|Henry M. Stanley—Breaker of Rocks|
Henry Stanley was only 5 feet, five inches tall and 28 years old when he was ordered to Africa to search for Dr. David Livingstone. In 1841 he was born as the first of four illegitimate children of Elizabeth Parry in Wales, and abandoned by his mother at a young age. After the death of his grandfather, he was placed in a workhouse where, after several years of torture, he struck back at his master. Believing that he had killed the master with a blow to the head, the youngster fled the stone walls and boarded a ship bound for the United States.
After a voyage with a ship captain as cruel as his former work master, the young vagrant jumped ship at New Orleans and began wandering the streets, seeking employment. He entered one shop and approached a gentle looking man who seemed to be the proprietor.
"Do you want a boy, Sir?" he asked.
The man he addressed was in fact not the shop proprietor but a wealthy, childless cotton broker named Henry Morton Stanley. The man replied, "As you are wholly unclaimed, without a parent or sponsor, I promise to take you for my son, and in future you are to bear my name."
For two years, the young Stanley wandered with his "father" learning the cotton business. But, immediately upon outbreak of the Civil War, enlisted and was wounded and captured on only the second day of battle. He was shipped to a prisoner of war center but, after contracting dysentery, was discharged.
Within two years he had served as a news correspondent and eventually wound up as a reporter for the New York Herald. In 1868 Stanley was sent by his editor to cover the English invasion of Ethiopia. He was the first to report on Sir Robert Napier's invasion of that country.
It is ironic that the man who was to become perhaps the greatest of African explorers had virtually spent no time in Africa prior to the commencement of his expedition. Further he had absolutely no previous experience as an explorer, and he was going into a country from which only three other Europeans (Burton, Speke and Grant) had ever emerged.
Against these handicaps was a man noted for remarkable strength of character, resolution, promptness of thought and an iron will. Difficulties did not deter him; disasters did not dismay him. With an extraordinary readiness of mind he consistently improvised means to draw himself out of difficulty.
It is no wonder that Stanley's three most famous books - as well as several others - make extraordinary reading. He not only managed to find Dr. Livingstone, but to navigate the Lualaba River, realize that is did not become the Congo, and then to find the Congo River and navigate that river to its mouth, thereby completing the work that had been started by the Portuguese explorers hundreds of years before.
It is no surprise that one of Stanley's biographers nicknamed him "Bula Matari" meaning breaker of rocks.
We are pleased to offer the following selection of books by Henry Stanley—as well as a few about him. Please note, these are one of a kind, please inquire regarding availability before ordering.
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The following Henry M. Stanley titles are currently available for sale. If you need a title not listed please contact us as we maintain a very good “want” list.