Title: David Livingstone: Explorer and Missionary
Author: Sam Wellman
Series: Heroes of the Faith
Major Themes: Africa, Explorers, Missionaries
Synopsis: The life of David Livingstone is described in a very readable, fascinating story.
I have read so many books about David Livingstone that when I picked this one up I was prepared to have to force myself to read it. I was quite pleasantly surprised, however, to find it not only readable but very interesting. It kept my attention all the way through.
You probably already know the basics of Livingstone’s life, how he began life in a mill town in Scotland, and worked in the mills as a young boy. His family sacrificed to provide each of the children with a basic education, and young David kept a book propped open on the machinery he was responsible for tending, reading a sentence at a time as he could. In his twenties he went to South Africa as a missionary and ended up marrying the daughter of the missionary he went to help. He spent the rest of his life exploring Africa and opening the way for trade and spreading the gospel.
David Livingstone: Explorer and Missionary is written almost like a novel. There is enough conversation to make you feel like you are there, and events move fairly rapidly. I found it very easy to read, as I said above. One thing that came through quite clearly, which I haven’t seen in any other biography of Livingstone, was the depth of the slave trade. I had heard of it, but more of a passing mention in other books. Sam Wellman, however, talks a fair amount about the Portuguese slave traders, and also how the Africans sold each other. Livingstone worked as hard as he could to stop the slave trade, even at the risk of his own life.
If you’re studying Africa, explorers, or missionaries, this would be a very good choice to read. It would make a good read-aloud, or reader for early teens and up. It is inspiring reading for anyone.
Listening Level—Ages 10 – 12, Family Friendly
Reading Independently—Ages 12 – 15, 15 and Above, Adults