An account of the course of the Blue Nile from the Ethiopian Highlands, through the Sudan and Egupt to the sea. The book contains an historical narrative which starts in the eighteenth century and ends in 1869. The period was dominated by four men: James Bruce, the Scot who journeyed to the supposed source of the Blue Nile, and stayed in warring Ethiopia; Napoleon who, needing military glory to further his political ambitions, led a brilliantly conceived expedition to Egypt; Mohammed Ali, the Turkish viceroy, who sent his son to conquer the Sudan in a ruthless quest for gold and slaves; and Emporer Theodore of Ethiopia, a tyrant who held British subjects captive.
Having been written in 1962, some dated attitudes were apparent, but overall, it was very interesting and informative. I'm glad I read it. I learned of edplorers I'd not heard of before, and even though I'd known that Napoleon had occupied Egypt for a while, I'd never known the details, and found them fascinating.
This book was extremely enlightening with respect to such subjects as Mamaluke rule of Egypt prior to Napoleon's arrival and the subsequent reign of Muhammad Ali. However, by far the most interesting and educational part of the book was the last half which dealt primarily with the reign of Theodore, Emperor of Ethiopia and the British invasion to secure the release of European hostages held by Theodore. Prior to reading this book, I'd never heard of Theodore nor the British invasion of Ethiopia.
Blue Nile is a companion piece to White Nile, the Blue Nile being the Nile tributary which feeds into the river at Khartoum, Sudan having flowed from its source in the Ethiopian highlands. Moorehead does a very good job in describing the various expeditions which sought the source of the Blue Nile as well as the political and social anarchy endemic to the region.