By: Andrew Ross
304 pages, illustrations
David Livingstone (1813-1873) was one of the supreme representatives of the British Empire. Yet his career suffered many setbacks during his own lifetime, and since his death his reputation has swung between extremes of adulation and dismissal. Were his epic journeys through Africa purely to save souls and counter the slave trade? Or were they the first steps towards bringing the peoples of Central Africa under the control of Europeans who would destroy their values and exploit them economically? Beyond these questions, there lies the puzzle of Livingstone's own character and its contradictions. Livingstone's career was certainly an extraordinary one. Born in poverty in Blantyre, Scotland, he educated himself by heroic endeavor, later proving him-self to be a remarkable linguist and scientist. His missionary journeys brought him into contact with a wide range of African peoples, for whom he showed remarkable sympathy. "David Livingstone: Mission and Empire" is a scholarly and readable account of Livingstone's life and of his achievements.
Few explorers can have been explored more thoroughly by historians and biographers than David Livingstone...Nevertheless it is a worthy addition to the corpus, if only because...he manages to imbue it with a sense of the spirit that drove Livingstone on. This England
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