Dark Safari: The Life Behind the Legend of Henry Morton Stanley


403 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Maps, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-394-22180-X
DDC 967'.023'092




Reviewed by Sidney Allinson

Sidney Allinson is the editor at the Royal Canadian Military Institute
and author of The Bantams: The Untold Story of World War I.


Bierman, an award-winning Toronto writer, presents in this biography the
results of deep research into the background and tortured personality of
Victorian adventurer Henry Stanley. What he unearthed about his
subject’s real-life swashbuckling makes more exciting reading than any
historical fiction.

Bierman quotes Stanley’s birth certificate which read “John
Rowlands, Bastard,” and traces the boy’s Dickensian early life in a
North Wales orphanage. No more hopeless beginnings can be imagined—yet
this determined Welsh waif rose to top-rank journalism, wealth in his
adopted America, and world fame as an intrepid explorer; became
confidant of kings and architect of the Belgian Congo; and was finally
honored with a British knighthood. How Stanley achieved all this is
excellently told by the author, against the primitive backdrop of
nineteenth-century Africa, when it was still very much the “Dark
Continent” to the European mind. The book makes a rattling good read.


Bierman, John., “Dark Safari: The Life Behind the Legend of Henry Morton Stanley,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed February 21, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/9590.