The Race for Timbuktu: In Search of Africa's City of Gold

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9780060560652: The Race for Timbuktu: In Search of Africa's City of Gold

In the first decades of the nineteenth century, no place burned more brightly in the imagination of European geographers - and fortune hunters - than the lost city of Timbuktu. Africa's legendary City of Gold, not visited by Europeans since the Middle Ages, held the promise of wealth and fame for the first explorer to make it there. In 1824, the French Geographical Society offered a cash prize to the first expedition from any nation to visit Timbuktu and return to tell the tale. Unwilling to trust in the slender chances of a lone explorer, the British sent several on their way. "The Race for Timbuktu" follows Major Alexander Gordon Laing's arduous trek across an unforgiving Sahara, battling unpredictable elements, crippling illness, vicious attacks - and the clock - to be the first white man in centuries to reach the gates of Timbuktu. In bringing Laing's dramatic story to life, Frank T. Kryza also provides a narrative history of the first phase of the colonization of Africa, which in less than a century would see nearly every square mile of the continent occupied by the nations of Europe.

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An engrossing and well-organised account[Frank Kryza] paints a vivid portrait of the contradictory characters of the many rival explorers. -- The Economist, January 7, 2006

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Inc, United States, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 201 x 137 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. In the first decades of the nineteenth century, no place burned more brightly in the imagination of European geographers--and fortune hunters--than the lost city of Timbuktu. Africa s legendary City of Gold, not visited by Europeans since the Middle Ages, held the promise of wealth and fame for the first explorer to make it there. In 1824, the French Geographical Society offered a cash prize to the first expedition from any nation to visit Timbuktu and return to tell the tale. One of the contenders was Major Alexander Gordon Laing, a thirty-year-old army officer. Handsome and confident, Laing was convinced that Timbuktu was his destiny, and his ticket to glory. In July 1825, after a whirlwind romance with Emma Warrington, daughter of the British consul at Tripoli, Laing left the Mediterranean coast to cross the Sahara. His 2,000-mile journey took on an added urgency when Hugh Clapperton, a more experienced explorer, set out to beat him. Apprised of each other s mission by overseers in London who hoped the two would cooperate, Clapperton instead became Laing s rival, spurring him on across a hostile wilderness. An emotionally charged, action-packed, utterly gripping read, The Race for Timbuktu offers a close, personal look at the extraordinary people and pivotal events of nineteenth-century African exploration that changed the course of history and the shape of the modern world. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780060560652

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Inc, United States, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 201 x 137 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. In the first decades of the nineteenth century, no place burned more brightly in the imagination of European geographers--and fortune hunters--than the lost city of Timbuktu. Africa s legendary City of Gold, not visited by Europeans since the Middle Ages, held the promise of wealth and fame for the first explorer to make it there. In 1824, the French Geographical Society offered a cash prize to the first expedition from any nation to visit Timbuktu and return to tell the tale. One of the contenders was Major Alexander Gordon Laing, a thirty-year-old army officer. Handsome and confident, Laing was convinced that Timbuktu was his destiny, and his ticket to glory. In July 1825, after a whirlwind romance with Emma Warrington, daughter of the British consul at Tripoli, Laing left the Mediterranean coast to cross the Sahara. His 2,000-mile journey took on an added urgency when Hugh Clapperton, a more experienced explorer, set out to beat him. Apprised of each other s mission by overseers in London who hoped the two would cooperate, Clapperton instead became Laing s rival, spurring him on across a hostile wilderness. An emotionally charged, action-packed, utterly gripping read, The Race for Timbuktu offers a close, personal look at the extraordinary people and pivotal events of nineteenth-century African exploration that changed the course of history and the shape of the modern world. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780060560652

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