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Explorers of the Nile: The Triumph and…
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Explorers of the Nile: The Triumph and Tragedy of a Great Victorian… (original 2011; edition 2012)

by Tim Jeal

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146281,994 (3.71)5
Member:peju.peju
Title:Explorers of the Nile: The Triumph and Tragedy of a Great Victorian Adventure
Authors:Tim Jeal
Info:Faber and Faber (2012), Paperback, 528 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:history, travel

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Explorers of the Nile: The Triumph and Tragedy of a Great Victorian Adventure by Tim Jeal (2011)

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I found this very interesting - see my review http://www.dnsmedia.co.uk/reviews/view/1099 ( )
  AnneHudson | Dec 26, 2012 |
Very interesting history of the European discovery of central Africa during the search for the source of the Nile, mainly in the 1860s and 70s. The primary actors were Richard Francis Burton, John Hanning Speke, James Grant, Henry Morton Stanley, David Livingstone and Samuel Baker, although there are more in this generous book. Jeal recounts their journeys with an emphasis on setting the record straight behind the legends built up over the years. He reveals Burton to be a duplicitous jerk hardly worthy of the title "explorer", while John Hanning Speke, historically vilified, is the surprise hero of the story. The relationship of Livingstone and Stanley is revealing in how the later was able to leverage the formers good reputation into his own by deifying his mentor. The wealthy gentleman explorer Samuel Baker and his slave/wife was a story I had never heard of but fascinating for their accomplishments and experiences. Their story would make great fiction or film. Baker also seems to have written the most readable contemporary account, The Albert N'yanza; great basin of the Nile, and explorations of the Nile sources, though Speke's book Journal of the Discovery of the Source of the Nile looks good too. Tim Jeal is probably the most authoritative writer on this subject and this book moves the scholarship forward with his discovery of Spekes previously unpublished papers. Jeal has previously published detailed biographies of Livingstone and of Stanley, so he doesn't go into lengthy bios in this book, but does give pretty detailed accounts of the expeditions in search of the Nile and places them in context with African history that makes it more than just an adventure story. ( )
2 vote Stbalbach | Feb 11, 2012 |
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“Explorers of the Nile” is a brilliant, scholarly and at times almost unreadably vivid account of the two decades in the middle of the 19th century when the search for the Nile’s source in central Africa was at its height, told through the interlocking stories of Livingstone, Richard Burton, John Hanning Speke, James Grant, Samuel Baker and Henry Morton Stanley.
 
"Explorers of the Nile," Tim Jeal's engaging biographical study of the 19th-century adventurers who dared—clamored, even—to face these dangers does not stint on the brutal deaths met by many of them: Mungo Park probably drowned, Richard Lander was shot, the Dutchwoman Alexine Tinné was hacked to death, the French naval officer M. Maizan was mutilated, then beheaded. Yet reports of these grim ends seemed, if anything, a spur to other explorers, and Mr. Jeal examines the reasons, both spoken and unspoken, behind this lust for discovery.
added by tim.taylor | editThe Wall Street Journal, Judith Flanders (pay site) (Nov 12, 2011)
 
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"Nothing obsessed explorers of the mid-nineteenth century more than the quest to discover the source of the White Nile. It was the planet's most elusive secret, the prize coveted above all others. Between 1856 and 1876, six larger-than-life men and one extraordinary woman accepted the challenge. Showing extreme courage and resilience, Richard Burton, John Hanning Speke, James Augustus Grant, Samuel Baker, Florence von Sass, David Livingstone, and Henry Morton Stanley risked their lives and reputations in the fierce competition. Award-winning author Tim Jeal deploys fascinating new research to provide a vivid tableau of the unmapped 'Dark Continent,' its jungle deprivations, and the courage--as well as malicious tactics--of the explorers. On multiple forays launched into east and central Africa, the travelers passed through almost impenetrable terrain and suffered the ravages of flesh-eating ulcers, paralysis, malaria, deep spear wounds, and even death. They discovered Lakes Tanganyika and Victoria and became the first white people to encounter the kingdoms of Buganda and Bunyoro. Jeal weaves the story with authentic new detail and examines the tragic unintended legacy of the Nile search that still casts a long shadow over the people of Uganda and Sudan."--Publisher's website.… (more)

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