Regan's Reviews > Into Africa: The Epic Adventures of Stanley and Livingstone

Into Africa by Martin Dugard
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Jan 19, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: audiobook
Read in November, 2011 — I own a copy

I don't read a lot of non-fiction, but do like the occasional history or travel memoir. This is an extraordinary combination of both. Dugard does a great job of piecing together the various stories of several explorers and how they all led to that one famous moment when Stanley meets Livingstone.

Instead of a story just tracing a long walk around Africa, he sets it all in context of what was happening on the world stage and helps the reader understand how explorers and scientists were part of the glitterati of the era, and how that drove the effort to find Livingstone and find him first.

Since the eventual Stanley-Livingstone meeting is famous, we all know what happens. Dugard pulls off quite a trick by keeping you on the edge of your seat wanting more until that fateful moment.

Another reviewer felt that Dugard did not do enough to criticize the racism, slavery and imbalance that were so common in Africa at the time, but there is, in fact, quite a lot about the different ways that Livingstone and other explorers treated local residents, the Arab slave traders, and how desperate Livingstone had to be before he would accept assistance from the slavers.

Dugard is frank about the lives and realities of these men, both in their native countries and in Africa. He doesn't try to gloss over the truth, as has been done in earlier eras for more Victorian sensibilities, rather he gives a more complete picture including all their foibles.
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