New York: Harper & Brothers, 1875. 8vo. 542 pp., including half-title and index. First American Edition. Portrait of the author plus 2 separate frontispieces, 2 maps (1 folding), plus 50 woodcut text illustrations. Modern cloth with the original covers and spine laid down; folding map torn in a number of places (but all present), most illustrations with the tissue guards, otherwise interior very good. Item #15149
First American edition after the first printing in London the prior year. Baker’s expedition through Egypt down to Lake Albert in present day Uganda and to the Red Sea was the “first practical step . . . to suppress the slave-trade of Central Africa.” He emphasizes the fertility and potential abundance of the varying lands, whose successes are hindered by corrupt governments. The majority of the team’s interactions with various people and cultures are recounted with a sensational and colonialist flair.
Baker (1821-1893) was a British explorer, naturalist, and big game hunter, chiefly remembered for his exploration of central Africa and the “discovery” of the Albert N’yanza (Lake Albert), the source of the Nile River. He won the Royal Geographical Society’s gold medal for this discovery. Baker was also a prolific writer and published many popular accounts of his adventures (it is little wonder why his work was so popular, given the sensationalist chapter headings).