This very engrossing travelogue of the author's journey down the Congo River is told against a backdrop of the recorded history of many other explorers, adventurers, missionaries, mercenaries, native peoples, profiteers, international aid workers, government officials, revolutionaries, movie stars(!) and others who have left their impact on the country throughout the last two centuries. The historical references alone would have made this an interesting read. In 2004, the Democratic Republic of Congo has declined to a state that is in many ways worse than the pre-colonial era when Henry Morton Stanley first made the voyage that this author attempts to duplicate here. Conditions are deplorable everywhere and the voyage is full of potential hazard. His motto, "cities bad, open good" serves him well. It is heart-sickening to read of the corruption, greed and ruthlessness that is routine is a country of such vast natural resources. Unlike most places in the world which have at lease shown some progress over the last decades, the DRC has been steadily declining. What little infrastructure was left in the early 1960's has slowly been disintegrating. The wildlife in many areas has been decimated. There is little agriculture. What is worse is that there is no communal memory of the atrocities just a few short years ago, so it is very hard to learn from those events. Most of the rural population seeks temporary refuge in the bush when threatened by roving bands of thugs. Like Jeffrey Tayler in "Facing the Congo" and Peter Stark in "At the Mercy of the River", the author is eventually brought down by sickness. I am left with the impression that without his connections with UN personnel stationed in remote areas and cash reserves, the author would not likely have gotten far along this jouney.