(Book Review) Stanley: The Impossible Life of Africa's Greatest Explorer by Tim Jeal

South African Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 14, No. 2, p. 172, Winter/Spring 2007

5 Pages Posted: 26 Dec 2009 Last revised: 30 Dec 2009

Date Written: 2007

Abstract

This is a review of Tom Jeal’s Stanley: the Impossible Life of Africa’s Greatest Explorer. Although perhaps the most carefully researched of the many books of Stanley, the book suffers from its zealous attempt to absolve Stanley of his inhumanity in spite of the most extensive historical evidence of the abominations that he committed against Africans. Instead, Jeal sets out to humanize a historical monster who paved the way for many pogroms committed by the colonial hegemons in Africa. Even deep flaws of character, including self-denial, that were so evident in Stanley are either explained away or excused. The book is a truly incredible attempt to valorize a person many Africans would rather forget.

Keywords: European adventurers, colonialism, Sub-Saharan Africa, brutality, slave traders, self hatred, trauma, Congo

Suggested Citation

Mutua, Makau, (Book Review) Stanley: The Impossible Life of Africa's Greatest Explorer by Tim Jeal (2007). South African Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 14, No. 2, p. 172, Winter/Spring 2007, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1527174

Makau Mutua (Contact Author)

SUNY Buffalo Law School ( email )

626 O'Brian Hall
Buffalo, NY 14260-1100
United States
716 645-2311 (Phone)

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