We think of Stanley as a cruel imperialist who connived with King Leopold II of Belgium in horrific crimes against the people of the Congo--and the journalist who conducted the most legendary celebrity interview in history, opening with, "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?" But these perceptions are not quite true, as biographer Jeal shows. With access to previously closed Stanley family archives, Jeal reveals the extent to which Stanley's career and life have been misunderstood and undervalued. Few have started life as disadvantaged as Stanley. Rejected by both parents and consigned to a Welsh workhouse, he emigrated to America as a penniless eighteen-year-old. Jeal re-creates Stanley's rise to success, his friendships and romantic relationships, and his life-changing decision to assume an American identity. Stanley's epic but unfairly forgotten African journeys are described, establishing the explorer as the greatest to set foot on the continent.--From publisher description.