Crossing the Heart of Africa
An Odyssey of Love and Adventure
By Julian Smith
(Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780061873478, 325pp.)
Publication Date: December 2010
List Price: $14.99*
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The amazing true story of Julian Smith, who retraced the journey of legendary British explorer Ewart "The Leopard" Grogan, the first man to cross the length of Africa, in hopes of also winning the heart of the woman he loved.
In 1898, the dashing young British explorer Ewart the Leopard Grogan was in love. In order to prove his mettle to his belovedand her aristocratic stepfatherhe set out on a quest to become the first person to walk across Africa, a feat hitherto thought by many explorers to be impossible (New York Times, 1900).
In 2007, thirty-five-year-old American journalist Julian Smith faced a similar problem with his girlfriend of six years . . . and decided to address it in the same way Grogan had more than a hundred years before: he was going to retrace the Leopards 4,500-mile journey for love and glory through the lakes, volcanoes, savannas, and crowded modern cities of Africa.
Smith interweaves both adventures into a seamless narrative in Crossing the Heart of Africa: the story of two explorers, a century apart, who both traversed the length of Africa to prove themselves . . . and came back changed men.
- Much of the book is a meditation on being a lone outsider in places and cultures that are unfamiliar, at times almost alien. Discuss your own experiences in foreign places and cultures—unexpected things you encountered, intriguing people you met, ways you coped with being a stranger in a strange land.