BBC Radio 4 Isn’t That Dangerous?: African Travels Among Academics and Other Wild Animals. Educational Heretics Press.

BBC Radio 4 Isn’t That Dangerous?: African Travels Among Academics and Other Wild Animals. Educational Heretics Press.

If you’re anything like me Saturday mornings wouldn’t be the same without listening to BBC Radio 4’s Excess Baggage. On the 16.01.2010  John Mc Carthy interviewed our very own Professor Clive Harber about his latest book from Educational Heretics Press.

 BBC Radio 4 Excess Baggage with John Mc Carthy. You can listento the programme via podcast on the BBC i-Player

Isn’t That Dangerous?: African Travels Among Academics and Other Wild Animals  by Clive Harber has of course been mentioned on the blog previously and launched at Birmingham University last year.

Personalised Education Now also have a book review in our latest Journal which we’ve republished below.

Book Review: Isn’t that dangerous? African travels among academics and other wild animals by Clive Harber.
Educational Heretics Press, Nottingham, 2009. 182pp
IBSN 978-1-900219-38-9.
Jackie Zammit

When this book arrived on my desk, I skipped the Preface and dived straight in to the first chapter.  Two pages in and I was hooked! It certainly brightened up a Monday morning and I had to force myself to put it down until I got on the train that evening. 

Isn’t that dangerous? shares the travels and the work of Clive Harber, Professor of International Education at the University of Birmingham.  It provides insight into Clive’s research into democratic education, as well as being an entertaining read.

Clive Harber has been involved with my organisation since way before my time, and although I knew something of his work, I didn’t know much about Clive himself.  I now know Clive doesn’t do ‘roughing it’, unless he really has to [‘En suite’ are his two favourite English words]; knows the difference between a Lark-like Bunting and a Superb Starling [complete ends of the spectrum in the bird world apparently] and has an unnatural interest in animal poo [I’m far more polite than he is]!

Sharing experiences of places and the people you meet can be a precarious thing to do.  Surprisingly, not everyone wants to know about your ‘life changing’ experiences, your brush with death or the array of stomach bugs that you’ve picked up on the way.  Many more find it beyond their imagination that anyone would want to visit somewhere like the African continent, as the American lady in the book revealed when Clive told her he was going to The Gambia ,‘Africa? Isn’t that dangerous?’ [I did read the Preface in the end.]

Isn’t that dangerous? is not just about travel though.  Yes, it will have you laughing out loud most of the way through, especially if you have been a traveller in Africa yourself, but Clive has successfully woven together hilarious, laugh-out-load anecdotes of his experiences with reflections on its history, education, culture and wildlife.  His career researching the role of education in politics has enabled him to spend large parts of his life living and working in different parts of the continent.  What he brings are his personal reflections, insights and a genuine affection for Africa, its people and its wildlife.

Whether a tourist, academic, or armchair traveller, there is much here to provoke thought and discussion, as well as to entertain. I will remember to keep a safe distance from elephants, buffalos or suicidal guinea fowl, the next time I go on safari and will be on the lookout for a T-shirt equivalent of a book to identify animal droppings.

The book also had heart-stopping moments that left me with much to think about.  The two pages where Clive describes his visit to the genocide museum in Kigali, Rwanda, and reflects on the role education played in the horrors that occurred there, stayed with me long after I finished reading the. Those two pages made me think long and hard about the role education plays in all societies.

Jackie Zammit

Jackie Zammit is Centre Coordinator at Tide~ global learning
Tide~ Centre, Millennium Point
Curzon Street, Birmingham, B4 7XG
T: +44 (0)121 202 3290

If you’d like to obtain a copy of Clive’s book you’ll find details from Educational Heretics Press

Details also below

Isn’t That Dangerous? Arican Travels Among Academics and Other Wild Animals by Clive Harber

Clive Harber spent over twenty years working, researching and teaching in Africa, always keeping detailed accounts of his experiences. After publishing several academic books, he has changed tone and produced a humorous travel book on sub-Saharan Africa.

Details of Africa’s culture, education, recent history, wildlife and social issues are woven into an absorbing memoir-style narrative that is not only informative but humorous, entertaining and thought provoking, perfect for armchair travel as well as questioning tourists. This is not a contrived study but a portrayal born of genuine inspiration and affection for the place and its communities.

 What do Bob Geldorf, Bono and Clive Harber have in common? Not much really, except that they’ve all shown more than a passing interest in Africa. If David Livingstone was an intrepid traveller, then Harber has been a trepid one. With the possible exception of Indiana Jones, academics are not known for their foolhardy bravery in the face of danger. For thirty years Harber maintained this tradition by consistently trying to avoid it altogether. For him, the ideal research site in Africa is a safe country with a good supply of cold beer.

 The appeal of the book lies not just in its use of humour but in its engagement with many of the issues facing contemporary Africa.

 Arthur Smith, TV and radio comedian wrote:

Clive Harber’s book caused me pain. Not because I didn’t like it but because I split me sides laughing out loud. This affectionate portrait of a continent is full of hilarious stories and fascinating detail. He will rightly be called the Bill Bryson of Africa.

Dr. Clive Harber is Professor of International Education at the University of Birmingham and author of the acclaimed book Schooling as Violence.

 ISBN 978 1-900219-38-9                Price  £16-00





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