Wednesday, September 24, 2014
The Daring Heart of David Livingstone by Jay Milbrandt
There are some stories which need to be told simply because of the impact that was felt by the hero's contribution to society. The life of David Livingstone most surely is a tale worth rehearsing to countless generations to come in the future. Jay Milbrandt, a professor at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota has penned a new work about Dr. Livingstone's life called "The Daring Heart of David Livingstone" and I was given this book for free to review as a part of the book review program for bloggers, available at http://www.booklookbloggers.com/ .
First, in case you are not familiar with David Livingstone's story, he is the British explorer who was a primary influence in the abolition of the East Africa' slave trade in the late 1800s. This biography chooses to focus on the expeditions which were paramount to achieving that end, rather than focus on the details of his childhood and early life experiences. The book provides an examination of the journeys that became the impetus for his quest to see the slave trade stopped in East Africa. Though, as you will read, Dr. Livingstone set out to discover the source of the Nile and did not succeed, he became burdened by the conditions slave trading had created in East Africa, and had a God given passion to see it stopped.
Each chapter begins with a map of the part of the journey discussed in that section, along with how long from that it would be until the East Africa slave trade ended, and the amount of slaves affected at that time. It details the voyages to achieve that end, and you may find yourself surprised by how 'human' Dr. Livingstone was, as many who travelled with him left due to conflicts with his personality and leadership abilities. Though the writer does document some of the spiritual aspects of Dr. Livingstone's life, I found it to be a little weak on emphasizing the commitment of his faith in the exploration process.
God uses men and women who are flawed and imperfect to accomplish great things. David Livingstone never lived to see the East Africa slave trade abolished or to ever discover the source of the Nile River. But, what he did was touch the lives of an untold number of people, both those he came in contact with and those who would be freed from the tyranny of slavery through his relentless efforts to undo injustice. From this book and from Dr. Livingstone's life, may you take away the challenge to do great things, the courage to attempt the impossible and the commitment to not give up in the face of persistent opposition.