Well, I've had a chance to read "Moby Dick" and I'm about halfway thru "How I Found Livingstone".
Moby Dick was really a disappointment for me. I won't rattle on about it, but I'm pretty sure that guy invented more words than any author I've ever read, and he digresses from the subject more than that guy Mark Twain asked about "Smiley" in Calaveras County.
"How I Found Livingstone" is pretty interesting on many levels. It is such a vivid snapshot of the time and places Stanley visited, and at the same time, it is related by a personality that is also so different than those you'd encounter now.
Stanley was a racist, there is no doubt about that, but he had an amazing strong will and determination, and for the most part you believe he is trying hard to relate things honestly, as they occurred, and even with his high view and opinion of his race he is generous with his praise for those who've earned his respect, and honest in examining his own shortcomings and faults, and those of his same race.
Livingstone, I believe, was an incredibly talented explorer and he seems to have had an amazing grasp on humanity that Stanley certainly lacked before meeting him. I have a lot left to read with this book, I'm at the point where Stanley has found Livingstone, and now they are exploring together. I didn't know a lot more about these two other than Livingstone was a missionary and Stanley was sent to find him after he wasn't heard from for years, but there is a lot more to the story than that. I didn't even know Livingstone was an explorer, and I didn't know they explored together.
This is a very interesting part of this book because you can see how Livingstone is already influencing Stanley with his more compassionate approach to dealing with the people they encounter. I'm not sure what happens next, but it would seem at this point that Stanley will be a changed man after his encounter with Livingstone. Or, possibly I've mistaken Livingstone's passion for humanity and he is exposed as something much different than I expect. I have no idea of what happens from this point on.
Stanley's descriptions of the places he travels through are really wonderful to read. It's a bit difficult to follow all the native terms he uses, but some of them start to sink in after a bit. I know what "Boma" is now when he mentions it
He describes the terrain, the difficulties they encounter, the climate and weather, the tribes and Arab traders, the food and agriculture, and how it all affects them on their mission to find Livingstone.
Using Google Satellite photos adds a great dimension to this story. They bring you so much closer to what they were dealing with and it's just plain old fun to follow his footsteps with it.
Stanley does a very good job of taking you there with him, when he went there. He lets you inside his personal experience and provides a raw account it. It brings you back to his time and adventure in a very intimate and real way.
There are few things better than a good book you get for free. "How I Found Livingstone" is certainly one worth getting.