Into Africa: The Epic Adventures of Stanley & Livingston–Book Review

Book Review: Into Africa: The Epic Adventures of Stanley & Livingston
by Martin Dugard, Doubleday
On April 4, 1866, David Livingston marched his caravan into Africa to search for the source of the Nile river and disappeared from the outside world for six years. In January 1872 journalist Henry Morton Stanley set out to find him. The story of both men’s incredible journeys is the subject matter of “Into Africa: The Epic Adventures of Stanley & Livingston” by Martin Dugard for Doubleday.
Braving disease, hostile natives, warring tribes, difficult terrain, and a host of other insurmountable odds, both men showed Herculean determination in the pursuit of their goals. Livingston was an explorer and missionary whose journal captures his love for God and the people of Africa, as well as his iron-willed quest to locate the elusive source of the Nile River. His journal entries give insight into his trials, motivations and philosophy. In one entry as he began his trek into Africa, Livingston stated, “No doubt much toil is involved, and fatigue of which travelers in more temperate climes can form but a faint conception. But the sweat of one’s brow is no longer a curse when one works for God. It proves a tonic to the system, and is actually a blessing. No one can truly appreciate the charm of repose unless he has undergone severe exertion.”
Stanley was no less zealous to find Livingston and get the story of the century. His inhumanity towards some in his party in his drive to find Livingston show a man driven to extremes. The goal was all that was important. However, when he found Livingston, he also found himself, as Livingston’s compassion and mercy towards his fellow man was to have great impact on Stanley. This is almost a belated coming-of-age story about Stanley.
For anyone who enjoys tales of adventure, “Into Africa: The Epic Adventures of Stanley & Livingston” is a worthwhile look at self-sacrifice and courage for the sake of a worthwhile goal.

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