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Thursday, December 04, 2014

David Livingstone Presumes - To End Slavery In East Africa.


The Daring Heart of David Livingstone: Exile, African Slavery, and the Publicity Stunt That Saved Millions by Jay Millbrandt.

Most people think of David Livingstone as a great explorer, and indeed he was, but this well-written and thoroughly-researched book tells the true story of how he sacrificed everything to accomplish his ambition of abolishing slavery. This became the true purpose of his life, because he was so shocked by the brutality of the horrific slave trade run from Zanzibar, and the complicity of the British and the Portugese in allowing it to continue. Livingstone elevated this goal even above finding the source of the Nile. Eventually, he succeeded because of back-breakingly hard work and the publicity that he gained with the American journalist Stanley's help, and the slave market was closed forever.

The Daring Heart of David Livingstone: Exile, African Slavery, and the Publicity Stunt That Saved Millions by Jay Millbrandt.

This is a long and harrowing book, and  Jay Millbrandt certainly doesn't spare the reader from the details of Livingstone's sufferings.  The man who raised himself from working in the cotton mills of Glasgow to becoming a doctor, explorer, and scientist, experienced hunger, rheumatic fever and weakness in Africa.  His wife became an alcoholic, and he was separated from his children.

However, it is well-worth reading, and there are some lighter parts.  This book made me want to read more about Stanley, who became a great friend of Livingstone.  Livingstone was shocked at first by Stanley's luxurious travelling, however.  His entourage consisted of an array of porters with kettles, tents, tin baths, and a folding boat! When he sat down to breakfast with Livingstone, Stanley's servants  set out silver spoons, knives, forks and a silver teapot.  Livingstone and Stanley sat on a Persian carpet.

If you like history and reading about great explorers, this is recommended.


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