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First Footsteps in East Africa

Burton

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Eesa, who generally are the better men. They sweep the country in Kaum or Commandos [35], numbering from twenty to two hundred troopers, armed with assegai, dagger, and shield, and carrying a water skin and dried meat for a three days' ride, sufficient to scour the length of the low land. The honest fellows are not so anxious to plunder as to ennoble themselves by taking life: every man hangs to his saddle bow an ostrich [36] feather,—emblem of truth,—and the moment his javelin has drawn blood, he sticks it into his tufty pole with as much satisfaction as we feel when attaching a medal to our shell-jackets. It is by no means necessary to slay the foe in fair combat: Spartan-like, treachery is preferred to stand-up fighting; and you may measure their ideas of honor, by the fact that women are murdered in cold blood, as by the Amazulus, with the hope that the unborn child may prove a male. The hero carries home the trophy of his prowess [37], and his wife, springing from her tent, ut. . . Read More

Community Reviews

I preferred Volume I but still found it fascinating from the perspective of an historian. Trade networks in the region, including linkages between Somalia and Yemen, were clearly extensive in the mid-19th century and undermine past and prevailing narratives of wanton underdevelopment. The understand

Remarkable man ... remarkable story .... not so remarkable footnotes !