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La Croisière noire

Ariane Audouin-Dubreuil

This is a mythical episode of the history of the automobile and of exploration. Yet, its main organizer declared on the eve of the departure, that “I have the spirit of a little badly dressed bourgeois who takes his suitcase to go from Chartres to Etampes”. On 12 October 1924, Louis Audouin-Dubreuil doubted because the tension of the preparations had exhausted him. But the Citroën challenge, this « Black Cruise » in carriers did leave and covered 20 000 kilometres, all the way to Madagascar, where it arrived in July 1925, following a series of adventures and scientific studies that continue to fascinate us today. The report was written by his daughter and is remarkable due to the quantity of fac-simile documents from the family archives. The documents are elegantly slipped into envelopes in thin silk paper, and include the transcription of the songs sung by the rowers from Ouellé as well as reports on ritual cannibalism and witchery, or notes on the customs in Kenya. In order to have the reproductions of the pastels by Alexandre Iacovleff (1887-1938), the artist of the expedition, who worked with the Ballets Russes and signed his contract on the corner of a table at Maxim’s, one will have to choose the luxury edition.

La Croisière noire, by Ariane Audouin-Dubreuil, Glénat, 2014, 176 p., €39 (luxury version €120).

La Croisière noire - Ariane Audouin-Dubreuil

Review published in the newsletter #371 - from 15 January 2015 to 21 January 2015

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