On January 28, 2013, the mayor of Timbuktu announced that Islamic jihadists had burned the ancient city's invaluable collection of manuscripts. Days later, it was revealed that the manuscripts had actually been rescued by a heroic group of archivists and librarians. Intrigued, Charlie English, international news editor at The Guardian
, quit his job to delve deeper into the story and write this fascinating book. In alternating chapters, The Storied City
both chronicles the West's adventurous history with the highly mythologized locale, and details the west African city's twenty-first-century occupation and evacuation. The way the two narratives mirror each other engagingly reveals how "Timbuktu's story is in perpetual motion, swinging back and forth between competing poles of myth and reality."