Monday, November 26, 2012

How I Found Livingstone

"Dr. Livingstone, I presume?" misquote from Sir Stanley.

I've been reading How I Found Livingstone by Sir Henry Morton Stanley.  (Currently free for Kindles on  Its a book by one of the world's greatest explorers, in Stanley, and about his travels through Africa.

Its quite interesting with the accounts of traveling trough various places, the need for cloth and beads as money, the wars of the native Africans, etc.  Apparently most of the native Africans could find their own food but could not make cloth or beads.

It is amazing how many porters were engaged simply to walk across Africa.  They needed to haul lots of cloth, lots of food, and white travelers often traveled with pots and pans and silverware of good quality.  All those things must have added greatly to the difficulty of traveling.

But the writing is not so good.  The subjects of each paragraph are often totally different from the last paragraph.  The book seems more to be the steady account of information for newspaper reporting that it was (it was financed by the New York Herald) rather than a singularly written story like we usually expect.

In all its rather interesting, but if you want to read about African exploring of more than one hundred years ago, then I suggest Elephant Hunting in East Equatorial Africa by Arthur Newmann.  If you want to learn some more about the Africans of that time, then I suggest that you read my favorite book, Bell of Africa by W.D.M. Bell.  Bell of Africa is about elephant hunting.  But it also details many observations of the Africans.

How I found Livingstone is an interesting book, but it suffers from being of a similar nature to my two favorite books of non-fiction, mentioned in the previous paragraph, and is not as well written, nor does this book include elephant hunting.

An okay book, not a great one.

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