And now it sounds like the book is awful, but it’s definitely not! I enjoyed it there and then and I definitely learnt a lot about Germany at that time in history. I just wish it was more to it.
“I would have run to him, only I was a coward in the presence of such a mob – would have embraced him, but that I did not know how he would receive me; so I did what moral cowardice and false pride suggested was the best thing – walked deliberately to him, took off my hat, and said: “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?””
Henry M. Stanley was hired to find Dr. Livingstone who had been missing in Central Africa for years. He sets off from Zanzibar with a large party of men, horses and donkeys, and much cloth and beads to trade with the various Arab sheiks and natives along the way. But the horses aren’t made for the tough African conditions, the men desert or die of illness and trading with a hundred different tribes is not easy. Yet he succeeds, and locates Livingstone close to Lake Tanganyika just nine months after departing.
I have been asking myself why I chose to read this particular book now while reading. I seem to have been stuck in a explorers’ theme, both fictional and non-fictional. I think this is the first book that I wish had fewer details, I have a feeling that I know every nook and cranny of his route, yet I had to read wikipedia to zoom out. Still, it is an interesting read, I learnt a lot about the Arab slave trade which I stumbled upon first in Paradise by Abdulrazak Gurnah, and then Out of Africa by Karen Blixen. And the description of the various tribes and races are not so horrible as could be expected at that time, but still not impressive.
The big question now is what to read next? I’m really enjoying the Wandering Falcon by Jamil Ahmad, but I need something less serious to read as well. Any suggestions?
“Now, as I examined my creased map, none of that mattered. I looked up at the tangle of trees and creepers around me, and at the biting flies and mosquitoes that left streaks of blood on my skin. I had lost my guide. I was out of food and water. Putting the map back in my pocket, I pressed forward, trying to find my way out, as branches snapped in my face. Then I saw something moving in the trees. “Who’s there” I called. There was no reply. A figure flitted among the branches, and then another. They were coming closer, and for the first time I asked myself, What the hell am I doing here?”
Percy Harrison Fawcett was a famous explorer of the Amazon, and he disappeared in the jungle with his son and his son’s friend in 1925 when he was looking for an ancient city called Z. Fawcett became even more famous after his death, many disappeared into the Amazon when trying to find him and people even established cults devoted to him.
David Grann tells the excellent tale of the explorer’s life and his disappearance, but also about his own adventures into the Amazon 80 years after Fawcett. He hopes to find more clues about the disappearance and the city Fawcett was looking for.
I loved this book. David Grann has done an excellent job researching Fawcett and the Amazon. It is a thrilling adventure and I really felt the jungle while reading. As I read it on my Kindle, I highlighted parts of the text because I really liked what I read.
“The electric lights went out in Manaus,” the historian Robin Furneaux wrote. “The opera house was silent and the jewels which had filled it were gone… Vampire bats circled the chandeliers of the broken palaces and spiders scurried across their floors.”