Stanley and the Women

Tony Gould

  • Stanley: The Making of an African Explorer by Frank McLynn
    Constable, 411 pp, £17.95, October 1989, ISBN 0 09 462420 8
  • Stanley: Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Frank McLynn
    Constable, 499 pp, £25.00, January 1991, ISBN 0 09 470220 9
  • Dark Safari: The Life behind the Legend of Henry Morton Stanley by John Bierman
    Hodder, 401 pp, £17.95, January 1991, ISBN 0 340 50977 5

One can see the attraction of Henry Morton Stanley for the modern biographer. There is the intriguing rags-to-riches story of a Welsh bastard and orphan, whose childhood in the workhouse seemed to mark him out for a life of crime, and whose shifty adventures in early manhood gave little indication of the great explorer to come. Then there is the sexual ambivalence, the ‘was he or wasn’t he homosexual?’ and, after his late marriage, the ‘did he or didn’t he do it with his wife?’ What about the modern reader? Will he read one volume, let alone two, on the life of H.M. Stanley?

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