Travels in West Africa: Abridged Edition - Congo Francais, Corisco and Cameroonsby Mary Kingsley
Supported by a family inheritance that gave her £500 a year, Mary Henrietta Kingsley traveled to Africa to complete the book her father had started. The subject was the culture of Africa and Kingsley stayed with local people while she learned to survive in the African jungles, studied cannibal tribes, discovered new species of fish, and climbed Mount Cameroon
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Supported by a family inheritance that gave her £500 a year, Mary Henrietta Kingsley traveled to Africa to complete the book her father had started. The subject was the culture of Africa and Kingsley stayed with local people while she learned to survive in the African jungles, studied cannibal tribes, discovered new species of fish, and climbed Mount Cameroon by a route untouched by any European before her. Kingsley's ideas greatly influenced European ideas about Africa and the African people and her 1897 account, Travels in West Africa, quickly became a best-seller.
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Life's early difficulties often lay the groundwork for later genius. Mary Kingsley was kept in almost complete isolation from Victorian society by her family, and, as a young woman, single-handedly managed the physical upkeep of her family's house. Her education was primarily from her absent adventurer-gentleman father's eclectic library, and all this produced a clear-thinking, capable adventurer in her own right. Written in a highly entertaining style, VERY similar to Mark Twain's, with NO pomposity and a clear respect for the indigenous West African (in present-day Nigeria, Gabon and Sierra Leone) people she met on her travels - this is a landmark book for anyone who enjoys autobiographies, humor, history and adventure. NOT TO BE MISSED!
Mary Kingsley has so far been an unrecognized genius - raised within the confines of a Victorian home, she set out after her parents' death to fill the African philosophy void that existed among her adventurer-doctor father's works. "But Africa was kind to me and interested me and didn't want to kill me just yet" - self-educated Mary Kingsley developed her own writer's voice with much the same descriptive wry observations as Mark Twain. She returned to England with a new perspective on re-vamping Colonial government of British Africa and gave lectures, as well as advised and mentored many in the Free Congo movement. This book features epiphanies of insight and top-notch humor on almost every page. Just. Brilliant.