Justin Marozzi

Perishing Pioneers

The Gates of Africa: Death, Discovery and the Searchh for Timbuktu

By

HarperCollins 320pp £25 order from our bookshop

SOME VERY DEAR friends of mine in Norfolk have a dog called Mungo Park, a Scottish terrier of advanced age. Having the proportions you would expect of a groundhugging Scottie, he is as physically far removed as you could imagine from the strapping young explorer after whom he is named. Nevertheless, what he lacks in grandeur he makes up for in spirit. I have always thought him a worthy namesake of the man who found the Niger (found in a European sense, of course – those Africans who needed to knew exactly where it was and how it flowed) over 200 years ago.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter