Into Africa: The Epic Adventures of Stanley and Livingstone (2003) by Martin Dugard
I listened to this story of the search for Dr. David Livingstone via audiobook, and I often had the urge to just take in the entire book in one go. Yes, it was that awesome.
Livingstone, a British missionary who had lived in Africa for years, was asked by his government in the 1860s to solve one final geographical mystery: the source of the Nile. When he disappeared into the hostile and forbidding terrain, an American reporter, Henry Morton Stanley, was sent in to find him. During the search, Stanley sent regular reports that were printed in the New York Herald, like a serialized novel. American and British readers drank it up- couldn't get enough of it, apparently.
Dugard moves back and forth between Livingstone's and Stanley's stories seamlessly and masterfully, until I started to think that I, too, was chopping my way through dense forest and fighting off nasty bugs. But, of COURSE, I also spent the whole time waiting for those four little words, which, naturally, came toward the end of the book: "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?"
And when I finally heard it, in context, I thought, "what must Livingstone have been thinking when Stanley asked him that?" I mean, who the heck ELSE would he be? I could have seen Livingstone saying, "No, actually, my name is John and I got lost on my way to the store to buy socks. OF COURSE I'M DR. LIVINGSTONE." But I digress. Anyway, if you're into true adventure stories and exploration and history and all that good stuff, this book is for you. And it's not crazy huge, either: a little under 400 pages. Happy reading.