Automotive Holiday Deals Books Gift Guide Books Gift Guide Shop Men's Athletic Shoes Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon $5 Albums egg_2015 All-New Amazon Fire TV Grocery Gifts Under $50 Find the Best Purina Pro Plan for Your Pet Amazon Gift Card Offer bf15 bf15 bf15 $30 Off Amazon Echo $30 Off Fire HD 6 Kindle Black Friday Deals Outdoor Deals on DOTD
Mimi and Toutou's Big Adventure: The Bizarre Battle of La... and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

  • List Price: $16.00
  • Save: $1.87 (12%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 6 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.
Mimi and Toutou's Big Adv... has been added to your Cart
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: This item is gently used in good or better condition. If it is a textbook it may not have supplements. It may have some moderate wear and possibly include previous ownerâ€TMs name, some markings and/or is a former library book. We ship within 1 business day and offer no hassle returns. Big Hearted Books shares its profits with schools, churches and non-profit groups throughout New England. Thank you for your support!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Mimi and Toutou's Big Adventure: The Bizarre Battle of Lake Tanganyika Paperback – March 14, 2006

21 customer reviews

See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$4.57 $0.01

Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates: The Forgotten War That Changed American History by Brian Kilmeade
"Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates" by Don Yaeger
Explore this featured new release in History. Learn more | See author page
$14.13 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 6 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Take an Extra 30% Off Any Book: Use promo code HOLIDAY30 at checkout to get an extra 30% off any book for a limited time. Excludes Kindle eBooks and Audible Audiobooks. Restrictions apply. Learn more

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

At the height of WWI, as armies of thousands fought with each other on European soil, a much more unusual battle was waged in eastern Africa, where Belgian and German colonial territories were separated by the second largest body of water on the continent, Lake Tanganyika. An English big-game hunter living in the region came up with a plan to take out the German warships that patrolled the lake, and command of the mission was given to Geoffrey Spicer-Samson, a career officer whose boorish incompetence had earned him the dubious distinction of being the oldest lieutenant commander in the Royal Navy. Foden (The Last King of Scotland) delivers his novelistic skills with full effect in depicting the absurdity of Spicer and his campaign, from the self-designed skirts he wore to combat the heat to his status as "Navyman God" among the local natives when his small motorboats—named with the French words for "miaow" and "bow-wow"—actually managed to capture and sink much larger enemy ships. Charming illustrations at the head of each chapter, along with the hand-drawn maps, further add to this tale's quirky appeal. Closing chapters add a poignant epilogue, explaining how Spicer's story inspired C.S. Forester's The African Queen, and noting the disappearance of the events from the memory of modern Tanzanians. Foden's engrossing account is not just for military historians or lovers of exotic locales; it should please anyone who loves a good story. (Apr. 7)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Generations of film lovers have reveled in the adventures of Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn in The African Queen. Now acclaimed writer Foden reaches back into history, retracing the incredible World War I odyssey that inspired both C. S. Forester's novel and the subsequent film classic. Commissioned by an overburdened admiralty to wrest control of strategically significant Lake Tanganyika from the Germans, delightfully eccentric naval officer Geoffrey Spicer-Simson and his ragtag crew of disgruntled Scots, Irish, and Brits undertook an arduous 2,800-mile journey through the untamed African bush and up the unpredictable Congo with two 40-foot gunboats improbably named the Mimi and the Toutou. Foden's painstaking attention to historical and descriptive detail vivifies an amazing true story featuring a hilariously less-than-perfect hero. Swashbuckling action, comical ineptitude, and hair-raising adventure all rolled into one highly entertaining package. Margaret Flanagan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Hero Quick Promo
Holiday Deals in Kindle Books
Save up to 85% on more than 1,000 Kindle Books. These deals are valid until November 30, 2015. Learn more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (March 14, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400075262
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400075263
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,373,795 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Edwin B. Burgess on April 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover
At the outbreak of WWI, one strategy of the allies was to isolate and control German East Africa. Germany had had the foresight to place some armed boats on Lake Tanganyika, which effectively controlled all transportation in East Africa. The very peculiar British naval officer Geoffrey Spicer-Simpson was directed to take Mimi and Toutou, two forty-foot gunboats, overland from South Africa to the lake and defeat a fleet of German steamers. Spicer-Simpson went into battle wearing a skirt, was worshipped as a god by the Holo Holo tribe, entirely alienated his subordinates, and more or less succeeded in reducing the German naval presence through a combination of effective military action and slapstick. The events that transpired were eventually transmogrified into The African Queen (first the book by C.S. Forester, then the movie), though being significantly changed in the process. Highly entertaining analysis of a mostly forgotten episode in the Great War. Foden's mix of colorful characters, hubris, pluck, and idiocy is well worth reading.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Grey Wolffe VINE VOICE on May 26, 2007
Format: Paperback
Giles Foden's story of the World War I battle on Lake Tanganyika is mostly based on work by other authors. Most quoted is Peter Shankland (published in 1968) who interviewed many of the principles late in life, and Byron Farwell. In fact lengthy parts of both books are quoted to establish many of Foden's points. The problem is that he has very little new to say and therefore spends most of the first two hundred pages filling out the short and more to the point chapter that is in Farwell's book. He has little or no information from the German side.

The last forty pages are involved with discussing the background to the old Humphrey Bogart/Katherine Hepburn movie, "The African Queen" and how the story of the battle and a book by C.S. Forester, follow parts of the 'real' occurences. This and ten pages on his own trip back to the area, seem to be there to fill out the book, more than to inform.

Lastly, there are two "glaring" mistakes in the book from my point of view. When discussing the travel of the Naval African Expedition through the then Union of South Africa, he has them travel through Mafeking and then Johannesburg (J-Burg) on their way to Lake Tanganyika. Look on any map and you will see that J-Burg is south of Mafeking. Speaking of maps, on the one in the book of southern Africa, he has J-Burg placed where Mafeking is (on the South Africa, Botswana border); J-Burg is in the center of South Africa.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By doomsdayer520 HALL OF FAME on March 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
For history buffs, this is a potentially enjoyable yarn about a forgotten little episode from the past, but in a poorly constructed book. Giles Foden covers the odd story of a World War I naval campaign on Lake Tanganyika in East Africa, as old colonial intrigues between the Germans and English spilled over into the Great War, and Africa became a very remote battleground between the imperial powers. Mimi and Toutou were two specially-made motorboats – which were built in England to be small and fast, as secret weapons against the large German warships that patrolled the lake. Under the command of the eccentric and delusional Geoffrey Spicer-Simson, a motley crew of conscripts hauled the two boats by rail and river, and on foot, all the way from South Africa in a quest that lasted several months. They finally engaged the Germans in a naval lake battle that had very little strategic significance, especially considering the logistical nightmare of setting up the scene.

This is the type of odd historical episode that can make for fun reading, and Foden does a fairly good job describing the bizarre bungling aspects of the campaign, as well as the weird eccentricities of Spicer-Simson and his crew. But Foden has merely constructed his narrative from broad chunks of information borrowed directly from earlier historians and biographers, especially one named Peter Shankland. And like everyone else who discusses this period in colonial Africa, Foden can't stop talking about Joseph Conrad. Alas, the story of the Lake Tanganyika campaign, while intriguing, just isn't momentous enough to be the subject of a substantial history, or even a medium-sized book like this.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By John Matlock on April 6, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The Germans had several colonies in Africa. One of them German East Africa bordered Lake Tanganyika. On the Lake the Germans had established a Navy -- three ships.

Ships," well, the Kingami was 55 feet long. But it had already raided Bismarckburg and captured four machine-guns and ninety miles of telegraph wire. [This is hardly like what was going on in France at the time.]

Out to get them was the British Royal Navy - using a flotilla (of two) forty-foot gunboats, The HMS Mimi [French for Miaow (as in cat)] and the Toutou [Bow-wow]. Each was armed with two machine guns and a 3 Pounder (37 mm) cannon.

The intrepid crew - well Lt. Commander Spicer wasn't the oldest Lt. Commander in the Navy without reason, and the rest of the crew were shall we say consistent. There was fifty-something Sub-Lieutenant Tyrer, addicted to Worcester sauce as an aperitif. There was Chief Engineer Lieutenant Cross who knew almost nothing about engines.

This book reads better than most novels, and it's true.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
Mimi and Toutou's Big Adventure: The Bizarre Battle of Lake Tanganyika
This item: Mimi and Toutou's Big Adventure: The Bizarre Battle of Lake Tanganyika
Price: $14.13
Ships from and sold by

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Want to discover more products? Check out these pages to see more: burundi, free military history, ottoman history