Archive for September, 2011

Into Africa: The Epic Adventures of Stanley and Livingstone

September 5, 2011

After a several month break in my reading (occasioned by an unusually busy summer), I picked-up Into Africa in preparation for a trip into sub-Saharan Africa myself. I would highly recommend this fascinating, enthralling book for any fellow travelers as well as those interested in well-written historical narratives.

Into-Africa details the true adventures of Dr. David Livingstone and Henry Morton Stanley on their epic and somewhat tragic quests into the heart of Africa. Martin Dugard, the author, does an excellent job molding history into an appealing story. His deep research and use of various types of historical sources are evident in his careful presentation, and I truly enjoyed what some might see as the drier parts of the book, such as the raging debate in mid-19th century Europe on the source of the Nile River.

The book’s prose is always flowing and often riveting as first Livingstone and then Stanley press into a world of wilderness, swamps, and the unknown. The highlight of the book is how Dugard really brings Africa alive and vividly captures the travelers’ challenge in this very different world. Nearly equally impressive, however, is how Dugard weaves in the personal life stories of Livingstone and Stanley and along with them snapshots of mid-19th century England and America as well. The raw material is itself fascinating and as retold here will capture the imagination of anybody with a strong imagination and a taste for history and adventure.