Richard Walker

Sudan was always an invented country. Maybe we should invent it again

A review of A Poisonous Thorn in Our Hearts, by James Copnall. This account of the secession of South Sudan makes good on its claim to portray one of the world's most interesting places

English explorers on expedition in the Sudan, 1860-63 [Getty Images]

Sudan — a country that ceased to exist in 2011 — is or was one of the last untouristed wildernesses on earth. And for good reason: while it still existed it was the biggest country in Africa, a mainly flat and uninhabitable wasteland, mostly brown, with barely a mountain or a bosky valley to its name, unbearably hot, unhealthy, poor, and full of every sort of trouble.

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