To the Heart of the Nile

To the Heart of the Nile

Lady Florence Baker and the Exploration of Central Africa

Book - 2004
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Baker & Taylor
A portrait drawn from historical documents discusses the nineteenth-century adventurer's rescue from slavery, her education under and marriage to English adventurer Sam Baker, and her life in the uncharted interior of Africa.


Prepare to embark upon a breathtaking adventure, brimming with hair-raising rescues, impossible quests, danger, discovery, catastrophe, mutiny, and uncompromising love -- all the more remarkable because every word is true. Acclaimed New York Times and Los Angeles Times Notable author Pat Shipman now 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.

Florence Szász was a child in Eastern Europe when she witnessed the slaughter of her family 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, at age fourteen, she stood before a room full of men and waited to be auctioned to the highest bidder. But slavery and submission were not to be her destiny; one of the assembled was moved by compassion and an immediate, overpowering empathy for the helpless young woman. His name was Sam Baker, a wealthy English gentleman and eminent 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.

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 -- and whose love would remain passionate and constant for the remainder of their lives -- 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 Africa. They returned to England to enjoy the accolades of a society that, if Florence's past became known, would condemn her as a prostitute.

Adorned with striking photographs, maps, and illustrations, Pat Shipman's To the Heart of the Nile is an extraordinary achievement -- an unforgettable portrait of an unforgettable woman; a story of discovery, bravery, determination, and love, meticulously reconstructed through journals, documents, and private papers, and told in the inimitable narrative style that has already won this author resounding international acclaim.

Book News
Hungarian born Florence Baker first met her future husband Sam Baker as she was being sold in a slave auction in the Ottoman Empire in 1859. Writing for a general audience, Shipman (anthropology, Pennsylvania State U.) recounts that rescue and her future adventures with her husband traveling through Africa seeking the source of the Nile River at the behest of the British Empire. Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

& Taylor

A portrait drawn from personal journals and other historical documents discusses the nineteenth-century female adventurer's rescue from slavery, her education under and marriage to wealthy English adventurer Sam Baker, and her life of danger and excitement in the uncharted interior of Africa. 20,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York, N.Y. : William Morrow, [2004]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2004
ISBN: 9780060505554
Branch Call Number: 916.761 S55
Characteristics: xviii, 428 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm


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