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25 July 1991
Stanley: The Making of an African Explorer 
by Frank McLynn.
Constable, 411 pp., £17.95, October 1989, 0 09 462420 8
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Stanley: Sorcerer’s Apprentice 
by Frank McLynn.
Constable, 499 pp., £25, January 1991, 0 09 470220 9
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Dark Safari: The Life behind the Legend of Henry Morton Stanley 
by John Bierman.
Hodder, 401 pp., £17.95, January 1991, 0 340 50977 5
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... himself, he is at his best describing Stanley’s journalistic stints, both in America, Stanley’s adoptive country, and in Abyssinia, where he made his name as a reporter – two episodes which FrankMcLynn, surprisingly in a much fuller work, skips over. McLynn offers both a scholarly and a critical justification for his two volumes: ‘Neither Richard Hall’s Stanley (1974) nor Frank Hird’s ...

Bad Medicine

Frank McLynn

23 July 1992
The Malaria Capers 
by Robert Desowitz.
Norton, 288 pp., £14.95, February 1992, 9780393030136
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... Malaria has accompanied mankind on the slog through six millennia of ‘civilisation’. Hippocrates wrote about it in Ancient Greece; Alexander the Great is usually thought to have died from it (though some opt for assassination by poison) as are the Roman emperors Vespasian, Titus and Hadrian; Dea Febris, the goddess of fever, was worshipped in Rome: indeed, some historians have identified malaria ...

Was He Quite Ordinary?

Mary Beard: Marcus Aurelius

23 July 2009
Marcus Aurelius: Warrior, Philosopher, Emperor 
by Frank McLynn.
Bodley Head, 684 pp., £20, March 2009, 978 0 224 07292 2
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... in Rome); and father of the monstrous emperor Commodus. For many thinkers of the 19th century – from Darwin to Nietzsche – Marcus was an intellectual hero. Even Bill Clinton claimed (according to FrankMcLynn in his new biography) ‘to have read and reread’ the Meditations during his presidency. For most people now, Marcus Aurelius is remembered as the elderly emperor smothered by young Commodus ...
7 January 1993
Fitzroy Maclean 
by Frank McLynn.
Murray, 413 pp., £25, October 1992, 9780719549717
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Franz Joseph 
by Jean-Paul Bled, translated by Teresa Bridgeman.
Blackwell, 359 pp., £45, September 1992, 0 631 16778 1
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... when they see them. One hopes that the sober critics will now compare the outcome of 1945 with the outcome of 1990; the boobies are probably such as will never learn. To useful books on the subject FrankMcLynn now adds an admiring but judiciously objective biography of the British soldier who came to play a leading role in this British reinforcement of the Partisans. The general story that he has to ...

God’s Own

Angus Calder

12 March 1992
Empire and English Character 
by Kathryn Tidrick.
Tauris, 338 pp., £24.95, August 1990, 1 85043 191 4
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Into Africa: The story of the East African Safari 
by Kenneth Cameron.
Constable, 229 pp., £14.95, June 1990, 0 09 469770 1
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Burton: Snow upon the Desert 
by Frank McLynn.
Murray, 428 pp., £19.95, September 1990, 0 7195 4818 7
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From the Sierras to the Pampas: Richard Burton’s Travels in the Americas, 1860-69 
by Frank McLynn.
Barrie and Jenkins, 258 pp., £16.99, July 1991, 0 7126 3789 3
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The Duke of Puddle Dock: Travels in the Footsteps of Stamford Raffles 
by Nigel Barley.
Viking, 276 pp., £16.99, March 1992, 0 670 83642 7
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... despised black Africans in general, and in particular those who ‘aped’ European speech and dress. A visit to creole Sierra Leone in 1861 provoked frenzies of racist nonsense. His new biographer, FrankMcLynn, says that ‘Burton regarded the Sierra Leone black intellectual’s refusal to admit his own biological inferiority as in itself evidence of his mental crassness – “as if there could be ...

Stewarts on the dole

Rosalind Mitchison

10 November 1988
Bonnie Prince Charlie 
by Rosalind Marshall.
HMSO, 208 pp., £8.50, April 1988, 0 11 493420 7
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Bonnie Prince Charlie: A Biography 
by Susan Maclean Kybett.
Unwin Hyman, 343 pp., £12.95, April 1988, 0 04 440213 9
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Charles Edward Stuart: A Tragedy in Many Acts 
by Frank McLynn.
Routledge, 640 pp., £24.95, September 1988, 0 415 00272 9
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Mary Queen of Scots: A Study in Failure 
by Jenny Wormald.
George Philip, 206 pp., £14.95, March 1988, 0 540 01131 2
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Mary Stewart: Queen in Three Kingdoms 
edited by Michael Lynch.
Blackwell, 238 pp., £25, July 1988, 0 631 15263 6
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The Shadow of a Crown: The Life Story of James II of England and VII of Scotland 
by Meriol Trevor.
Constable, 320 pp., £15, June 1988, 0 09 467850 2
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The Scottish Tory Party: A History 
by Gerald Warner.
Weidenfeld, 247 pp., £12.95, May 1988, 9780297791010
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The Elgins, 1766-1917: A Tale of Aristocrats, Proconsuls and their Wives 
by Sydney Checkland.
Aberdeen University Press, 303 pp., £25, April 1988, 0 08 036395 4
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... had no intention of supporting the Jacobite campaign, is also overstated: that government would have come in at once if things had clearly been going well. A latecomer to this commemorative year is FrankMcLynn’s biography a thorough study supported by the full range of sources. McLynn may seem to some over-inclined to use the dogmas of psychology to explore the Prince’s fragile personality, but ...

Who’s to blame?

Kathryn Tidrick

25 February 1993
The Black Man’s Burden: Africa and the Curse of the Nation-State 
by Basil Davidson.
James Currey, 372 pp., £9.95, September 1992, 0 85255 700 0
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Hearts of Darkness: The European Exploration of Africa 
by Frank McLynn.
Hutchinson, 390 pp., £18.99, August 1992, 0 09 177082 3
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African Silences 
by Peter Matthiessen.
Harvill, 225 pp., £7.99, September 1992, 0 00 271186 9
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... his affection for its people and delight in their ancient ways, Matthiessen’s books on Africa belong firmly in the tradition of the works produced by the Victorian explorers who are the subject of FrankMcLynn’s informative study. Such men as McLynn describes went to Africa to assert their ability to see. For the Victorians, this meant integrating the natural phenomena they travelled so far and so ...

Diary

W.G. Runciman: You had better look out

10 December 1998
... TLS (who never reviewed the book which first made my reputation as a sociologist either) and LRB (since remedied: see below). One otherwise favourable review which I hadn’t previously seen, by FrankMcLynn in the Literary Review, contains a weird aside in which I am taken to task because I, a ‘contemporary Croesus’, presume to encourage young persons contemplating a career as ‘underpaid ...

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