“In this beautifully written and strikingly original account of British exploration of Africa and Australia in the nineteenth century, Dane Kennedy demonstrates the limits as well as the violence of imperial power and the vulnerability as well as the vainglory of the explorers. The vast ‘blank spaces’ of the European imagination in fact sustained complex and ancient civilizations, whose peoples challenged even as they helped produce the explorers’ knowledge of the world.” Marilyn Lake, co-author of Drawing the Global Colour Line: white men’s countries and the international challenge of racial equality
“Rather than simplification, Kennedy complicates both the process of exploration and the explorers engaged in it by reading primary sources against the grain, by avoiding and questioning heroic stereotypes, by looking for inferences and by examining discourse in a creative but controlled fashion.” Jane Carruthers, Australian Historical Studies
“Considering Australia and Africa together enables Kennedy to dispel the fog of romance that still envelops the figure of the explorer and to make some cogent observations on imperialism, the organization of knowledge, nationalism, and the role of indigenous people in facilitating exploration.” Norman Etherington, Australian Book Review
Dane Kennedy is Elmer Louis Kayser Professor of History and International Affairs at George Washington University. He is the author of The Highly Civilized Man: Richard Burton and the Victorian world.