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How I Found Livingstone in Central Africa

3.50  ·  Rating Details  ·  362 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
Riveting firsthand account of the long and arduous search by journalist/adventurer for one of the great explorers of the 19th century. A real-life adventure story that tells of incredible hardships — disease, hostile natives, tribal warfare, impenetrable jungles, and other obstacles. Also includes a wealth of information on African peoples. 1 map.
Paperback, 640 pages
Published February 19th 2002 by Dover Publications (first published 1872)
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Jan 11, 2014 Marianne rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adventure
This book is so passionate, and so well written. To be frank, Stanley was a man who was emblematic of his time: he discusses what kind of rifles would bring down the biggest game with just one bullet, how cheerful the "dark" people are, etc. He himself possessed vast reserves of courage, tenacity, imagination. So, if you want to know what a 19th century explorer thought and felt, this book is PERFECT. It shows you the thinking of that day about race (He thankfully doesn't seem to think Britannia ...more
Joe Marlin
May 31, 2014 Joe Marlin rated it liked it
I find it strange when people ask me, was Livingstone a Christian? It was his tomb at westminster abbey, with the words engraved 'other sheep I have, and they must come also' that gave the mission we belong to founder the vision to place mission stations from the coast to lake chad, just after recovering from malaria and burring his brother in the Congo.

In striking contrast to Stanley, and many other explores of the time, Livingstone stands out as a man who fell in love not only with the geograp
Abdullah Almuslem
Oct 01, 2014 Abdullah Almuslem rated it it was amazing
I intended to give this book a 4 stars but the end of the book is astonishing. i thought Stanley is a rude racist American which is a conclusion I reached reading through the event he encountered but his last speech to his black servants gives another side of the man:

"You are now about to return to Unyanyembe, to the 'Great Master'. You know him; you know he is a good man, and has a kind heart. He is different from me; he will not beat you, as I have done. But you know I have rewarded you all—h
Jul 22, 2016 John rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
The premise of this book is almost hard to believe--an adventurer is commissioned to find the long-missing, presumed dead, explorer/missionary David Livingstone, somewhere in the interior of Central Africa. The payoff, unfortunately, is a bit mixed.

The books is very thorough and very detailed--both of which make the book much longer than most readers would care to read. Were the book half the length, it would have made it much easier and much more engaging.

But there are truly great and worthwhil
Thom Swennes
Oct 08, 2012 Thom Swennes rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Adventure lovers
As a child my imagination ran free when I read stories or saw movies about safaris in darkest Africa. How I Found Livingstone in Central Africa by Henry M. Stanley, born John Rowlands (28 January 1841 – 10 May 1904), relates the story of a quest into the unknown. The New York based correspondent Henry M. Stanley undertook an unbelievably difficult mission to find a Scottish doctor in the unexplored depths of the central African jungles. Beginning and end of his was on the island of Zanzibar, whe ...more
This book wasn't as interesting as I thought it would be. I was really impressed by Stanley's use of local names and languages, he says Kiswahili instead of Swahili as this is the true name of the language. He details what is really difficult for people to travel and explore the continent of Africa. It contains so much wildlife including insects and I am thinking microbes that it is a very difficult place for people to survive. In fact in the areas covered with jungle, there were very few inhabi ...more
Richard Taylor
Feb 18, 2014 Richard Taylor rated it liked it
I read this book as a young boy and wanted to re-read it as an adult. This was a book that set me on an early path of seeking adventure and exploration. In this reading I latched onto one quote attributed to someone named Zimmerman that I hung on my wall:

"The unencumbered mind recalls all that it has read, all that pleased the eye, and delighted the ear; and reflecting on every idea which either observation, or experience, or discourse had produced, gains new information by every reflection."
Rich Carney
I definitely see why so many say he was an embellisher at least, and likely a liar. The story just has large inconsistencies and is at times too fantastical. However, it's still an excellent read and a great historical perspective, considering the point of view of the author.
Stanley's first hand account of his trip to find Livingstone. I have never before thought about the minutiae of outfitting an expedition, but Stanley goes into painstaking detail- the amount of food, gifts for the chiefs on the way, the guides that must be employed etc. This is very dry and tedious. Stanley claims at the beginning that he believes all men are equal regardless of color, which I thought was a remarkably enlightened view for an adventurer back in the 1800's. Within a few pages tho ...more
Aug 18, 2011 Kathy rated it liked it
I am amazed at what Stanley went through to find the explorer Livingstone, who was feared to be dead in the middle of (then) impenetrable Africa. Be prepared for lots of detail, lots of tribal names (which I could not keep straight), lots of geographical explanation, which are hard to follow without a map. That said, also be prepared for interesting interactions between the American and the Africans, amazing stories of courage, and a most human retelling of Stanley's adventure. I still don't get ...more
Don Weidinger
Sep 04, 2014 Don Weidinger rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
slavery, discredit theory prove thru exploration river source, slavery takes half of man away, zebra meat finest in Africa, here the 10 plagues of Egypt.
David R.
Jun 20, 2012 David R. rated it liked it
Shelves: world-history, travel
Sir Henry Stanley was commissioned by the flamboyant publisher James Gordon Bennett Jr. in 1869 to put together an expedition into what is now the nation of Tanzania to determine the fate of the missionary David Livingstone, of whom nothing was heard for several years. This book recounts that expedition, and largely its first half. Stanley is methodical in his story telling, but rapidly becomes repetitive as we read about uncooperative "staff" and dealings with the natives, whose ethical sense i ...more
Aug 30, 2014 Wendy rated it liked it
I wish I could give it 2.5 stars. It's amazing that Stanley pulled this off without getting killed or dying from some tropical disease. He was a reporter, not an explorer. But I found it got tedious after a while. Different readers read different chapters and some were easier for me to understand than others.
Glen Brooksby
Difficult reading. It's also hard to track the geography because the place names are largely outdated. I suggest reading "Into Africa" instead. It has less detail, but better balance and perspective.
Timothy Ferguson
Jan 28, 2015 Timothy Ferguson rated it did not like it
Shelves: librivox
Well recorded, but the original author is simply a horrible human being

There's something about the period British desire to tell you how immoral and weak the natives are, while complaining that there's no sport in killing wildlife if its not going to either attack you or run away, that made me progressively loathe Stanley, until I was very glad to part company with him when the book was over.

This is, of course, a great compliment to the reader, who really made me feel like I was in the presence
Royce Ratterman
Jan 14, 2016 Royce Ratterman rated it really liked it
A good book for the researcher and enthusiast.
This is an adventure book for sure, and a true story.

Beside the African names, which are hard to remember and pronounce, it is a detailed account of Mr. Stanley's expedition to find Dr. Livingston. The book covers just the expedition and the brief time Mr. Stanley joined Dr. Livingston to do some exploration of the source of the Nile river. The book was free on Amazon eBooks which is why I read it.

One does not envy either Mr. Stanley or Dr. Livingston in their travels of Africa, but one admires
Jan 05, 2015 Jennyb rated it did not like it
Shelves: unreadable
In a word: unreadable.
Jan 06, 2014 Ron rated it liked it
The details of equipping and sustaining a trek through Africa in 1870 could be tedious to read, but this account I am receiving is via a superbly narrated audio book which I downloaded from the library. A period piece from another time that I am glad to have undertaken.
Jason Dunn
Aug 30, 2013 Jason Dunn rated it did not like it
In "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea", Jules Verne spends approximately 93,290 pages naming fish.

In "How I Found Livingstone in Central Africa", Henry Stanley does the same for African cities and landmarks.

If you enjoy watching random number generators spit nonsense into a digital bucket, you'll love reading about Ujij, Tanganyika, Burundi, Bujumbura.
Joseph (Millennium Man)
A time capsule of adventure. Early 1870's after the American Civil War. Stanley takes you along with His expedition to find Livingstone. Story was not short of details of life, hardship and dangers of travels through unexplored Africa. I appreciated finding bits of history that were overlooked, forgotten or not mentioned in history class.
Oct 09, 2011 Alan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great travel book about a famous event.
Stanley goes into great detail about everything. This can make it very interesting at times but at other times repetitive and tedious. Having said that he manages to transport you into the life and times of an early explorer of Africa with his easy descriptive writing style and his enthusiasm.
Dec 02, 2009 Steven rated it really liked it
Good perspective on exploring Africa in the 1870's. It is a long memoir but is rewarding in its description of the relationships that Stanley had to develop between the various tribes he encountered on his journey. I think he also down plays some of the difficulties and suffering he and his group experienced on this journey.
Jul 27, 2009 Ruba rated it it was ok
So I didn't finish it. As much as I enjoyed the adventure, I couldn't bear to keep up with the olde English narrative AFTER Stanley found Livingstone! Maybe I'll pick up at a later time just to wrap it all up...but I need a break.
Paul Fisher
Jan 04, 2014 Paul Fisher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Surprisingly good, I was expecting it to be very tedious, but it was entertaining and described wonderfully. A bit slow and dry in places, but you get a great sense of the hardship these explorers faced.
Mihai Alexe
Nov 10, 2009 Mihai Alexe rated it liked it
starts boring, lots of useless advice, considering it was written as a guide to the Black Continent in the 1900's, but it gets better towards the middle, so bear with Mr.'s an adventure
Sep 13, 2010 David rated it really liked it
Can't wait to get further into this book! But the first paragraphs have really grabbed me. only 705 more pages to go!
Ron Smith
Oct 03, 2012 Ron Smith rated it liked it
Like the journey itself, the book is a bit of a slog. But if Stanley can stick with it, so can I.
Jun 12, 2015 Rosche55 added it
Shelves: religious, e-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 17, 2011 Deborah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book!
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Goodreads Librari...: Add Kindle Edition 2 24 Jan 29, 2013 11:03AM  
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Henry Morton Stanley GCB, Welsh journalist and explorer of central Africa, was born John Rowlands and changed his name after his emigration to the United States in 1859. He became famous for his search for missionary and explorer David Livingstone, for his search for the source of the Nile, and his association with the Belgian King Leopold II (for whom he claimed the area south of the Congo river, ...more
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“Granted that I know little of my real self, still, I am the best evidence for myself. And though, when I have quitted this world, it will matter nothing to me what people say of me, up to the moment of death we should strive to leave behind us something which can either Comfort, Amuse, Instruct, or Benefit the living; and though I cannot do either, execpt in a small degree, even that little should be given.” 5 likes
“The study of Dr. Livingstone would not be complete if we did not take the religious side of his character into consideration. His religion is not of the theoretical kind, but it is a constant, earnest, sincere practice. It is neither demonstrative nor loud, but manifests itself in a quiet, practical way, and is always at work. It is not aggressive, which sometimes is troublesome, if not impertinent.” 2 likes
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