My book for July was River of the Gods: Genius, Courage, and Betrayal in the Search for the Source of the Nile by Candice Millard.
The author wrote one of my favorite books: The River of Doubt. I have read and enjoyed two other books that she wrote: Hero of the Empire: The Boer War, a Daring Escape, and the Making of Winston Churchill and Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President.
Richard Burton and John Hanning Speke were sent by the Royal Geographical Society to search for the source of the White Nile in East Africa. Burton spoke twenty-nine languages and was a decorated soldier. He was also mercurial, subtle, and an iconoclastic atheist. Speke was a young aristocrat and Army officer determined to make his mark. He was passionate about hunting and Burton’s opposite in temperament and beliefs. Their styles clashed during the expedition. Afterwards, they ended up as bitter rivals.
I didn't enjoy this book as much as Millard's first three books, but it is an interesting story. I was shocked at how sick both Burton and Speke were during their travels in Africa.
[Note to self], there is a monument to Speke in Kensington Gardens. I am going to look for it the next time we are in London [October 2023?].
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