“Dr. Livingstone, I presume.”
Where did it come from? There are so many phrases we have heard a million times over the course of decades. They fascinate me and I usually end up watching or reading what the phrase originated from. This is how I came to read “Into Africa” by Martin Dugard. Somehow the local B&N had a copy, probably over looked by the sales people, and I couldn’t wait to start reading it. It is the remarkable intertwining story of two men, wholly unrelated: Livingstone’s last expedition into Africa in search of the source of Nile and Stanley, dogged New York reporter set with the impossible task of finding Livingstone. It is also, probably, a very brief account of the travels of each man. Livingstone probably has volumes written about him and surely Stanley has his own. As an introduction to these two legendary figures, “Into Africa” will not disappoint.
Despite the historic nature of the book, Dugard is able to keep the narrative lively and engaging. “The differences in manner and background were many, and best heard in their accents…” My favorite line has to be: “Lincoln’s assassination had been staggering, a bare knuckled punch to the windpipe.” Dugard also does a good job in briefly summing up national context throughout the book and stories as the two men start their journeys. He doesn’t shy away from the harsh realities of traveling through Africa: the sickness the explorers experienced and the horrific conditions of the slave trader are briefly described but constant throughout the adventures of Livingstone and Stanley. The book showed me how and why that famous phrase was uttered and I was thoroughly entertained by Dugard’s writing style along the way.
(image via here)
I also was caught day dreaming about whether I could have been a victorian explorer. Wander lust has kicked in and I need to plan a new adventure! Iceland and the northern lights perhaps…
Here’s looking at you, kid.