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Travels in the Interior Districts of Africa Paperback – 25 Aug 2000

4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Duke University Press; 2nd ed. edition (25 Aug. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822325373
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822325376
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 2.7 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,178,488 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


"[A] classic in exploration and travel literature. . . ."
--Roy Bridges, "Cartographica"

"[A] welcome republication . . . . [of a] harrowing sequence of theft, violence, and starvation . . . ."
--Jonathan Lamb, "Studies in English Literature"

"If Travels was a film it would be gripping. As a testament to courage and commitment in the field, it provides value for college courses."
--John Gill, "Anthropology Review Database"

"[An] unusually perceptive glimpse of the common life of the African before European imperialism. . . . This edition is well analyzed, with a lengthy introduction and voluminous footnotes that significantly add to an understanding of the original document."
--Library Journal

"Marsters presents a balanced perspective on Mungo Park's writings. . . . Many who have lived and traveled in Africa and other traditional societies can also appreciate Mungo Park's experiences. They provide glimpses into a world that today is almost gone."
--Tobias J. Lanz, "Journal of Third World Studies"

"Duke University Press and editor Kate Marsters deserve praise for the publication of this attractive edition of Mungo Park's travels . . . . The introduction gives a good account of Park's life and the status of his book as a contemporary bestseller that has earned Park respect as a writer and observer ever since."
--James Searing, "International Journal of African Historical Studies"

"[T]ruly fascinating . . . . Kate Ferguson Marster's excellent edition of Park's narrative makes available to us--finally--the full text of the second edition, the instructions given to Park by the African Association, the original illustrations, the 'Negro Song, ' Park's vocabulary phrase list, Major James Rennell's essay on geography and his soon-to-be authoritative map of North Africa, and the list of the volume's subscribers. Praise is due to Marsters for her extremely valuable introduction, lively and informative throughout, and her helpful annotated bibliography at the end of the volume. Marsters does a fine job situating the work in its historical and literary contexts . . . . This edition will prove to be a valuable teaching text, as well as an authoritative and inspirational source for more scholarly work on Mungo Park.
--Linda E. Merians, "The East-Central Intelligencer"

"Western Sudan . . . means for me an episode in Mungo Park's life. It means for me the vision of a young, emaciated, fair-haired man, clad simply in a tattered shirt and worn-out breeches, gasping painfully for breath and lying on the ground in the shade of an enormous African tree (species unknown), while from a neighboring village of grass huts a charitable black-skinned woman is approaching him with a calabash full of pure cold water, a simple draught which, according to himself, seems to have effected a miraculous cure."--Joseph Conrad, from "Geography and Some Explorers

From the Back Cover

"In a time when the world has grown tame and we have to manufacture our adventures, Mungo Park's "Travels in the Interior Districts of Africa" is both an education and a delight. The Africa he entered was uncharted and unknown, the farthest outpost of a truly wild and richly mysterious planet. He was the first European to go there and come back again, and he rewarded his society--and ours--with a geographical and anthropological marvel of a book, an adventure story to cap them all."--T. Coraghessan Boyle

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By A Customer on 13 April 2002
Format: Paperback
This book depicts a trip to the West of Africa is a must for anyone who is interested in travel writing and history. It is the narrative of an educated Scottish man called Mungo Park, who is sponsored by the African Association, to adventure into the wilderness of the West of Africa in 1795 with the aim to find out which way the river Niger flowed.
The African Association, consisting of a group of professional men, desired to expand the country's knowledge of the interior of Africa. The Association's thirst for knowledge was related to the commercial links that it hoped to establish with the African countries. The information that the Association instructed Park to record contained imperialistic implications, which later were to form the basis for colonisation.
Park remained faithful to his employers throughout his trip, despite not reaching Timbuktu, but the real hard work as a narrator began when he was surrounded by a group of African ladies, who want to ascertain, 'by actual inspection,' whether the act of circumsision extended to Christian men....
How does he prevent the reader from peering over his shoulder?
This edition contains an excellent introduction by Kate Marsters, and is put together in the format of the original edition, including Park's instructions by the Association, list of subscribers and a picture of Mungo Park himself.
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Format: Hardcover
The book has 388 pages, 8 B/W drawings and no maps. Park was born in 1771 in Selkirk, Scotland. In 1788, he joined Edinburgh Medical School. After qualifying as a surgoen, he sailed to Sumatra. Then he was sent to Gambia and he travelled light. In Benown, Park was forcibly detained for 2 months by Ali. He was sent back to West Africa to discover Niger River and in 1810 died after jumping into a river and drowned.
Park , on 22.5.1795 left Portsmouth for Gambia. In August, he was laid with fever. On 2.12.1795, he travels to the interior. He finds out the fate of Major Houghton. This time he is robed by the moors, because "he was a stranger,unprotected and a christian". Park escapes to Bambarra. He comes to Magestic Niger (the great water) flowing towards the rising Sun, eastwards.
After traveling with no provisions, Park decides to go no further, and starts westwards(homewards). At Wonda, he is laid with fever for 9 days and again 5 weeks. Then on 10 th June, he arrives back in Pasania. He takes off his beard and embarkes on american ship 'Charlestown'. As the ship surgeon dies, Park takes over the doctors role. From Antigua, he sails to England (22.12.1799). He travels to Scotland, writes his book and marries on 2.8.1799.
On 30.1.1805, Park starts his 2nd journey to West Africa, rather then practice at Peebles. Being a rainy season, most of his soldiers die of fever or dysentry. Park is attacked in his canoe, jumps into a river and drowns.
It is an excellent story of courage,suffering and dangerous expedition, very worth reading. Having born in Kenya, I would reccomend it.
Read and ENJOY.
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Format: Hardcover
A properly annotated version of Park by someone more well aquainted with the history and geography of West Africa is still badly needed. The present volume is entirely uncritical or reflective on the original text, which is filled with some highly questionable statements. A prime example is Park's claim that of the 'four Segous' two are north of the Niger river and two south, when all are in fact located south of the river - if he invented or was mistaken in this then what other errors or embellishments might there be? A critical point by point following of Park's journey using historic and modern data for the same landscape would be fascinating. Sadly, this book supplies little more than the text of a good original edition coupled with a rather literary introduction.
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