالبی بود بر جهل و ظلم دو جهان متفاوت. (مرسی دایی جان) با سپاس از مترجم ولی انتقادی دارم به ایشون! به اندازه ی کافی واژه عربی در زبان ما هست لطفا واقعا عربی ها را استفاده نکنید. مثل ید (دست)، د [...]

    23. Excellent book. Having spent two years in the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone, I can attest to its accuracy. Anyone planning on traveling in this part of the world would be well advised to read this book.

    24. This is a satirical story of a peace corps volunteer who goes missing in Africa and his corporate lawyer father who goes looking for him. It is viciously funny. I really liked it. The same author wrote Critical Care, which is also great.

    25. An American Peace Corps worker disappears in deepest darkest Sierra Leone. His best friend and father try in various ways to find him and are affected in different ways. This is a campy story in the tradition of Evelyn Waugh and Joseph Conrad. The tribal witchcraft angle is intriguing.

    26. This is one of my favorite books because of its wicked humor and interesting plot lines set in Africa. I stumbled on it by accident many years ago and love, love, loved it. Will read again for sure and now that I think of it, I want to see what Dooling's written lately.

    27. This is about the search for a missing Peace Corps volunteer in Sierre Leone by his father and his best friend. It's satirical fiction and very amusing. My friend Belen read it and liked it a lot and since it was set in Africa I had to try it!

    28. A peace corps volunteer in Sierra Leone disappears in mysterious circumstances. His best friend travels to Sierra Leoneto find him and is trapped in a world of witchcraft and cultural confusion. A satire with a fresh look at US society and culture from a different viewpoint.

    29. Talk about West African culture! And wonderful satire regarding attorneys, politics, magic and more. I do not think I have ever had to look up word definitions as often as I did while reading this one!

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