[Distributed Books]: Search for the Nile’s Source: The Ruined Reputation of John Petherick, Nineteenth-Century Welsh Explorer


“The marvelous John Humphries has unearthed another great character ignored by historians. . . . A remarkable and riveting story.”–Terry Breverton, author of The Welsh: The Biography

Search for the Nile’s Source

The Ruined Reputation of John Petherick, Nineteenth-Century Welsh Explorer

John Humphries 

Published by the University of Wales Press
Distributed by the University of Chicago Press

Publication date: February 28, 2014 224 p., 20 halftones
ISBN-13: 978-0-7083-2673-2 Paper $30.00


John Hanning Speke’s discovery of Lake Victoria in 1858 while on a quest to find the source of the Nile elevated him to the pantheon of heroes of African exploration, alongside David Livingstone and Henry Morton Stanley. But historians have ignored the part played by the Welsh mining engineer John Petherick in the discovery, largely because Speke branded him a slave trader. In this first biography of Petherick, John Humphries explores whether Petherick was truly a rogue, as he is often portrayed, or the victim of a conspiracy that destroyed his reputation and denied him credit for one of the greatest feats in African exploration.


John Humphries is a former newspaper editor and foreign correspondent and the author of Spying for Hitler and Freedom Fighters, both published by the University of Wales Press.


Please contact Micah Fehrenbacher at (773) 702-7717 or micahf@uchicago.edu for more information.



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