When you say “Timbuktu” to most people they think of some far off place and are most likely are not sure where it is or even if it is a real place – as in “…from here to Timbuktu.” But it was a real place and one of great significance to world culture. Over the past few centuries, there has been quite a fascination with the ancient city, and in modern times, a real concern that the surviving treasures of the legendary place were threatened. Now, in his wonderful new book – The Storied City: The Quest for Timbuktu and the Fantastic Mission to Save its Past – author Charlie English outlines the history of Timbuktu and tells the amazing (and under told) story of how its treasures were saved from the likes of al al-Qaeda

About The Storied City: The Quest for Timbuktu and the Fantastic Mission to Save its Past by Charlie English: “To Westerners, the name ‘Timbuktu’ long conjured a tantalizing paradise, an African El Dorado where even the slaves wore gold. Beginning in the late eighteenth century, a series of explorers gripped by the fever for “discovery”  tried repeatedly to reach the fabled city. But one expedition after another went disastrously awry, succumbing to attack, the climate, and disease. Timbuktu was rich in another way too. A medieval center of learning, it was home to tens of thousands—according to some, hundreds of thousands—of ancient manuscripts, on subjects ranging from religion to poetry, law to history, pharmacology, and astronomy. When al-Qaeda–linked jihadists surged across Mali in 2012, threatening the existence of these precious documents, a remarkable thing happened: a team of librarians and archivists joined forces to spirit the manuscripts into hiding.”

I love books like The Storied City, where you actually learn something while being wildly entertained.

The Storied City: The Quest for Timbuktu and the Fantastic Mission to Save its Past by Charlie English is available from Amazon and other fine booksellers everywhere.