Sampson Low, Marston, Searle and Rivington. 1890 London, 1st edn, 2 volumes, 529pp & 472pp, ltd to 250 copies, signed by Stanley. A near fine set in original leather/velum binding as issued. Truly a delightful set and one would have to look very hard to find one in better condition. Velum absent of scratches and scrapes, as so often the case with these sets, & with only the slightest of hints of age mellowing. Leather in very good shape with virtually no abrasions save some very small ones. In a custom made heavy slipcase; with the book plate of noted author, hunter and collector Russel B. Aitken. Item #002691
In the late 1880s Henry Stanley had made a strong case in New York and London that Emin Pasha (Eduard Schnitzer), the beleaguered governor of equatorial Sudan, needed an expedition headed by Stanley (who else!) to relieve him from the hordes of the Mad Mullah. In Darkest Africa contains some of Stanley’s most celebrated writing, especially his account of the tortuous 450-mile passage through the dense Ituri rain forest. Stanley’s dealings with Emin Pasha (who proved resistant to being "rescued"), his abandonment of his own rear column and his wider motives for his mission have all come under suspicion then and since. It was also unclear why Stanley should choose just about the most difficult route possible to get to the southern Sudan (starting on the West Coast of Africa). Stanley set off originally with 646 men but only 246 survived to see the end of the expedition. Despite all this, or more likely because of all these events, this book remains as one of the great classics of African exploration. In the course of the journey Stanley discovered the great snow-capped range of Ruwenzori, the Mountains of the Moon, a new lake which he named Lake Albert and a large south-western extension of Lake Victoria. A classic work by Africa’s most famous explorer. Very scarce in the limited signed edition which was issued both in England and the USA in the same year, the English edition (this one) having the more attractive binding in our opinion.