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Stanley by Tim Jeal
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Stanley

by Tim Jeal

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An interesting biography of the journalist and explorer which introduces evidence from Stanley's diaries and letters to counter the prevailing image of him as a brutal opportunist who colluded with Belgium's King Leopold in ruthlessly exploiting the people and resources of the Congo basin. I was most impressed by the accounts of Stanley's trans-African journeys, which were quite amazing. ( )
  nmele | Apr 6, 2013 |
This was maybe a little too long for my interest level in Stanley. Exhaustive. And a little apologetic. ( )
  AlCracka | Apr 2, 2013 |
PLodding. Parts great but more than I ever wanted to know about his sex life. ( )
  JBGUSA | Mar 31, 2013 |
Written with access to a wealth of new documentary material, Jeal goes a long way toward rehabilitating Stanley's clearly erroneous reputation for bloodthirsty conquest, etc. Even so, Stanley is not a terrifically sympathetic character, as ambitious as he was. If anything, this biography is a case study in why it's better in the end to tell the truth, instead of having to weave one tissue of lies to cover another tissue of lies. ( )
  cornerhouse | May 11, 2009 |
I liked this, though I quickly grew to dislike Jeal and his constant refrain of "no one else has ever used these materials or drawn these conclusions - everyone else has always been wrong about Stanley and I alone am right!" He wrote a biography of Livingstone in which I gather he claimed to be the only person ever who didn't think Livingstone was an angel, and in this he claims to be the only person ever who didn't think Stanley was a devil. It is a very good biography when the biographer keeps his ego out of it, which he sometimes manages to do for twenty pages at a time.
1 vote atheist_goat | Sep 16, 2008 |
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Epigraph
... away from people who had already made up their minds about me, I could be different. I could introduce myself as ... a boy of dignity and consequence, and without any reason to doubt me people would believe I was that boy. I recognised no obstacle to miraculous change but the incredulity of others ... Tobias Wolff, This Boy's Life
Dedication
To my sister, Thomasina
First words
Chapter One: John Rowlands - who would one day be known to the world as Henry Morton Stanley - was five and a half when a great disaster befell him. His grandfather, Mose Parry - once a prosperous butcher, but now living in reduced circumstances - dropped dead in a potato field on the outskirts of the Welsh market town where John had lived all his life. The place was Denbigh, the date 22 June 1846, and the old man was seventy-five years old.
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Dr Livingstone, I presume?
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0300126255, Hardcover)

"A magnificent new life . . . [and] a superb adventure story. . . . There have been many biographies of Stanley, but Jeal's is the most felicitous, the best informed, the most complete and readable and exhaustive, profiting from his access to an immense new trove of Stanley material." -- Paul Theroux, front page, New York Times Book Review
 

Henry Morton Stanley, so the tale goes, was a cruel imperialist who connived with King Leopold II of Belgium in horrific crimes against the people of the Congo. He also conducted the most legendary celebrity interview in history, opening with, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”

 

But these perceptions are not quite true, Tim Jeal shows in this grand and colorful biography. With unprecedented access to previously closed Stanley family archives, Jeal reveals the amazing extent to which Stanley’s public career and intimate life have been misunderstood and undervalued. Jeal recovers the reality of Stanley’s life—a life of almost impossible extremes—in this moving story of tragedy, adventure, disappointment, and success.

 

Few have started life as disadvantaged as Stanley. Rejected by both parents and consigned to a Welsh workhouse, he emigrated to America as a penniless eighteen-year-old. Jeal vividly re-creates Stanley’s rise to success, his friendships and romantic relationships, and his  life-changing decision to assume an American identity. Stanley’s epic but  unfairly forgotten African journeys are thrillingly described, establishing  the explorer as the greatest to set foot on the continent. Few biographies can claim so thoroughly to reappraise a reputation; few portray a more extraordinary historical figure.

 

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:00:47 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

We think of Stanley as a cruel imperialist who connived with King Leopold II of Belgium in horrific crimes against the people of the Congo--and the journalist who conducted the most legendary celebrity interview in history, opening with, "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?" But these perceptions are not quite true, as biographer Jeal shows. With access to previously closed Stanley family archives, Jeal reveals the extent to which Stanley's career and life have been misunderstood and undervalued. Few have started life as disadvantaged as Stanley. Rejected by both parents and consigned to a Welsh workhouse, he emigrated to America as a penniless eighteen-year-old. Jeal re-creates Stanley's rise to success, his friendships and romantic relationships, and his life-changing decision to assume an American identity. Stanley's epic but unfairly forgotten African journeys are described, establishing the explorer as the greatest to set foot on the continent.--From publisher description.

» see all 2 descriptions

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Yale University Press

2 editions of this book were published by Yale University Press.

Editions: 0300126255, 0300142234

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