New York: Harper & Brothers, 1878. Hardcover. First edition of this stirring and extensive account of Henry Stanley's first trans-Africa expedition in 1874-1877 while searching for the sources of the Nile and the Congo Rivers. He succeeded in identifying the source of the Congo River but did not locate the source of the Nile River. Stanley (1841 – 1904) was a Welsh-American explorer, journalist, soldier, colonial administrator, author and politician who was famous for his exploration of Central Africa and his search for missionary and explorer David Livingstone. Besides his discovery of Livingstone, he is mainly known for his search for the sources of the Nile and Congo rivers, the work he undertook as an agent of King Leopold II of the Belgians which enabled the occupation of the Congo Basin region. More than a century after his death, Stanley's legacy remains the subject of enduring controversy. Although he personally had high regard for many of the native African people who accompanied him on his expeditions, the exaggerated accounts of corporal punishment and brutality in his books fostered a public reputation as a hard-driving, cruel leader. In the 20th century, his reputation was also seriously damaged by his role in establishing the Congo Free State for King Leopold II. Nevertheless, he is recognized for his important contributions to Western knowledge of the geography of Central Africa and for his resolute opposition to the slave trade in East Africa. [Wikipedia] The two volumes are bound in dark green cloth with striking pictorial covers in black, green, orange and gilt showing Stanley in his boat navigating a river. Gilt titling to spines and front covers. Cloth is worn along cover edges and spine with slight tear to bottom of the joint on Volume one and a small split along the top of the front cover on Volume two. Bumping to corners. Interior hinges are cracked but text blocks remain tight and firm. Dark brown endpapers. Text pages show light aging but are otherwise clean and bright. There is a small tear to the bottom of a page of the table of contents in Volume two. Gift inscription on free endpaper in Volume one dated 1878. Volume two has additional interesting information in an appendix, including a comparative table of African languages; altitudes of important positions; a list of deaths occurring during the expedition; a list of survivors; and a table showing the "wanderings" in Africa. The volumes include 150 illustrations and ten maps. The full page illustrations are protected by tissue guards. Two of the ten maps are large folding maps held inside sleeves on the rear pastedowns. The map in volume one is present but in pieces and is partially missing. The map in volume two has tears along some of the folds and some creasing. Still a desirable copy of this exploration classic in very good condition. Octavo. Volume One: xiv, 522 pages; Volume Two: ix, 566 pages including index. TRAV/062323. Very Good.
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