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White Nile [Paperback]

Alan Moorehead
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Book Description

30 April 1970
The story of the Nile, from the Mountains of the Moon to the Mediterranean. The tale starts with Richard Burton and John Hanning Speke setting out to find the sources of the Nile. It continues with Baker of the Nile and his wife struggling with malaria, and of the famous greeting between Stanley and Livingstone. The book examines the results of their discoveries: the building of the Suez canal; the Khedive Ismail's appointment of Gordon as Governor-General of Sudan; and the story of the last days of Khartoum. The book concludes with Kitchener's military success at Omdurman which made Queen Victoria the ruler of the huge area from Alexandria to the highlands of Uganda and which resulted in the Nile being, for the first tiem, an open highway from Central Africa to the sea.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New impression edition (30 April 1970)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140019332
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140019339
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 10.9 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 890,280 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First Sentence
The Zanzibar that Burton and Speke first saw at the end of 1856 was a much more important place than it is today; indeed, it was almost the only centre of overseas commerce worth the name along the whole East African seaboard. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest Africa book every written 8 Jan 2001
Format:Paperback
When I first read this book I was sitting in a rural school half way up Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. I found this book on dusty bookshelf, left on its own in a collection of school books. I opened the book which starts its journey in Zanzibar....and follows the adventures and journeys of all the famous employers from Livingstone to Stanley to Baker and Speke...... If your were to read this book in Europe or America you would be on the next flight to Africa. Since reading the book, I have come back to England and brought another copy and read it more times than anything........
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing history 21 Jan 2007
By Pieter Uys HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
This book deals with history and culture along the Nile from 1798 to 1868 whilst the author's other book The White Nile explores the history from 1856 to 1900. Both books are masterpiecs of history, geography and ethnography. The Blue Nile chronicles events on the Nile from Ethiopia through Sudan to the sea but also deals with European history in the way it impacted on the Nile and the areas under discussion. It is an impressive resource of the events, the personalities involved and the people groups of this vast region.

Part One: Reconnaissance, opens with a description of Lake Tana in the highlands of Ethiopia. Although the lake is considered the primary source of the Blue Nile, the Little Abbai river which flows from the Ghis Abbai swamp is the largest tributary to Lake Tana. Where it leaves the lake, the river is called the Big Abbai. The author descibed the landscape of the highlands, the Tissat Falls about 20 miles beyond the lake and the desolate Blue Nile gorge as the river winds down the highlands to Sudan. This section also investigates the exploits of explorer James Bruce in Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia. He was the first European to reach the source of the river.

Part Two: The French in Egypt, discusses the political situation in Europe in the 1790s and the background to Napoleon's invasion of Egypt. There are detailed descriptions of the preparations and the condition of Egypt at the time with discussions of Mamluke rule and the leader Murad. The French moved as far south as Aswan and completed the conquest by October 1799. Then the English destroyed their fleet and they were trapped in Egypt.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book about European colonization of Africa 10 Aug 2008
Format:Paperback
A good book, written almost 50 years ago (at a time when many African countries were gaining independence) about the discovery, conquest and colonization of the Nile region by Europeans in the period 1850-1900. The first part of the book deals with the exploration of the source of the Nile by such people as Burton, Speke, Baker, Stanley and Livingstone. The second part of the book, in my opinion the most interesting one, deals with England's assertion of influence over Egypt and the Sudan. The most interesting chapter in that part is the one dealing with Gordon's ill fated fight against the Mahdi in Sudan in 1884-85, but other episodes are included, such as the Emin Pasha' expedition, the battle of Omdurdan (a very one sided affair which put the Sudan finally under Britain's effective possession) and the Fashoda incident that almost produced war between England and France. A good volume, even if some of the assumptions the author put forward are dated now. It is also interesting to see how slavery was regarded as a natural institution in the Muslim world as recently as a century ago.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest Arm Chair Explorers Book Ever 27 Feb 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Not much has to be said about Alan Moorehead's Blue Nile or its companion the White Nile. If you've ever wanted to be an explorer in Africa on a lazy afternoon then this is it. It's a history of a river and a travel book rolled into one. And that would be an understatement.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better edition than expected 19 Dec 2011
Format:Hardcover
Having read someone else's copy some years ago and just started on Tim Jeal's recently published 'Explorers of the Nile' I felt I needed to have my own copy of 'The White Nile'. To find I had bought a much better illustrated and produced copy than the one I had read was a pleasant surprise. Now fully briefed by Jeal's up-to-date scholarship and research I read it with slightly different eyes, but no less admiration.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amongst the best books I have read 26 Aug 2011
By Gary B
Format:Paperback
I read the author's book on The Blue Nile some years ago and always meant to read something else of his and at last got round to it. Moorehead's books are quite simply amongst the best I have ever read. Unbelievably it was written in 1960 but his words leap from the page as fresh as if they've just been set down. It is a history of the discovery of, and the events associated with the Nile for two hundred years. But more than that he gives us a detailed picture of the people involved and their relationships - often acrimonious. Neither Burton or Livingstone, though venerated, come out of it very well in my view, and Speke, who actually did find the source of the Nile, is almost unheard of today - though he has a rather large monument in Kensington Gardens, London. The book does not ignore the African and Arab characters in the history of the Nile but gives us a detailed account of the way they lived and how they viewed the European and American interlopers. I cannot recommend this book too highly.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
excellent, a very good edition with lots of illustrations and maps
Published 14 days ago by bridget villiers-stuart
5.0 out of 5 stars the blue nile
This book published as a revised edition in 1972 (first published in 1962) should be read in conjunction with the authors other book entitled White Nile published in 1971. Read more
Published 1 month ago by G. I. Forbes
4.0 out of 5 stars empire interferes again
What a fascinating read. I really did enjoy this book and I certainly learnt much about a part of the world and period of history of significance both then and today. Read more
Published 5 months ago by RMCT
5.0 out of 5 stars an excellent book
an excellent book written by a leader in his field, bring life and colour to the Nile from a black and white era
Published 12 months ago by Tim
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm ready to re-read this book immediately
I was curious to learn more about British colonial history in the Arab and African worlds and found this book by accident.
What a pleasure it has proven to read! Read more
Published 22 months ago by Thoughtful reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Enchanting and totally absorbing
Quite simply the most interesting book I have ever read. It captured my attention from the first few words right to the end. Read more
Published on 23 Aug 2011 by John Roche
5.0 out of 5 stars The source of the Nile
I read this before travelling to Uganda and the source of the Nile. It made my adventure so much more enjoyable as I could relate to the country and people with a far greater... Read more
Published on 27 Mar 2011 by Peter
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic
This is one of those books you simply fall in love with. It's like an old friend you keep coming back to, year after year. Read more
Published on 13 Sep 2009 by Miran Ali
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book
Get a hold of this book if you can. It is well written, entertaining and full of geographical and historical interest.
Published on 12 Sep 2006 by Gary B
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