by Roger Jones ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 29, 1973
Unlike his earlier celebrated African expedition to find Livingstone, the ""rescue"" of Emin Pasha was not one of Henry Morton Stanley's finest hours. There were no ""I presumes"" uttered as if Stanley had arrived deus ex machina, his mustache barely damp; instead he mumbled, ""Ah, you are Emin Pasha. Do not mention thanks, but come in and sit down. It is so dark out here we cannot see one another."" The latter words -- ""we cannot see one another"" -- were, says Jones, ""a prophetic summary of what relations between the two men were to become. . . . It is perhaps not too farfetched to see in this blundering and misbegotten convergence a collision between East and West."" The tale behind this meeting and its aftermath is an intriguing one for those interested in the posturings and machinations of Victorian Empire. Briefly, the defeat and death of the colonialist ruler of the Sudan, General Gordon, at the hands of Mahdi-ist revolutionaires in 1885 fomented an outcry of popular resentment and concern in Europe and especially England, which in due course dispatched the illustrious Stanley to aid Gordon's last surviving ally, Dr. Mohammed Emin, Pasha, Governor of the Sudanese province of Equatoria -- a publicly proclaimed philanthropic mission which had as its underlying rationale ""the first step -- or stumble -- in the creation of what was to become the British East African Empire."" Stanley pressed on and eventually succeeded -- by his own press accounts -- though he lost well over half the expeditionary force and Emin was none too happy to be ""saved"" and at one point was nearly killed accidentally by falling out a low window he had mistaken for a door! Hail Britannia! Jones tells the story with dash and just the right amount of unobtrusive documentation; moreover he is able to see the jungle for the grass, unbeguiled by professions of British altruism or Stanley's bumbling heroics.
Pub Date: March 29, 1973
Page Count: -
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1973
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