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Explorers of the Nile: The Triumph and Tragedy of a Great Victorian Adventureby Tim Jeal
Synopses & Reviews
"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 Stanleys public career and intimate life have been misunderstood and undervalued. Jeal recovers the reality of Stanleys 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 Stanleys rise to success, his friendships and romantic relationships, and his life-changing decision to assume an American identity. Stanleys 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.
From the best-selling author of Stanley, a riveting account of the explorers who risked everything in their search for the source of the Nile
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.
R.S.S. Baden-Powell, who founded the Boy Scouts movement in 1908, was a British military hero during the Boer War and an author, actor, artist, spy, sportsman, and female impersonator. In this absorbing and humane account of Baden-Powells extraordinary life, Tim Jeal reveals for the first time the complex figure behind the saintly public mask, showing him to be a man of both dazzling talents and crippling secret fears.
Reviews of the earlier edition:
Baden-Powells life story is as rich and engrossing as any of his memorable campfire yarns . . . a monumental biography.”—Zara Steiner, New York Times Book Review
In an age of good biographies, here is one that deserves to be called great . . . a magnificent book.”—Piers Brendon, Mail on Sunday
Jeals Baden-Powell is brave and self-seeking, devious and honorable, a domestic paragon whose repressed homosexuality fired his career, a soldier of genius who ultimately rejected militarism. . . . The story that Tim Jeal has to tell is epic, funny, and touching.”—Philip Oakes, New Statesman
Superb.”—Ian Buruma, New York Review of Books
About the Author
Tim Jeal, a highly acclaimed biographer and novelist, is the author of Livingstone, also published by Yale University Press.
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