The Killer Trail: A Colonial Scandal in the Heart of Africa by Bertrand Taithe - review by Saul David

Saul David

Hearts of Darkness

The Killer Trail: A Colonial Scandal in the Heart of Africa

By

Oxford University Press 324pp £16.99 order from our bookshop
 

It is not often that a book comes along which both chills the blood and says something genuinely new and important about imperial excess. This one does and Bertrand Taithe, Professor of Cultural History at Manchester University, is to be congratulated for pulling off that most unlikely of literary tricks: a scholarly history that is as groundbreaking as it is readable.

The first part of the book relates the sanguinary progress of the Voulet–Chanoine mission (named after the two French captains who led it), which, in the late summer of 1898, left Dakar in west Africa for the central African region of Lake Chad. The official aim of the

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