The Dung Beetles of Liberia

A Novel Based on True Events

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
316 Pages
Reviewed on 05/27/2019
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Author Biography

A retired Aviation Safety Inspector for the FAA, Daniel V. Meier, Jr. has always had a passion for writing. During his college years, he studied History at the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) and American Literature at The University of Maryland Graduate School. In 1980 he was published by Leisure Books under the pen name of Vince Daniels.

He also worked briefly for the Washington Business Journal as a journalist and has been a contributing writer/editor for several aviation magazines. His historical action/adventure, The Dung Beetles of Liberia will release in September 2019.

Dan and his wife live in Owings, Maryland, about twenty miles south of Annapolis and when he's not writing, they spend their summers sailing on the Chesapeake Bay.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Lucinda E Clarke for Readers' Favorite

The Dung Beetles of Liberia by Daniel V Meier is the story of a young college undergraduate at Cornell who drops out of school to take a job flying planes in Liberia. He leaves behind his astonished family and his almost-fiancée in a bid to escape the demons that plague him over the death of his brother. He’s learned that Liberia is one of the richest countries in Africa and has high expectations of what he will find there. America had repatriated many slaves in the 1800s and established a democracy and infrastructure. What young Kenneth found was the true state of Africa with its own interpretation of life, morals, and ethics. It shocks him to the core. Life is cheap, the hierarchy is absolute, the poor are driven to the point of extinction and he finds himself rubbing shoulders with other hard-drinking, wild and unprincipled expatriates. Kenneth Verrier is a typical young American from a good family who is shocked to the core with what he encounters. Flying small planes delivering equipment to the mines – and a little diamond smuggling on the side – with no attention paid to overloading, air traffic rules, non-existent runways and center of gravity safety regulations. Little by little Kenneth learns to adapt but never loses his humanity. He is a likable hero, and tells his story simply, honestly and clearly.

Since it was written in the first person, I had to research to see if this was a personal memoir. No, but it is based on a true account of life there at the time, which I suspect has changed very little. This is possibly the most honest tale of Africa I have ever read. It may not sound as politically correct as other books set in similar places, but the author brilliantly highlights the cheapness of life, the lack of compassion, the willingness of the poor and downtrodden to accept their lot in life. Many readers may simply not believe the tales told with such pathos and humor but I can assure them that life is as wild and undisciplined as they are recounted. I loved this book, one of the best I have read in a long, long time and find it difficult to believe the author did not spend most of his life in Africa as he has grasped the problems, the customs, and the mindset so truthfully. Highly recommended reading – in fact this should be on the prescribed reading list of every high school as a window on a continent with a different way of life and a different mindset. Welcome to the world of Africa.

Anne-Marie Reynolds

The Dung Beetles of Liberia by Daniel V. Meier, Jr. is a young adult adventure novel based on true events. Ken Verrier is unhappy, feeling guilty over the death of his brother and wrestling with the turbulence of Ishmael. He makes a snap decision to leave college and find a way to face his demons, leaving his friends and family in shock, especially his girlfriend. He’s heading to Liberia, one of the richest countries in Africa, but he could never have guessed what he was going to go through. He soon learns when he takes a job flying for an air transport company and flies into the interior bush. He sees for himself how desperate the Congo and country people are living in the 1960s, descendants of the American Colonization Policy introduced by President Monroe in the 1800s, a policy that sent the slaves back to Africa as free people. Ken has to learn to think on his feet and what he finds in Liberia puts his demons firmly in their place. Welcome to a world of politics, corruption, and bribery combined with a beautiful landscape and a mixed tapestry of culture.

The Dung Beetles of Liberia: A Novel Based on True Events by Daniel V. Meier, Jr. is a fantastic story written by a talented writer. Right from the start, the book pulls you in, drawing you ever deeper into a complicated web that really started in the 1800s. Set in the 1960s, we follow Ken as he slays his demons and grows up while living through an extraordinary adventure, sometimes terrifying, sometimes funny, in a journey you will never forget. Even long after you finish this book, you will find yourself back there, as you remember things that happened. This is incredibly well-written, descriptive to the point that you really feel you are there and with amazing character development. It is historically and culturally factual, with several stories delicately weaved into one awesome, colorful tapestry and it will leave you with many questions and thoughts whirling around your head. I hope there is more to this story; it felt as if it ended too soon.

Josie Drewyer

I loved this book! It was a very exciting read from the first page to the last! I highly recommend it to all readers!