A Labyrinth of Kingdoms: 10,000 Miles Through Islamic Africa (W. W. Norton & Company) by Steve Kemper 

A Boston Globe Best Nonfiction of the Year

A spirited reconstruction of the arduous five-year trek into Central Africa by Heinrich Barth (1821-1865), a German scientist exploring for England. A nicely rounded literary study of an intrepid explorer undone by the cultural biases of the time. –Kirkus Reviews

“Steve Kemper’s elegant, richly rewarding biography should go a long way toward correcting [Barth’s obscurity]. On one level, the book is a superb chronicle of Barth’s travels, from the harrowing heat and physical danger to the dazzling diversity of people he encountered on his path. It’s also an astute character study of a relentlessly curious scientific personality—The Boston Globe