• by Byron Farwell
  • Narrated by Simon Vance
  • 18 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Explorer and inventor, soldier and poet, archaeologist and diplomat, Richard Francis Burton (1821-90) was the most versatile and remarkable man of his age. But he was foremost an adventurer: "an adventurer in the intellectual and the spiritual as well as the physical world".
The pioneering traveler in Central Africa who was the first European to see Lake Tanganyika was also the translator of The Arabian Nights and the secret translator of Eastern sex manuals like The Perfumed Garden. The man who made a dangerous pilgrimage to Mecca in disguise also produced major writings on reptiles and religion, mining and mountain-climbing, slavery and sexuality.
Byron Farwell brilliantly recreates the sheer excitement of Burton's achievements and his astonishing range of interests in this fascinating biography.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A balanced view of Burton

This is a good overall view of Burton's life, but it does show its age in some parts (i.e. had to look up Midian) because country names and places have changed in the last four decades.

The book's first half is excellent as Burton led an exciting, adventuring life. But the second half drags quite a bit as Burton slows down and the book becomes more or less a listing of his published works and a year-by-year account of his wanderings.

That being said, it is an enjoyable listen and a good peak into the workings of colonialism and Victorian England.
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- Eric Berger

Excellent in every way

If you could sum up Burton in three words, what would they be?

Real Life Adventure

Any additional comments?

This biography is brimming with detail and historical background, and all of this contributes to the sense of participating in Burton's explorations. Simon Vance does a wonderful job as the narrator, reading with intelligence and verve.

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- Daniel

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-05-2007
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.