Michael Mewshaw knows two Africas: the excitingly picturesque one we see on postcards, and the dangerous one he discovered on African soil--a North Africa that is indeed dramatic and beautiful, but with a dark side that is never quite captured in commercial images. In this book, Mewshaw shows us both continents--taking us from the benign beaches of Morocco to the casbahs of Algeria, where more than 100,000 people have died during a decade of political strife. From Morocco to Tangiers and then on to Libya and Egypt, Mewshaw deftly navigates the cultural vectors and political crosscurrents that infuse today's Africa with conflict and fear. He focuses on contemporary life--and death--in this mosaic of countries that share a common Arabic language and Islamic culture yet constitute a kind of geopolitical shatter zone less than three hours by air from Europe. Mewshaw is thorough in his analysis, visiting themes that include postcolonialism, the oil business, literature, zoology, and immigration from poor and unstable countries to affluent nations. Bringing to bear both his experience as a journalist and his narrative gift as a novelist, he provides historical context for these very current issues, all told with wit and humor and a clear respect for the people he encounters along the way.