To the Heart of the Nile: Lady Florence Baker and the Exploration of Central Africa

To the Heart of the Nile: Lady Florence Baker and the Exploration of Central Africa

by Pat Shipman, Brehl (Editor)
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To the Heart of the Nile: Lady Florence Baker and the Exploration of Central Africa by Pat Shipman

Prepare to embark upon a breathtaking adventure, brimming with hair-raising rescues, impossible quests, danger, discovery, catastrophe, mutiny, and uncompromising love — all the more remarkable because every word is true. Acclaimed New York Times and Los Angeles Times Notable author Pat Shipman now brings to vivid life the times and great achievements of a singular explorer, a woman of unparalleled courage and spirit who helped redefine her world.

Florence Szász was a child in Eastern Europe when she witnessed the slaughter of her family during the Hungarian revolution. After the war, she was kidnapped from a refugee camp in the Ottoman Empire and sold to be raised for the harem. In 1859, at age fourteen, she stood before a room full of men and waited to be auctioned to the highest bidder. But slavery and submission were not to be her destiny; one of the assembled was moved by compassion and an immediate, overpowering empathy for the helpless young woman. His name was Sam Baker, a wealthy English gentleman and eminent adventurer who braved extraordinary perils to aid her escape. Ultimately they would wed and venture together into some of the most inaccessible regions on Earth.

At this tender age, Florence Baker had already seen and experienced more than most women of the Victorian era. But the greatest adventures were still before her. By the side of the man who had set her free — and whose love would remain passionate and constant for the remainder of their lives — she forged ahead into literally uncharted territory. Together, they confronted disease, starvation, and hostile tribesman, surviving the cruel ravages of beasts and nature in a glorious attempt to unravel a mysterious and magnificent enigma called Africa. They returned to England to enjoy the accolades of a society that, if Florence's past became known, would condemn her as a prostitute.

Adorned with striking photographs, maps, and illustrations, Pat Shipman's To the Heart of the Nile is an extraordinary achievement — an unforgettable portrait of an unforgettable woman; a story of discovery, bravery, determination, and love, meticulously reconstructed through journals, documents, and private papers, and told in the inimitable narrative style that has already won this author resounding international acclaim.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060505554
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/03/2004
Pages: 448
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.37(d)

About the Author

Pat Shipman is the author of eight previous books, including The Man Who Found the Missing Link and Taking Wing, which won the Phi Beta Kappa Prize for science and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award and named a New York Times Notable Book for 1998. Her numerous awards and honors include the 1996 Rhone-Poulenc Prize for The Wisdom of the Bones (written with Alan Walker). Her most recent book is To the Heart of the Nile: Lady Florence Baker and the Exploration of Central Africa. She is currently an adjunct professor of anthropology at Pennsylvania State University and lives in State College, Pennsylvania.

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To the Heart of the Nile: Lady Florence Baker and the Exploration of Central Africa 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
ATMNJ More than 1 year ago
I read this book in hard back years ago and am now going to read it again on my Nook. I also just bought it for my collage age grand-daughter. It is a fantastic read about some of the most interesting people during one of the most exciting periods of history. It is a true story that is hard to is filled with mystery, suspense, adventure, love, etc. I highly recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book reads like a novel. But it is the true story of the life of a remarkably strong, loyal and intelligent woman who had a heart for adventure and remarkable courage. It is a rags to riches story with lots of blood and thunder along the way. Her adventures are epic, and the historical information of the Sudan area with its African tribes, Egyptians, English, Turks and Arab cultures who inhabited and occupied it in the 19th Century is helpful in understanding North Africa. I'm surprised it hasn't been made into a film. But then it might not be politically correct.
Guest More than 1 year ago
2004 hardcover... This reader is exposed to author Professor Pat Shipman for the first time... I read Shipman's TO THE HEART OF THE NILE: 'Lady Florence Baker and the Exploration of Central Africa', knowing that exchanges in conversations, emotions and thoughts between the subjects from another century are dependent on imaging and imagination in hypothetical terms. I tackled TO THE HEART OF THE NILE: 'Lady Florence Baker and the Exploration of Central Africa', not knowing what to expect with thought that I might be in for a 'dry' read of history. I knew naught of the heroine, Florence Baker, but pleasurably found a brave human being in the framework of the passages of this tome. The author has brought non-fiction and fiction together by her narrative style, relating Florence and Sam Baker's adventures into initially unknown territories. Non-fiction derived from research of records, journals, and generosity of Baker descendants in sharing of information... Fiction through interpretations of research as the author admits: '... I have attributed thoughts and words to Florence and the people in her life. For those who believe the best biographies contain nothing but documented facts, I beg to disagree.' This reader has found the author's admission of the latter stated eloquently and honestly, as assumptions and imagination remain endemic to many non-fiction writings. It becomes obvious that Professor Shipman resourcefully researched Florence & Sam Baker, bringing them to life through the use of historical facts intermingled with conjecture in the exchanges of a woman rescued from the slave auction block by Sam Baker; educated at an early age in life; passing into adulthood quickly; and taken into the world of travel and adventure. Most impressive is the ability and talents of Professor Shipman to have 'jelled' the saga of Lady Baker, her relationship with her husband, Lady Baker's courage to face adversities in an era when activities of 'women in a man's world' were obscurely and penitentially shunned. A delightful saga of bravery, courage and stamina to explore little-known territories, not just once, but returning a second time with obstacles and impediments no lighter than the first voyage. Professor Shipman has made a large contribution to my reading pleasure as well as extended subject matter. Another book, another education, another path, another author who has impressed this reader solely for her ability to bring to life the humanity of those who have gone before us. To any reader, regardless of her/his taste for non-fiction/fiction historical writings -- 'TO THE HEART OF THE NILE: Lady Florence Baker and the Exploration of Central Africa' is a recommended read -- it is meticulously crafted LIKE FINE CHOCOLATE and researched, creating an educational, informative and enjoyable writing.