Stanley: The Making of an African Explorer

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9780094624207: Stanley: The Making of an African Explorer

Sir Henry Morton Stanley, is known popularly for his celebrated meeting with David Livingstone. But Stanley is by any reckoning a key figure in the history of the European penetration of the African continent. He was also a man of intriguing psychological complexity - a complexity which Frank McLynn seeks to understand. In this book the author focuses on the years 1841-1877, the most dramatic and fascinating years of Stanley's long life. Stanley was one of the great achievers of the 19th century. Born in poverty and illegitimacy, with an infancy spent in a Welsh workhouse, he survived a series of incredible adventures at sea and in the USA to emerge as a journalist of talent after the American Civil War. His courage on the British Ethiopian expedition to chastise Emperor Theodore brought him to the attention of James Gordon Bennett, proprieter of the "New York Herald Tribune" who commissioned him to find Livingstone in darkest Africa. His historic meeting with Livingstone at Ujiji in 1871 ("Dr Livingstone, I presume") was the scoop of the century. It brought him fame and fortune and the opportunity to carry out the greatest single feat in the whole of African exploration: crossing the continent from east to west and following the Congo to its Atlantic mouth. Behind these monumental achievements was a man who was a pathological liar, with sadomasochistic tendencies, who himself occupied a blurred middle-ground between fantasy and reality.

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Review:

"This vast book is packed with adventures" ( Independent)

"Excellent...entertaining, well-researched and scrupulously annotated" ( Spectator)

"Meticulously and grippingly told" ( Evening Standard)

"Splendid, deep-delving biography" ( Guardian)

"Captivating" ( Literary Review)

From the Publisher:

'He has built up the narrative from the widest possible range of sources. He has integrated into a single man's story analyses of almost every subject that touched upon Stanley's life, so that one is finally presented with a portrait not only of an individual, but also an entire society and its ethos-another biography of Stanley will not only be unnecessary, but almost impossible, for years to come.' Mark Cocker, Sunday Telegraph

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