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.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
Mimi and Toutou's Big Adventure: The Bizarre Battle of Lake Tanganyika Paperback – March 14, 2006
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
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.
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.
Top customer reviews
In Africa, the British sent forward the Royal Navy's oldest and most (incompetent/lazy/strange?) officer one Geoffrey Spicer-Simpson. He takes several boats overland from South Africa to Lake Tanganyika to engage German Gunboats there.
In short, it is the true tale of yet another British eccentric that goes off and does something valiant.
Most people who will look at this book should be at least passingly familiar with Lawrence of Arabia. The characters in this book are equally compelling: the oldest lieutenant commander in the Royal Navy whose luck had run out but reprieved only because he was the only officer available; his stalwart friend the Doctor (their wives old school friends) who will come along as he really had nothing better to do and needed to "do his bit"; a couple of Scotsmen in kilts who think the adventure would be a lark; and crusty old hunters are just a few of the characters that pop out at you in this book.
The story is gripping and will keep the reader interested. It would make a great film. No embellishment or license would be needed as the story itself should be enough.
This book is a smallish relation of the Anglo-German struggle for control of Lake Tanganyika. At the outbreak of hostilities, the Germans had three steamships of varying sizes on the lake, some packing salvaged guns from the scuttled cruiser Konigsberg, which had been hammered by the British on the coast of East Africa. With control of the lake, the Germans could run around much of Africa without fear, because the Belgians in the Congo had no way to close with them and evidently the Brits coming up from South Africa were too fearful to go it alone.
At least partially at the urging of a big game hunter who was familiar with the region, the British Admiralty concocted a plan to send a pair of motor launches to the Cape and then have them dragged by oxen, steam tractor, train, and river boat many hundreds of miles northwards to the planned confrontation. In the grand English scheme of such things, they randomly selected the biggest foul-up they could find to head up the expedition.
This is a pretty interesting story of a skirt-wearing nutball leading a motley band of adventurers to transport the whimsically named Mimi and Toutou across half of Africa to end the German menace. (This threat was also the inspiration for the novel and movie "The African Queen"; the making of the latter is also covered in this book.) The tale is told competently enough, but would have benefited from some pictures. Also, the maps aren't too bad, but one of them kinda gives away the ending, which is a bit of a drag. If you wish to remain unspoiled, do NOT look at the second map.
My biggest complaint is that the author draws very heavily upon three primary and secondary sources, to the extent that you wonder what he's bringing to the table. He relies upon them so much that you have to ask why he's writing this up if these other versions covered everything so well. He does have a final chapter of his own travels in the region, which adds some fresh material, including the surprising fate of one of the combatants.
If you can find this cheap, it's not a bad read.
This is a true story , What a courage to cross the hills in N Zambia and S Congo carrying Mimi and Toutou so many years ago.