In the Heart of Africa

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Language: English
Wordcount: 89,616 / 257 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 56.6
LoC Category: G
Downloads: 1,356 739

Condensed by E.J.W from The Nile Tributaries Of Abyssinia and The Albert N'yanza Great Basin Of The Nile.

Show Excerpt

th of the hippopotamus--Tramped by an elephant


Fright of the Tokrooris--Deserters who didn't desert--Arrival of the Sherrif brothers--Now for a tally-ho!--On the heels of the rhinoceroses--The Abyssinian rhinoceros--Every man for himself


A day with the howartis--A hippo's gallant fight--Abou Do leaves us--Three yards from a lion--Days of delight--A lion's furious rage--Astounding courage of a horse


The bull-elephant--Daring Hamrans--The elephant helpless--Visited by a minstrel--A determined musician--The nest of the outlaws-- The Atbara River


Abyssinian slave-girls--Khartoum--The Soudan under Egyptian rule-- Slave-trade in the Soudan--The obstacles ahead


Average Rating of 4 from 1 reviews: ****

"In the Heart of Africa" is a quite readable -- sometimes even exciting -- example of what I think of as the "White Men Exploring" (WME) genre. The tale concerns Baker's wanderings through Africa tracing the Nile. Simple as that.

And to most people living in the age of Google Earth, exploration as a purely geographical quest may well have minimal intrinsic interest. I know that I didn't and still don't care about tracing the exact path of the Nile.

But "In the Heart of Africa" also relates Baker's adventures while traveling, the people he met and animals he hunted. There are some great passages describing this or that group's particular manner of living. He has some particularly detailed descriptions of hairstyle, which I found interesting. And the stories about men who took elephant with swords, or tracked lions through dense brush, etc., are very well done.

Like all examples of the WME genre, Baker's book frequently creates very mixed emotions. One cannot but envy him for meeting the variety of people he did, for coming into contact with such a great diversity of culture and custom, as well as an astounding quantity and variety of wildlife.

But -- of course -- Baker's encounter with local people is colored by an ingrained sense of racial superiority, making it sometimes a bit depressing. The hunting stories, too, seem also sad. In a day when we take it for granted that too few elephants are left, it sticks in the craw to read about Baker killing as many as possible of them -- and indeed many other animals -- with a wide array of guns brought for that purpose.

But these are all par for the WME course. And if you enjoy tales of hard travel through distant lands, you may well enjoy "In the Heart of Africa."

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