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Paths Without Glory: Richard Francis Burton in Africa Hardcover – December 1, 2009
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About the Author
James L. Newman is a professor emeritus of geography at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School. His books include Imperial Footprints: Henry Morton Stanley’s African Journeys (Potomac Books, Inc., 2006), The Peopling of Africa, Eliminating Hunger in Africa with Daniel Griffith, and Contemporary Africa with C. Gregory Knight. He lives in Syracuse, New York.
Top customer reviews
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However there is much detail here and the author's work will be of benefit to those searching out source material for their own ends. This warrants "kudos".
The historical maps used, if meant to provide an ambience of place for the reader, succeeded. However for actual utility while reading, I found them wanting. Curious.. as the author is a professor emeritus of geography.
Newman provides a detailed accounting of the Africa years of Burton's life. The retelling is helpful but too often Newman cannot resist snippy remarks about Burton's imagined sexual encounters, drinking, drug use, or views on polygamy. Newman's does not support is speculation with fact--they are the judgments of a contemporary historian with Victorian sensibilities. If I may speculate, Burton would find the book judgmental and pompous.
Setting Newman's views aside, Paths Without Glory, is a compelling retelling of the Burton story. It is ironic that a book written by a professor of geography lacks maps depicting Burton's African treks. Worse, the one map of the African continent is a modern projection with modern place names.
Yes, I would recommend the book, but I would recommend the reader ignore Newman's authorial intrusions and keep a laptop with Google maps at his or her side.