In 1866, Britain's foremost explorer, David Livingstone, went in search of the source of the Nile. He was not seen again for nearly six years. This was not the first long term expedition Livingstone had undertaken, but it was rare for him not to send regular reports back to London. To all intents and purposes he had disappeared into the African ...
In 1866, Britain's foremost explorer, David Livingstone, went in search of the source of the Nile. He was not seen again for nearly six years. This was not the first long term expedition Livingstone had undertaken, but it was rare for him not to send regular reports back to London. To all intents and purposes he had disappeared into the African jungle. The British government made no efforts to try and trace Livingstone, believing it an impossible task. Five years after his disappearance, however, the quest was taken up by an American newspaper, the "New York Herald". The "Herald"'s ambitious, eccentric (and circulation hungry) publisher, James Gordon Bennett, sent his top reporter, one Henry Stanley, to track Livingstone down. So began Stanley's African odyssey which was to culminate ten months later with the famous phrase "Dr Livingstone, I presume". History has portrayed Stanley as a great adventurer, the intrepid explorer who braved the African wilderness to find the ailing Livingstone. This account tells a slightly different story. Dugard argues that Stanley was at a loss in Africa, had little experience of travel and was out of his depth in this strange and foreign land, having to rely entirely on his guides. He was petrified by this wild land and often struck down by tropical illness. The man who led him to Livingstone, the man who deserves the credit which Stanley has since been lauded with, was his guide, Sidi Mubarak Bombay. But Stanley's journey was an emotional as well as a physical one. Arriving in Africa he was frightened by the scale and strangeness of this new land, ignorant of the local culture, and belligerent in his belief in colonial supremacy. But slowly as his journey progressed he awoke to the beauty of Africa, the grandeur of her landscape and the vivid diversity of her wildlife. Here is a true adventure story, set against the most dramatic of backdrops and featuring two of history's most enduring heroes.
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