INTO AFRICA: The Epic Adventures of Stanley & Livingstone

Martin Dugard, Author . Doubleday $24.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-385-50451-5

It is rare when a historical narrative keeps readers up late into the night, especially when the story is as well known as Henry Morgan Stanley's search for the missionary and explorer David Livingstone. But author and adventurer Dugard, who's written a biography of Capt. James Cook among other works, makes a suspenseful tale out of journalist Stanley's successful trek through the African interior to find and rescue a stranded Livingstone. Dugan has read extensively in unpublished diaries, newspapers of the time and the archives of Britain's Royal Geographical Society; he also visited the African locations central to the story. Together these sources enable him to re-create with immediacy the astounding hardships, both natural and manmade, that Africa put in the path of the two central characters. Dugard also presents thoughtful insights into the psychology of both Stanley and Livingstone, whose respective responses to Africa could not have differed more. Stanley was bent on beating Africa with sheer force of will, matching it brutality for brutality, while Livingstone, possessed of spirituality and a preternatural absence of any fear of death, responded to the continent's harshness with patience and humility. Descriptions of the African landscape are vivid, as are the descriptions of malaria, dysentery, sleeping sickness, insect infestations, monsoons and tribal wars, all of which Stanley and Livingstone faced. More disturbing, however is Dugard's depiction of the prosperous Arab slave trade, which creates a sense of menace that often reaches Conradian intensity. This is a well-researched, always engrossing book. Agent, Eric Simonoff. (On sale May 6)

Reviewed on: 02/17/2003
Release date: 05/01/2003
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