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Explorers of the Nile: The Triumph and Tragedy of a Great Victorian Adventure MP3 CD – Audiobook, 26 Dec 2011


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Product details

  • MP3 CD
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio; MP3 Una edition (26 Dec. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1452655421
  • ISBN-13: 978-1452655420
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.5 x 18.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,536,767 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

A splendid account. --Bernard Porter, Guardian

A vivid tale of adventure . . . Tim Jeal's wonderful book is filled with anecdotes and brilliant cameos, which keep the narrative fresh and sparklingly alive. --Literary Review

'Tim Jeal's masterly book ... can safely supplant Alan Moorehead's 1960 classic, The White Nile ... Jeal also knows how to tell a fabulous story, and he lets old-fashioned epic adventure sit at the heart of his fine book.' --Sunday Times

'Tim Jeal's wonderfully entertaining and authoritative account of the search for the Nile and its consequences ... There is something intensely moving about the way in which Jeal has sought to restore Speke's reputation.' --John Preston, Sunday Telegraph

'Tim Jeal's gripping book pulls the whole astonishing story together. Many a red-blooded Spectator reader will relish it, and buy it, since it's as intricate and unexpected as the source of the river itself ... All the main players were British, all examples of grit, resourcefulness and courage on a heroic scale, each emerging in vibrant contrast ... How intimately Tim Jeal knows them all, and brings them back to life for us.' --Tom Stacey, The Spectator

'This engrossing book is a great feat, important not only for shedding fresh light on a tale of Victorian endeavour and pride but also for reminding us of the far-reaching consequences of European intrusion into the hear of Africa.' --Benedict Allen, Independent on Sunday

'Tim Jeal's masterly overview of the two key decades of exploration of the Central African lake district from 1856 onwards ... The complicated narrative is well told with exemplary scholarship and compelling lucidity ... One of the fascinations of Jeal's book and his account of this astonishing period of exploration is that it makes great efforts to strip away the accumulated myths and through this process we can begin to see these 'heroic' figures plain, to imagine them as they were to their contemporaries.' --William Boyd, TLS

'There are few greater stories than the race to the Nile's source ... Tim Jeal gives a fine reprise, bringing together in one well-paced narrative the interlocking Nilotic adventures ... its place [is] alongside the classics of Victorian explorer history.' --Tim Butcher, Daily Telegraph

'This brilliant book offers a new insight into the quest for the source of the Nile. Before imperialism ... men had more poetic and heroic motives for exploration ... There was an eccentric nobility in their exploits ... Jeal jolts us out of the standard stiff upper-lip routines ... [and] makes one wonder how any survived.' --Sinclair McKay, Mail on Sunday

'Tim Jeal's achievement in this colourful, fascinating book is to have found letters and previously uncollected papers which refute the accepted story. It may be too late to grant Speke a posthumous knighthood, but it must be heartwarming to his descendants to know the truth.' --Christopher Hudson, Daily Mail

'Tim Jeal's splendid new account of the Europeans who braved the 'Dark Continent' ... Joseph Conrad called explorers of unknown landscapes 'conquerors of truth' because they wove heroic myths about themselves. No one has done more to dispel these myths than Tim Jeal.' --Piers Brendon, The Oldie

'Tim Jeal's achievement in this colourful, fascinating book is to have found letters and previously uncollected papers which refute the accepted story. It may be too late to grant Speke a posthumous knighthood, but it must be heartwarming to his descendants to know the truth.' -- --Christopher Hudson, Daily Mail

'Masterly book ... it's also a thoroughly ripping yarn ... Jeal knows how to tell a fabulous story, and he lets old-fashioned epic adventure sit at the heart of his fine book.' --Sunday Times, Paperback of the Week --Observer

'Splendidly absorbing account.' --Independent

'A masterful account of one of the most exciting periods in exploration.' --Observer --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

Explorers of the Nile: The Triumph and Tragedy of a Great Victorian Adventure, from Tim Jeal - author of the bestselling Stanley - is the epic Victorian story of the search for the source of the Nile. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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49 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Travelista on 24 Sept. 2011
Format: Hardcover
What makes this book so memorable is the way the individual stories of these insanely brave explorers are told in dramatic episodes which combine to give a panoramic picture of the whole far-flung search for the Nile's source. Jeal has found out more about these extraordinary people than has been revealed before. Speke was no prim, cold fish but fell head over heals in love with a former wife of the King of Uganda and helped the Queen Mother cope with her period pains, her grief for her dead husband, and her excessive drinking. Burton was jealous and untruthful and so ill he had to be carried for months at a time, though later claiming he did most of the exploring during his time with Speke. Livingstone was egotistical and vain but also amazingly self-sacrificing and able to endure awful pain while travelling. The horrifying illnesses and privations suffered by the explorers as they struggled through jungles and along rivers are graphically described in this marvellously detailed account of one of the greatest feats of exploration ever attempted. There is humor too, as when Livingstone washes his hair with foaming soap and the watching Africans (who have never seen soap lather before) think he has taken out his brain. Speke often found that his shoes were of particular interest to people who always went barefoot. The vivid details in this book are as enjoyable as the wide sweep of it.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. Ia Platings on 27 Nov. 2011
Format: Hardcover
Explorers of the Nile.

After reading the very entertaining correspondence on the book which followed William Boyd's review in the TLS, I downloaded the free sample onto my Kindle too see for myself what the fuss was about. I soon realised after the first few pages that this was a book I actually wanted to own, so went on to buy it in hardback. This is indeed Tim Jeal's magnum opus; the book is exceptionally well researched and the writing makes for a compelling read. Both my son and husband started the book and were quickly hooked before I managed to claim it back. The stories of Livingstone, Burton, Speke, Stanley, and Baker et al are woven into an honest narrative, which includes much new information and a reappraisal of Speke since the last book on the Nile explorers was published in 1960. The Burton publicity machine had made Speke out to be a bounder and a cad, (and a sexless one at that) which Tim Jeal's researches have proved to be patently untrue.

That any of the Victorian explorers made it out of Africa alive is a remarkable feat in itself, as their journeys relied on political quick-thinking - as well as extreme physical endurance - due to the Arab slave-traders and their treaties with local kingdoms. Jeal extends the time-frame from the 1850s into the present with Southern Sudan and Northern Uganda. He explains how the boundary set by the British cut in half natural genetic ties between peoples which has gone on to create political instability in the two countries.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Michael S on 14 Dec. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Tim Jeal is an expert on the subject having written biographies of Livingstone and Stanley and here covers some of the same material.

He updates the celebrated Moorhouse books on the search for the origin of the Nile, bringing in masses of recent research. The characters are an amazing array of adventurers, each risking life in Africa for a variety of reasons. The book is reminiscent of a recent book on Everest: none of the locals had any idea why the outsider white man wanted to carry out this exploration at such cost and risk to life.

Jeal's hero is Stanley. He reinstates Speake at the expense of Burton and presents Livingstone as unsaintlike. None of them seems likeable but immensely courageous and driven.The brutality, racism and snobbery of the time is quite nauseating. Deaths are recorded like the loss of chessmen rather than the extinction of real human lives.

If there is a fault in the book it is perhaps that it tries to cover too much ground, bringing the story up to date in a pacy way but sometimes reading like a history textbook, rather than creating, as it does at its best, a real sense of what this kind of exploration must really have been like.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By markr TOP 500 REVIEWER on 17 Mar. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a fascinating account of the incredible efforts made by a small number of explorers in the mid 19th century to discover the source of the Nile. The terrible hardships, dangers, illnesses, and complete exhaustion suffered by all of these remarkably brave people during their journeys into the then unknown are brought to life by Tim Neal in this engaging and and informative book.

The first two thirds or so of the book focuses on the explorers' journeys, characters and motivations, particularly Burton, who does not emerge in an attractive light, Speke, who does not get the credit he deserves for his work or character, Livingston, Stanley, Baker, and Baker's fiancee who was a former slave. All of them hated slavery and some, particularly Livingston and Baker, begged the British government to intervene to bring it to an end, but all had to make compromises with slave dealers in order to progress and to survive The relationships between the explorers and their parties with local rulers and their peoples are engrossing, and brought to life with numerous anecdotes. Neal has carried out extensive research from the writings of the main characters, both public and private, and has used this very effectively to shed new light on their actions, motivations and relationships.

The second part of the book deals with the effects of the explorations, and the subsequent 'scramble for africa', bringing the consequences up to the present day. Whilst very informative and enjoyable, this section of the book seems a little rushed, and could easily have been a book in its own right, rather than almost an addition to the main body of this book.

This is a small niggle though - Tim Neal has given us a highly readable account of these amazing journeys of exploration and the very brave people who undertook them.

Recommended
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