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Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton

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The Rocket People of Black Rock Desert

RICHARD GRANT CONSIDERS THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE PIONEERING AND MUCH MISUNDERSTOOD 19TH-CENTURY EXPLORER

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Sir Richard Francis Burton – “The greatest mind of his generation,” as he was sometimes called – belonged to a type that is now extinct. Today our greatest intellectuals seldom stray far from offices, libraries and conference halls. Burton, however, was both an eminent scholar and a fullblooded man of adventure who flung himself into remote and dangerous places in the name of exploration.

He was an archaeologist, botanist, geologist, writer, poet and a brilliant ethnographer. He spoke 29 languages and could imitate 60 sounds made by monkeys. He could play four games of chess at once, blindfolded, and never lose. He wrote 43 books about his exploration and travels, translated 16 volumes of Arabian Nights, six books of Portuguese literature and published the first English version of the Kama Sutra and other sexual manuals and erotica from the East.

He prided himself on loo...

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