Reviews by M Muench

The Nile Tributaries of Abyssinia and the Sword Hunters of the Hamran Arabs

by Samuel White Baker

The first in Baker's trillogy of his explorations of the Nile and ultimately efforts to suppress the Arab slave trade down the Nile.

In this volume Baker and his wife explore the tributaries of the Blue Nile, confirming and expanding Bruce's explorations of a century earlier.

The is a stellar adventure. Baker is the consummate British Explorer of the late 1800's, and these books are likely the inspiration for the latter day fictional adventure heroes of H.Rider Haggard, E.R. Burroughs, and others.

Baker is an incredible game hunter and marksman, a great rider, a man of steel nerves and courage. He is a wonderful real life example of the morality of nineteenth century England and its empire. He acts to protect the weak, treat those he meets with honesty and fairness and record as best he can the reality of his hardships.

This book will not be popular among those who insist on viewing the past through a modern day lens. Baker kills a lot of animals, occasionally uses the N word, regards many cultures he finds as packs of barbaric savages --so much for the liberal ideal of the noble savage. He speaks honestly of the depravity of the Arab slave trade, and harps on the necessity of the basic morals that bring civilization to \'lesser\' cultures.

If you are a reader of big game hunting books this is a must. The descriptions of elephant hunting are just phenomenal. If you are a reader of exploration books this book is a must as his suffering and trials are difficult and hard.

This book is more \'fun\' than the two that follow. The later works describe much more difficult journeys. He shoots a lot animals and stays fairly healthy.

A great read for the select readers.

Reviewed on 2012.03.11

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