This meticulously researched volume rescues from obscurity a fascinating episode in the history of U.S. relations with Africa: America’s first, tentative efforts at military, diplomatic, and commercial engagement with what is now the rather ironically named Democratic Republic of the Congo in the person of Lt. Emory Taunt, USN. The narrative of the intertwined tragedies of Mr. Taunt and of the Congo is moreover enriched by Andrew Jampoler’s own intrepid efforts to retrace his protagonist’s epic journey down the Congo River from Stanley Falls to the Atlantic Ocean….Highly recommended.
Anyone wanting to know more about the early history of Leopold’s II’s notorious Congo Free State will find much intriguing new information in Andrew Jampoler’s scholarly account of the tragi-comical life and death of Lt. Emory Taunt, USN, and of the deeds of a surprising cast of associated diplomats, colonial officials, engineers, ivory traders, and whistle-blowers.— Tim Jeal
This lively, readable, and carefully researched book fills in an intriguing and little-known corner of Congo history. Lieutenant Taunt’s life gives us a revealing glimpse of the gold rush period of the early days of the “Scramble for Africa.”