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Extended Audio Sample Sufferings in Africa: Captain Riley’s Narrative Audiobook, by James Riley Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (114 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: James Riley Narrator: Brian Emerson Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2006 ISBN: 9781455178391
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In this classic true adventure story, a young American sea captain named James Riley, shipwrecked off the western coast of North Africa in 1815, is captured by a band of nomadic Arabs and sold into slavery. Thus begins an epic adventure of survival and a quest for freedom that takes him across the Sahara desert.

This dramatic account of Captain Riley’s trials and sufferings sold more than one million copies in his day and was even read by a young and impressionable Abraham Lincoln. The degradations of a slave existence and the courage to survive under the most harrowing conditions have rarely been recorded with such painful honesty.

Sufferings in Africa is a classic travel-adventure narrative and a fascinating testament of white Americans enslaved abroad, during a time when slavery flourished throughout the United States.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Reader Brian Emerson is monotonous and cool, punctuating sentences by prolonging the last word and dropping his voice. The didactic, well-pronounced delivery…makes the history seem plausible.”

    AudioFile

  • “Vividly capture[s] the long history of America's encounters with the Arab world.”

    Wall Street Journal

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 mscan59723 | 1/5/2014

    " It was an interesting book. After telling the story of his adventure he then went into social information about the people we was enslaved under. How did they dress, what did they eat and the story of the individual that helped him. This is the part I found the most interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hilary | 12/21/2013

    " If you can soldier on through the repetitive descriptions of desert vistas this is a fascinating read and a tribute to the human will to survive seemingly insurmountable odds. Very inspiring and one of the better books I've read in awhile. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Benedict | 11/14/2013

    " Suffering at its best, with no holds barred. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Steve | 11/4/2013

    " abraham lincoln said this was one of the three best books he ever read,the Bible being one of them. It's an absolutely incredible story "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mike Gillett | 11/3/2013

    " Beautiful account of Captain Riley. Through all the sufferings he muses on Hope and Faith. His un-conquer able spirit led to his, as well as that of his companions, freedom. The book influences ones view on the worth of a man and turns one against slavery. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andrea | 10/22/2013

    " excellent historical adventure story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kelly Bumgarner | 9/30/2013

    " A bit wordy, but it came across as genuine and honest. Extremely fascinating, I felt as though I was there. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Heather | 7/25/2013

    " Wow!! This book is a true story of James Riley, a ship captain and his crew who were shipwrecked in 1815 off the coast of Africa. They are slaves to a nomadic Arab group and he tells their story of suffering as they cross the Sahara Desert. A good read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alexis Hagquist | 9/18/2012

    " This is another case of take-with-a-grain-of-salt given the time period and the author's mindset, but it certainly kept me turning the pages. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Steve | 6/17/2012

    " From the Skeletons of the Zahara by Dean King, This book was by Captain James Riley and like the Skeletons of the Zahara, He gives a description of his adventures and being captured by the Arabs. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pdpeacock | 7/23/2011

    " A wonderful story of survival in an unbelievable environment, of suffering in body and mind. The time period is early 1800's. The story contains many details about life, the people, and the area. Very interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ronald E. | 6/23/2011

    " Amazing diary of survival on the Sahara Desert and the high seas by an American sea captain who fought his way through cruel slavery by desert dwellers! Primary source from the early 1800's, very exciting and well written. Totally engrossing read!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cynthia | 6/13/2011

    " I loved this book, taking into account that it is written by someone who clearly is not a writer. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Clint | 6/3/2011

    " Good story. Sure could have used a good editor. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mahina | 12/31/2010

    " Very inspirational. This true story makes you realize how fortunate we all are. Its a story of true survival and I found it quite moving. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Benedict | 7/13/2010

    " Suffering at its best, with no holds barred. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pdpeacock | 7/23/2009

    " A wonderful story of survival in an unbelievable environment, of suffering in body and mind. The time period is early 1800's. The story contains many details about life, the people, and the area. Very interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Heather | 1/21/2009

    " Wow!! This book is a true story of James Riley, a ship captain and his crew who were shipwrecked in 1815 off the coast of Africa. They are slaves to a nomadic Arab group and he tells their story of suffering as they cross the Sahara Desert. A good read! "

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About the Author
Author James Riley

Captain James Riley was the captain of the United States merchant ship Commerce. He was sold into slavery after he and his crew were shipwrecked off the coast of Africa and went on to write Sufferings in Africa, a memoir about his ordeal. Riley was also the founder of Willshire, Ohio, named after William Wilshire, the man who saved him from slavery.

About the Narrator

Brian Emerson is an actor and technical director with a long career in the Washington, DC, and Baltimore areas.