Frank T. Kryza has spent eleven years in Africa and himself traveled much of the territory described in The Race for Timbuktu. Author of The Power of Light, he is a twenty-year veteran of the energy industry and a former Connecticut newspaper reporter and editor. He lives in Dallas, Texas.
The Race for Timbuktu: The Story of Gordon Laing and the Raceby Frank T. Kryza
In the first decades of the nineteenth century, no place burned more brightly in the imagination of European geographers––and fortune hunters––than the lost city of Timbuktu. Africa's legendary City of Gold, not visited by Europeans since the Middle Ages, held the promise of wealth and fame for the first explorer to make it there. In 1824,… See more details below
In the first decades of the nineteenth century, no place burned more brightly in the imagination of European geographers––and fortune hunters––than the lost city of Timbuktu. Africa's legendary City of Gold, not visited by Europeans since the Middle Ages, held the promise of wealth and fame for the first explorer to make it there. In 1824, the French Geographical Society offered a cash prize to the first expedition from any nation to visit Timbuktu and return to tell the tale.
One of the contenders was Major Alexander Gordon Laing, a thirty–year–old army officer. Handsome and confident, Laing was convinced that Timbuktu was his destiny, and his ticket to glory. In July 1825, after a whirlwind romance with Emma Warrington, daughter of the British consul at Tripoli, Laing left the Mediterranean coast to cross the Sahara. His 2,000–mile journey took on an added urgency when Hugh Clapperton, a more experienced explorer, set out to beat him. Apprised of each other's mission by overseers in London who hoped the two would cooperate, Clapperton instead became Laing's rival, spurring him on across a hostile wilderness.
An emotionally charged, action–packed, utterly gripping read, The Race for Timbuktu offers a close, personal look at the extraordinary people and pivotal events of nineteenth–century African exploration that changed the course of history and the shape of the modern world.
- HarperCollins Publishers
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This was a great book, very readable, just enough detail - the author has done a fantastic job of bringing the people of the time to life with only archives to work from - reads like an adventure story which it certainly was Please write more about the time period and Africa Mr. Kyrza - great job!
Since its been some weeks since I read this book my impressions are not fresh. I recall an enjoyable light history on a subject I knew little about. My nephew is an officer in the French army who has served recently in Mali so this book added insight into his experience. The hardships of travel in the sub-Saharan desert were so arduous these early explorers seemed to be inviting their own deaths. I would recommend it to all armchair adventurers.
This is the story of the quest to find the fabled city of Timbuctoo. European explorers set off across the Sahara desert with only rumors and guesses to guide them. Most died along the way. The National Geographic Society and dreams of colonial wealth inspired the search, but the explorers themselves wanted only fame. A very hard way to gain notice.