Just read, Explorers of the Nile by Tim Jeal

IMG_0495A proper ‘ripping yarn’ this, aptly subtitled Triumph and Tragedy of a Great Victorian Adventure. The exploration part was fascinating, I knew a bit about exploration of Africa from reading about Mungo Park and David Livingstone but this book brings in a host of other characters, from Henry Morton Stanley to lesser known explorers such as John Hanning Speke, their guides, translators and helpers, tribal chiefs and many more. It is absolutely fascinating. The ‘scramble for Africa’ part at the end is no less fascinating and quite tragic. What really comes across is how the explorers genuinely thought they were opening the continent to ‘commerce and Christianity’ as Livingstone famously put it and all campaigned to end the slave trade, once the continent was ‘opened up’ other ideas, ideologies and political games took over. Despite the sad reality of later imperialism, I’m very glad I read this book, it’s very well researched and a rewarding read.

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