River of the Gods: An Evening with Author Candice Millard

Join us for a program with best-selling nonfiction author Candice Millard, discussing and signing copies of her new book, River of the Gods: Genius, Courage, and Betrayal in the Search for the Source of the Nile. She will be in conversation with bookseller and historian Jon Grand.

This is a ticketed program. Tickets include a copy of the book, and options include a ticket that admits two people (with one book) or one person with one book. CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets!

More about the Book: For millennia the location of the Nile River’s headwaters was shrouded in mystery. In the 19th century, there was a frenzy of interest in ancient Egypt. At the same time, European powers sent off waves of explorations intended to map the unknown corners of the globe – and extend their colonial empires. Richard Burton and John Hanning Speke were sent by the Royal Geographical Society to claim the prize for England. Burton spoke twenty-nine languages, and was a decorated soldier. He was also mercurial, subtle, and an iconoclastic atheist. Speke was a young aristocrat and Army officer determined to make his mark, passionate about hunting, Burton’s opposite in temperament and beliefs.

From the start the two men clashed. They would endure tremendous hardships, illness, and constant setbacks. Two years in, deep in the African interior, Burton became too sick to press on, but Speke did, and claimed he found the source in a great lake that he christened Lake Victoria. When they returned to England, Speke rushed to take credit, disparaging Burton. Burton disputed his claim, and Speke launched another expedition to Africa to prove it. The two became venomous enemies, with the public siding with the more charismatic Burton, to Speke’s great envy. The day before they were to publicly debate, Speke shot himself.

Yet there was a third man on both expeditions, his name obscured by imperial annals, whose exploits were even more extraordinary. This was Sidi Mubarak Bombay, who was enslaved and shipped from his home village in East Africa to India. When the man who purchased him died, he made his way into the local Sultan’s army, and eventually traveled back to Africa, where he used his resourcefulness, linguistic prowess and raw courage to forge a living as a guide. Without Bombay and men like him, who led, carried, and protected the expedition, neither Englishman would have come close to the headwaters of the Nile, or perhaps even survived.

More About the Author: Candice Millard is the author of three previous books, each of which was a New York Times bestseller. She is the recipient of the 2017 BIO Award. Her first book, The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey, was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection and a Book Sense Pick, won the William Rockhill Nelson Award and was a finalist for the Quill Awards. Millard's second book, Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine & the Murder of a President, won the Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime, the PEN Center USA award for Research Nonfiction, the One Book-One Lincoln Award, the Ohioana Award and the Kansas Notable Book Award. Her most recent book, Hero of the Empire: The Boer War, a Daring Escape and the Making of Winston Churchill, was an Indie Next pick and a top ten critics pick by the New York Times . Millard’s work has also appeared in the New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post Book World, the Guardian, National Geographic, and Time magazine. She lives in Kansas City with her husband and three children.

Event date: 

Thursday, June 9, 2022 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm

Event address: 

The Book Stall
811 Elm Street
Winnetka, IL 60093