Norton Publishers
Published by
Norton (June 2012)
Original language


10'000 Miles Through Islamic Africa

by Kemper, Steve

An absolutely thrilling account of the German explorer Heinrich Barth's (1821-1865) travels across North and Central Africa in the mid-nineteenth century.

Barth's is a name that should be as well known as those of Stanley, Livingstone, and Burton, as his accomplishments are every bit the equal of those fabled explorers'. But for a variety of political reasons, he has been all but overlooked, which gives us the great joy of rediscovering his masterful work. A brilliant linguist with a genuine, non-prejudicial interest in African cultures, Barth captured the people, geography, religion, and daily lifestyles of the Sahara and Sahel with astonishing accuracy and insight. Stephen Kemper's account is beautifully written and utterly involving.

In 1850 Heinrich Barth joined a small British expedition into unexplored regions of Islamic North and Central Africa. One by one his companions died, but he carried on alone, eventually reaching the fabled city of gold, Timbuktu. His five-and-a-half year, 10,000-mile adventure ranks among the greatest journeys in the annals of exploration, and his discoveries are considered indispensable by modern scholars of Africa. Yet because of shifting politics, European preconceptions about Africa, and his own thorny personality, Barth has fallen through a crack in history. The general public has never heard of him, or his epic journey, or his still-pertinent observations about Africa and Islam, and his monumental five-volume Travels and Discoveries in North and Central Africa is rare even in libraries.

Steve Kemper is the author of Code Name Ginger. His work has appeared in many national publications, including Smithsonian and National Geographic. He is lives in West Hartford, Connecticut.

Available rights (1)

Language Territory Type Vendor Status
German World All

Mohrbooks Literary Agency
Sebastian Ritscher

Available View on Rightsdesk


Reviews, Interviews

Review: Author's Blog

Journalist Kemper tells the engrossing story of a German scholar’s five-and-a-half year, 10,000-mile journey across North and Central Africa in an age when that continent was as remote and exotic to Europeans as the North Pole.

Review: Publishers Weekly


Review: History News Network

A spirited reconstruction of the arduous five-year trek into Central Africa by Heinrich Barth (1821–1865), a German scientist exploring for England.

Review: Kirkus

He approached his expedition with an open mind and a willingness to engage with those around him regardless of their social status. Barth’s insights into the commonalities that exist among different cultures remain relevant today.

Review: Booklist

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