4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 23 May 2013
After enjoying both Stanley and the Explorers of the Nile I was pleased to see the authors original Livingstone biography from the 70s got a bit of a repolish from the material garnered from researching these books. Although it feels a bit like a thesis in parts the author successfully explains and dismantels many of the myths around Livingstone. In many respects the book has the opposite effect on the reader of the Stanley book, which was as much about rehabilitating a complex mis-understood character as the Livingstone book is about questioning the real success and motivation of a man who has become a British institution. The author's writing style is well-paced, informative and very easy to read for such a substantial amount of material so would absolutely recommend those who have enjoyed previous books by the author also get this.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 21 April 2013
This new and expanded version of David Livingstone by Tim Jeal provides a new insight into the subjects character which has not been highlighted in previous biographies of the Victorian missionary and explorer. Jeal has obtained access to previously unknown or available sources and his in-depth appraisal of these shows a much darker side to Livingstone during his years in Africa prior to his meeting with Stanley. His single-minded ruthlessness was responsible for the deaths of many people, both European (including his wife Mary) and countless Africans. His success as an explorer far out-weighs his exploits as a missionary, which can be summarised as a total failure, even though some of his predictions for the colonisation of central-southern Africa and the enduring impact on the populations living there, were subsequently proved to be correct. For those interested in African exploration, particularly the myths surrounding Livingstone and Stanley, this book is highly recommended.