The Fulani are the largest surviving group of nomads on the planet. In Walkingwith Abel, Anna Badkhen embedsherself with a family of Fulani cowboys--nomadic herders in Mali's Sahelgrasslands--as they embark on their annual migration across the savannah. It's acycle that connects the Fulani to their past even as their present isincreasingly under threat--from Islamic militants, climate change, and theever-encroaching urbanization that lures away their young. The Fulani, though,are no strangers to uncertainty--brilliantly resourceful and resilient, they'vecontended with famines, droughts, and wars for centuries.
Dubbed"Anna Bâ" by the nomads who embrace her as one of their own, Badkhen narrates theFulani's journeys and her own with compassion and keen observation,transporting us from the Neolithic Sahara crisscrossed by rivers and abundantwith wildlife to obelisk forests where the Fulani's Stone Age ancestors paintedtributes to cattle. Together they cross the Sahel--the savannah belt that stretches from theIndian Ocean to the Atlantic--with Fulani music they download to their cellphones and tales infused with the myths that ground their past, make sense oftheir identity, and safeguard their future.