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LAKE REGIONS OF CENTRAL AFRICA: A Picture of Exploration
New York: Harper and Brothers, 1860. First Edition, the American Issue published the same year as the London edition. With 35 black and white illustrations, 12 on plates and the remainder in the text. And with a folding map of Zanzibar and the Great Lakes in Eastern Africa, in excellent state. Tall, thick 8vo, publisher's original burgundy cloth, elaborately decorated in blind on the covers and spine, the spine also gilt lettered. 572, [4] ads pp. A rather exceptional copy of this scarce book. The endpapers and hinges are unusually clean and well preserved, the text-block is solid and tight, and very clean throughout, the map and plates all in excellent condition. The exterior is also extremely fresh, the cloth clean and with no fading, though the gilt on the spine has lost its luster, very minor rubbing to edges and corners but in all quite fine. RARE FIRST EDITION AMERICAN ISSUE IN EXEMPLARY CONDITION. The standard 1st edition was published the same year by Longman, Green, Longman and Roberts and this 1st American edition was also published in 1860. It contains the same plates as the English counterpart but in this case untinted. This copy with the bookplate of Joseph Johnson Brown, who has inscribed the free-fly J.J.B./ Zanzibar Aug. 11, 1865. Brown was associated with the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences. Burton returned to Africa, after his expedition to Harrar, to undertake an exploration of the "then utterly unknown Lake regions of Central Africa." His stated intention was to correct certain geographical errors (of which there were many at that time) concerning Africa and to survey as fully as possible the resources of Central and intertropical Africa. But the real reason he wanted to venture into that unknown wilderness was to find the Jebel Kumri, the fabled "Mountains of the Moon," and to find the source of the Nile river. Burton and Speke first stopped at Zanzibar, then explored the coastal regions around Mombassa, and returned to Zanzibar, from whence they set out for Ujiji--about a thousand miles inland, on the shore of the relatively unknown Lake Tanganyika. It took seven and a half months to arrive, and when there they explored the lake ineffectually due to their wretched physical condition and the unwillingness of the natives and Arab traders to assist them. Upon the point of the direction of flow of a certain river attached to the lake--whether it flowed into, or out of, the lake--they received conflicting information from locals. They returned to Kazeh, two-hundred and sixty miles east, where they recovered somewhat their health, and Burton sent Speke alone to investigate a large lake that the Arab traders had said lay fifteen or sixteen marches to the north. Speke visited the lake briefly, obtained some vague information from the locals, and decided he had discovered the true source of the Nile, a decision that "would affect men's careers and lives and lead to his own death," as Edward Rice puts it (p. 310). After Speke's return from the side-trip, the expedition returned to Zanzibar. This expedition into Central Africa was perhaps the most taxing of Burton's career; his journey to the Holy Cities of Arabia was a cake-walk by comparison as far as physical harships were concerned; and the storm of geographical controversy that greeted him upon his return to London, where he found that Speke had published his erroneous conclusions and attached all the glory of the expedition to himself, left Burton "disgusted, desponding, and left behind in the spirit and in the flesh," according to his old friend, Alfred Bate Richards. To this day, " The Lake Regions" is considered one of Burton's very best books.
      [Bookseller: Buddenbrooks, Inc.]
Last Found On: 2018-02-09           Check availability:      Biblio    

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