The Daring Heart Of David Livingstone (book review)

I’ll be honest: I only knew one small story about David Livingstone prior to reading The Daring Heart Of David Livingstone by Jay Milbrandt, and now I’m kicking myself that I didn’t learn more about this amazing man much earlier! 

Dr. Livingstone was a missionary, a world-renown explorer, and an avid abolitionist. Very rarely have I come across a biography that reads like a novel, but this book is just that! Milbrandt is a brilliant storyteller, and he makes the biography of Livingstone so intriguing that I could scarcely put it down. I love how many of Livingstone’s personal letters and diary entries are included in this book, as it almost makes it feel more like a memoir or autobiography. 

Dr. Livingstone first went to Africa as a missionary but then gained fame as an explorer, becoming the first man to traversing Africa on foot—from the Atlantic coast to the Indian Ocean. He wrote a book about these travels (including the people he met, the animal and plant life he observed, and the stories of the dangers he faced), which gave him celebrity status in England. So much so that when he wanted to return to Africa, both the London Missionary Society and the Royal Geographical Society wanted to be his sending agency. 

Livingstone desperately wanted to see the end of slavery on the African continent, and returned to Africa with that sole focus burning in his heart. Along the way, he met with massive struggles—some self-imposed and some unavoidable in the harsh environment of interior Africa. Yet through all of these hardships, Livingstone repulsed at the idea that anything he ever went through could be called a sacrifice, stating emphatically: “I never made a sacrifice!” 

Milbrandt writes, “Livingstone died perhaps believing he had failed in every aspect. Yet, in the few short years after his death, everything Livingstone had worked for had come to fruition.” Including the complete eradication of the foul slave trade across the African continent. 

What an amazing example for leaders to aspire to follow today! 

(Tomorrow I will share some quotes from David Livingstone that you won’t want to miss!) 

Churchill’s Trial (book review)

Churchill's TrialI have read so much written by and about Winston Churchill, that it’s hard to imagine learning something new about this remarkable man. And yet, I was amazed at how much more I learned in reading Churchill’s Trial by Larry Arnn.

It’s easy to take for granted the freedoms people have in countries like England and the United States because of the foresight of the framers of our Constitutions. But there are trials which put these freedoms in a precarious place, and if it were not for strong and insightful men—like Winston Churchill—those freedoms could have disappeared.

Churchill played key roles in his country, and in world politics, through two world wars, a global depression, the coming of age of new military super-powers, the dawn of the era of atomic warfare, and the rise of Communism. In all of these intense events, the temptation was there to make radical changes to meet the challenge of the moment. Churchill had the wisdom and foresight to leverage the strength of his country’s Constitution, without undermining it nor setting a precedent which would erode future freedoms.

In what Churchill did for England, he also helped strength the resolve of key leaders in the United States, who faced similar challenges in a shifting geopolitical climate. Churchill not only saved the world from the spread of fascism and communism, but he did so in a way that would guarantee freedom for millions of people in generations to follow. The question before us now is: Will we learn from Churchill’s example, or will we fail the trial we now face?

For history buffs, political junkies, and fans of Winston Churchill, Churchill’s Trial is an excellent read.

I am a Thomas Nelson book reviewer.

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