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Encounters, observations and revelations from a 1,200-mile trans-Saharan trek are poetically reported by William Langewiesche in Sahara Unveiled: A Journey Across the Desert. A correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly, Langewiesche was undaunted by the physical hardships of the trip, instead focusing on the beleaguered towns and people that survive along the desert's fringes and in its oases. As he discusses subjects as various as adobe walls and the history of prehistoric Tassili cave painters, he introduces old friends and people met by chance. Despite poverty and changes brought on by bare-bones technology, he reveals why for more than 2,000 years the desert has been seen as a place of trial, cleansing and illumination. [via]