Congo, the Miserable Expeditions and Dreadful Death of Lt. Emory Taunt, USN

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9781612510798: Congo, the Miserable Expeditions and Dreadful Death of Lt. Emory Taunt, USN

Lauded for his ability to tell compelling, true adventure stories, award-winning author Andrew C.A. Jampoler has turned his attention this time to a young American naval officer on a mission up the Congo River in May 1885. Lt. Emory Taunt was ordered to explore as much of the river as possible and report on opportunities for Americans in the potentially rich African marketplace. A little more than five years later, Taunt, 39, was buried near the place he had first come ashore in Africa. His personal demons and the Congos lethal fevers had killed him. In 2011, to better understand what happened, Jampoler retraced Taunts expedition in an outboard motorboat. Striking photographs from the authors trip are included to lend a visual dimension to the original journey.

Readers join Taunt in his exploration of some 1400 miles of river and follow him on two additional assignments. A commercial venture to collect elephant ivory in the rivers great basin and an appointment as the U.S. State Departments first resident diplomat in Boma, capital of King Leopold IIs Congo Free State, are filled with promise. But instead of becoming rich and famous, he died alone, bankrupt, and disgraced. Jampolers account of what went so dreadfully wrong is both thrilling and tragic. He provides not only a fascinating look at Taunts brief and extraordinary life, but also a glimpse of the role the United States played in the birth of the Congo nation, and the increasingly awkward position Washington found itself as stories of atrocities against the natives began to leak out.

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About the Author:

Andrew C. A. Jampoler spent nearly twenty-five years as an active duty naval aviator including a year on the ground in Vietnam, command of a squadron and a naval air station, and service on several high level staffs. He is the author of six other Naval Institute Press books, beginning with Adak in 2003 and most recently Congo.

Review:

"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 mood of the early days of the Scramble for Africa." --Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold's Ghost, Bury the Chains, and other books.

"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 ... the Congo in the person of Lieutenant Emory Taunt, USN. The narrative ... is moreover enriched by Jampoler’s own intrepid effort to retrace his protagonist’s epic journey down the Congo River ... Highly recommended." --J. Peter Pham
Director, Africa Center, Atlantic Council
Editor-in-Chief, Journal of the Middle East and Africa


"Anyone wanting to know more about the early history of Leopold 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 Lieutenant Emory Taunt USN, and of the deeds of a surprising cast of associated diplomats, colonial officials, engineers, ivory traders and whistle-blowers." --Tim Jeal, author of Stanley and Explorers of the Nile

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