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The events of Florence Baker's life read like a novel. Born in the 1840s into an aristocratic family who was murdered in the Hungarian revolution, Florence fled to the Ottoman empire with her nurse. She was next heard of living in a harem, barely in her teens. In 1859 she was presented at auction, and it was in this most unlikely of settings that she met her soulmate Sam Baker, a wealthy English adventurer whose geographic discoveries proved crucial to England's understanding of the African landscape. Saving her from slavery, Sam offered his paramour much more - a life of danger, excitement and passion exploring the uncharted interior of Africa in search of the source of the Nile. Their expedition into the African wilderness was to be no less dramatic than Florence's early life. Sam and Florence were to suffer years of deprivation and conflict with local tribes before their amazing fortitude brought ultimate victory. Sam named the source of the Nile Albert N'yanza, after the Queen's consort. But a larger challenge awaited them: winning acceptance in polite Victorian society. In this riveting book Pat Shipman brings the redoubtable and unique Florence out from beneath the shadow of her more famous husband. Florence Baker is the story of a remarkable woman, of an extraordinary love affair, but also of the golden age of exploration. Reconstructed through journals, documents, maps and photographs, TO THE HEART OF THE NILE chronicles the life of a tenacious, compassionate and unlikely explorer - a woman who stood alongside some of the toughest men in history to face the more

Product details

  • Paperback | 544 pages
  • 130 x 204 x 40mm | 521.64g
  • Transworld Publishers Ltd
  • Corgi Books
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 0552771007
  • 9780552771009
  • 1,472,596

About Pat Shipman

Pat Shipman is a freelance writer and Professor of Anthropology at The Pennsylvania State University. Her research has focussed on human origins, Paleontology and anthropology and has published more than 100 articles on human evolution. She is the author of The Neandertals, 1993, which was a finalist for the Rhone-Poulenc Prize and was listed as a New York times notable book of the year; The Wisdom Of Bones, 1197 Was Awarded The Rhone-Poulenc Prize; Taking Wing, 1998, and The Man Who Found The Missing Link, 2001, was named as one of the notable books of the year by the Los Angeles Times. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the Royal Geographical more

Review quote

"An extraordinary achievement of research and imagination."--Stanley Weintraub, biographer of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, Benjamin Disraeli, and Charlotte and Lionel Rothschildshow more

Review Text

"'A riveting portrait of an extraordinary couple...A remarkably compelling tale of heroic love and epic endeavours'"show more

Back cover copy

Florence Szász was a child in Eastern Europe when her family was slaughtered during the Hungarian revolution. After the war, she was kidnapped from a refugee camp in the Ottoman Empire and sold to be raised for the harem. In 1859, age fourteen, she stood before a room full of men and waited to be auctioned to the highest bidder. But slavery was not to be her destiny. One of the witnesses was moved by an immediate, overpowering empathy for the helpless young woman. His name was Samuel Baker, an eminent English adventurer who braved extraordinary perils to aid her escape. Ultimately they would wed and venture together into some of the most inaccessible regions on Earth. To the Heart of the Nile brings to vivid life the times and great achievements of a singular explorer, a woman of unparalleled courage and spirit who helped redefine her world. It is a breathtaking adventure, brimming with hair-raising rescues, impossible quests, danger, discovery, catastrophe, mutiny, and uncompromising love - all the more remarkable because the story is true. At this tender age, Florence Baker had already seen and experienced more than most women of the Victorian era. But the greatest adventures were still before her. By the side of the man who had set her free, she forged ahead into literally uncharted territory. Together, they confronted disease, starvation, and hostile tribesman, surviving the cruel ravages of beasts and nature in a glorious attempt to unravel a mysterious and magnificent enigma called more

Rating details

245 ratings
3.79 out of 5 stars
5 23% (57)
4 44% (107)
3 24% (59)
2 7% (18)
1 2% (4)
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