Sir Richard Francis Burton KCMG FRGS 19 March 1821 20 October 1890 was a British explorer, geographer, translator, writer, soldier, orientalist, cartographer, ethnologist, spy, linguist, poet, fencer, and diplomat He was known for his travels and explorations in Asia, Africa and the Americas, as well as his extraordinary knowledge of languages and cultures According to one count, he spoke 29 European, Asian and African languages.Burton was a captain in the army of the East India Company, serving in India and later, briefly, in the Crimean War Following this, he was engaged by the Royal Geographical Society to explore the east coast of Africa and led an expedition guided by the locals and was the first European to see Lake Tanganyika In March 1854, he transferred to the political department of the East India Company and went to Aden on the Arabian Peninsula in order to prepare for a new expedition, supported by the Royal Geographical Society, to explore the interior of the Somali Country and beyond, where Burton hoped to discover the large lakes he had heard about from Arab travelers It was in Aden in September of this year that he first met Captain then Lieutenant John Hanning Speke, who would accompany him on his most famous exploration Burton undertook the first part of the trip alone He made an expedition to Harar in present day Ethiopia , which no European had entered indeed there was a prophecy that the city would decline if a Christian was admitted inside This leg of the expedition lasted three months although much of the time was spent in the port of Zeila, where Burton, once again in disguise, awaited word that the road to Harar was safe Burton not only travelled to Harar but also was introduced to the Emir and stayed in the city for ten days, officially a guest of the Emir but in reality his prisoner The journey back was plagued by lack of supplies, and Burton wrote that he would have died of thirst had he not seen desert birds and realized they would be near water.Lieutenant Burton s book, First Footsteps in East Africa, is but the first instalment of what is intended to be a journey through Central Africa, and a discovery, if possible, of the sources of the White Nile and the Mountains of the Moon It treats of the Berber race in the Somauli country, that peninsula of Africa which lies just south of the Straits of Bab el Mandeb Mr Burton is not in any sense a missionary, but a daring, perhaps we may add a rather unscrupulous adventurer, determined to push his way by perseverance and pluck His first footsteps were not very prosperous He was driven out from the country, with the loss of some of his men and all his goods But he stayed long enough to learn a few dialects, to see the country, and to get materials for an entertaining book He was the first Frank traveller who ever reached the capital of Eastern Africa and though his sojourn there was limited to ten days, and was a sort of imprisonment, he made excellent use of his eyes and ears in that time Mr Burton, like Mr Bayard Taylor, is one of those travellers whose apparent mishaps always turn out to be strokes of good luck and if he is not able to find the first rills of that river, the divine riddle of which has never yet been read, the long attempt may be given up as hopeless.Chapter 1.Departure from Aden 2.Life in Zayla 3.Excursions near Zayla 4.The Somal, their Origin and Peculiarities 5.From Zayla to the Hills 6.From the Zayla Hills to the Marar Prairie 7.From the Marar Prairie to Harar 8.Ten Days at Harar 9.A Ride to Berberah 10.Berberah and its Environs Originally published in 1856 reformatted for the Kindle may contain an occasional imperfection original spellings have been kept in place....
|Title||:||First Footsteps in East Africa or, An Exploration of Harar [Illustrated] (1856) (English Edition)|
|Format Type||:||Kindle Edition|
|Number of Pages||:||366 Pages|
|File Size||:||660 KB|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
First Footsteps in East Africa or, An Exploration of Harar [Illustrated] (1856) (English Edition) Reviews
Sir Richard F Burton is one of the most famous of unread authors. Nearly everyone can tell you about his scandalous doings with native women, his marriage to an ultra-Catholic Englishwoman, and the latter's destruction of the author's private papers after his death. Ever since I read Fawn Brodie's excellent biography, THE DEVIL DRIVES, I have collected some 20 different Burton books and read most of them. If you make allowances for Burton's diabolical thoroughness (involved footnotes, appendices, foreign language quotes, tables, etc.) and his Victorian circumlocutions in dealing with taboo subjects, he is a truly wonderful read. Although FIRST FOOTSTEPS is not his most famous book, it is probably the best one to start with. The action is not only more focussed, but Burton did feel he needed quite so much of a scholarly carapace to report back to the scholarly organizations back in Britain. And it finishes up with a stirring postscript about an attack on Burton's camp by Somalis in which the author barely escaped with his life. Perhaps this is a book that Presidents Bush and Clinton should have read before committing U.S. troops to the region: Burton shows us that not much has changed in the region in 150 years. He was in constant danger, and survived only because his knowledge and guts were more than an a match for his enemies. This is an exciting book and deserves to be better known.
Richard Burton's account of his trek from the Red Sea coast to Harar and back in 1854-55 is a genuinely enjoyable read that demonstrates Burton's powers of observation, vividly descriptive language and genuine interest in the customs, beliefs and day-to-day activities of peoples very different to himself. To a greater extent than most literature of the great era of exploration, Burton offers a real insight into the beliefs and way of life of the people he meets, and I am afraid I must disagree with the reviewer who suggests that Burton has an excessively Eurocentric and class-conscious perspective. Burton can certainly write from a lofty and detached perspective, but his observations appear to owe a bit more to a well-developed eye for the absurd combined with an ability to see things as they really are. I expect the only thing preventing him from making similar observations on European society would be the likelihood that he would find it too uninteresting to comment on.As far as formatting and readability goes, insert my usual complaint about the lack of maps (especially as the place names Burton uses have largely changed over time and are hard to find on modern maps), and the otherwise interesting and informative footnotes break up the main body of the text a bit too much for my liking. Given the price, however, I feel quite churlish even mentioning these minor irritants, and I look forward to reading a lot more of Burton's work.
Lost in time, many people know of Sir. Richard Burton and quite a number have read one or more of the fine biographies now available. (I was first completely hooked on the life of this man when years ago I read Fawn M. Brodie's, . I have read several biographies since that time, but Ms. Brodie was the one who started it for me). Anyway, while many know of Burton, I am sorry to say that not many of us (myself included) have not read many of the works of one of the most fascinating individuals ever to live.In this work, First Footsteps in East Africa, we quickly find that among Burton's other many accomplishments that he was a very, very good writer and in particular, a great travel writer. I have to be honest with you and say that I enjoyed every word of this one. I was leery of the fact that this was a free Kindle edition and that it was not illustrated. I should not have feared. The lack of illustrations was of little consequence and the Kindle format was quite well done in this care...I encountered no problems as we often do with these old books.Burton's writing can be lyrical at times but there is always the edge of the professional observer, linguist, and scientist lurking in the background. The reader needs to be aware, as another reviewer here as already said, that Burton's writings are indeed extremely Eurocentric and by today's standard simply not politically correct. No, no, no! Burton can be down right racially bigoted at times and has a rather sharp pen in writing his assessment of his Arab and African companions and the people he meets and observes. This is acceptable though as long as one remembers that Burton was merely reflecting the times he lived in and his social, racial and cultural background.Burton was a Victorian writer so it is not surprising that his writing is Victorian in style and syntax. If you are not use to this it can be a bit trying at times but it is well worth wading through the convoluted sentence structure and archaic (by our present standards) vocabulary. Which by the way, I found to be much easier to read on the Kindle than a regular printed book; the wonderful dictionaries provided by Kindle saved me much shuffling to my dictionary and back.At times some of the references Burton makes in his work can be quite obscure; they were not at the time he wrote this work, but they most certainly are now. Fortunately, at the end of each chapter there are a number of very informative footnotes where the author has explained much. Between the footnotes and google, I got along fine and learned much.This work is most certainly a treat. If you are a Burton fan I would highly recommend it. If you are a fan of Victorian travel literature (and who isn't?) you will be delighted.Don BlankenshipThe Ozarks
A great read
Though I was aware of Burton before reading this text, I had no idea how much I would enjoy his writing. His language is eloquent, with an almost stereotypically dry British wit, especially as he describes his companions. At times, Burton seems to lose himself in the aesthetic response to Africa's environment, allowing his writing to swell to almost purple prose in his descriptions.I also enjoyed reading this text through the lens of Edward Said's notions of Orientalism. Burton certainly falls prey to the Eurocentrism typical of his era, and at times his descriptions of the rationale of his Arab / Somali companions is borderline offensive. However, what I found most interesting in this text is Burton's own critique of Europeans. In First Footsteps, one could argue that Said's Orientalism isn't driven by culture but class. Burton is just as disgusted by the English working class as he is by Somali nomads.The Kindle version contains no illustrations; I would highly recommend referring to a map while reading First Footsteps. Also, the footnotes are not linked, but I didn't find that particularly bothersome.
Very good read. Give a great insight into what was involved in travelling in africa at this time.. Selous was a pioneer