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Mimi and Toutou Go Forth - The Bizarre Battle of Lake Tanganyika (Paperback) Loot Price: R167
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Mimi and Toutou Go Forth - The Bizarre Battle of Lake Tanganyika (Paperback)

Giles Foden

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List price R200 Loot Price R167 Discovery Miles 1 670 You Save R33 (17%)

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A compact history of a little-known WWI battle that inspired a well-known film. The battle for Lake Tanganyika may not be as thoroughly covered by historians as the battle of Verdun, but seizing control of the lake was strategically important to Great Britain, as Foden (the Whitbread Award-winning The Last King of Scotland, 1998, etc.) shows in this meticulous, engaging and gracefully written account. In control of Lake Tanganyika, the Germans were poised to overrun the Belgians, who had entered the war as allies of Britain. As Britain's great naval leaders were otherwise engaged, the Admiralty decided in 1915 to dispatch the clumsy, eccentric and egomaniacal Lieutenant Commander Geoffrey Spicer-Simson to rout the Germans. Desperate to become a hero-but practical enough to wear a skirt in the African jungle heat-Spicer-Simson led a motley crew that hauled two 40-foot mahogany gunboats (the Mimi and the Toutou) overland, then sailed them up the darkest Congo. Battling disease-carrying insects, boat-rattling hippopotami and natives craving "food that once talked," the men witnessed an Africa that no longer exists, a forbidding and enticing place Foden describes in vivid detail. Eventually, the boats destroyed the Graf von Gotzen, the mighty German ship commanding the lake. Spicer-Simson backed off from challenging one other German ship, but that didn't preclude his rising to mythical status when he returned home. If threads of this adventure sound familiar, it's because they eventually became the woof of C.S. Forester's 1935 novel and John Huston's 1951 film The African Queen. In an epilogue, Foden follows the story's journey to the depths of the Congo. Pleasant and engaging-as historical document, travel journal and film footnote. (Kirkus Reviews)
At the start of World War One, German warships controlled Lake Tanganyika in Central Africa. The British had no naval craft at all upon 'Tanganjikasee', as the Germans called it. This mattered: it was the longest lake in the world and of great strategic advantage. In June 1915, a force of 28 men was despatched from Britain on a vast journey. Their orders were to take control of the lake. To reach it, they had to haul two motorboats with the unlikely names of Mimi and Toutou through the wilds of the Congo. The 28 were a strange bunch -- one was addicted to Worcester sauce, another was a former racing driver -- but the strangest of all of them was their skirt-wearing, tattoo-covered commander, Geoffrey Spicer-Simson. Whatever it took, even if it meant becoming the god of a local tribe, he was determined to cover himself in glory. But the Germans had a surprise in store for Spicer-Simson, in the shape of their secret 'supership' the Graf von Gotzen . . . Unearthing new German and African records, the prize-winning author of The Last King of Scotland retells this most unlikely of true-life tales with his customary narrative energy and style. Fitzcarraldo meets Heart of Darkness, this is rich, vivid and flashmanesque in its appeal - military history at its most absorbing and entertaining


Imprint: Penguin Books
Country of origin: United Kingdom
Release date: July 2005
First published: July 2005
Authors: Giles Foden
Dimensions: 199 x 131 x 21mm (L x W x T)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 319
ISBN-13: 978-0-14-100984-1
Categories: Books > Humanities > History > European history > General
Books > Humanities > History > History of specific subjects > Military history
Books > Social sciences > Warfare & defence > War & defence operations > Battles & campaigns
Books > Humanities > History > World history > From 1900 > First World War
Books > History > European history > General
Books > History > History of specific subjects > Military history
Books > History > World history > From 1900 > First World War
LSN: 0-14-100984-5
Barcode: 9780141009841

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