29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Meet the very human Henry Stanley, 5 Mar. 2007
This biography is incredibly moving and revealing. It is a miracle that Stanley ever became one of the all time great explorers - perhaps the greatest. He was abandoned by his parents at birth and later dumped in a Welsh workhouse by his uncles from age six to fifteen - enough to wreck any life one would think. But Stanley survived this disaster by re-inventing himself. First he emigrated to America,where he pretended he had been adopted so he could tell his unloving and selfish family that someone else had truly valued him. He then proved his worth to them by becoming a successful journalist and then by carrying out the first and most surprising celebrity interview in history, finding Dr Livingstone in central Africa. With new papers, Tim Jeal tells the story of all Stanley's romances with women - many of them very sad, as when the rich woman who married him did so when really loving another man and only married Stanley for his fame. Stanley comes across as a complicated but trusting man who wanted to believe in people but was often deceived by them. With his great journeys he ended the unsolved geographical mysteries of cenral Africa. Jeal's descriptions of these journeys are detailed and very gripping and show just how brave a man he was. In his greatest journey he traced the Congo to the Atlantic and lost half his expedition -either killed by Africans, or by fever, or drowned shooting rapids. This was a man who was thrown away but through immense courage claimed a place in history. He loved his adopted son as no-one had ever loved him. A moving end to his story.