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Radio Listener: Book of the Week | Heart and Soul

DAVID Livingstone is famous as the Scots-born mill worker who became a missionary and explorer, but what do we know about his long-suffering wife?

BOOK OF THE WEEK - Mon-Fri, Radio 4, 9:45am

HEART AND SOUL - Today, BBC World Service, 3:30pm

As we near 2014’s bicentenary of Livingstone’s birth, Book of the Week is ‘Looking For Mrs Livingstone’. Julie Davidson tells the story of a remarkable woman eclipsed by her famous husband’s shadow who embarked on some extraordinary journeys of her own.

The book follows Davidson as she travels through today’s southern Africa in search of traces of Mary Livingstone, who became the first white woman to cross the Kalahari Desert – which she did, twice, while pregnant, and on the second journey she gave birth in the bush.

Another great British hero comes under scrutiny tonight when Archive on 4 reassesses the achievement of TE Lawrence. In ‘Lawrence of Arabia: The Man and the Myth’, Allan Little looks at his own account of his desert campaign, as told in The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, in light of current events in the Middle East. Little also delves into recorded accounts from those who knew Lawrence.

Bringing Arab affairs bang up to date, the BBC also looks at the Middle East in HEART AND SOUL. ‘Green Shoots From the Arab Spring’ is a two-part examination of the changes in Arab society that have followed the turbulent two years of the “Arab Spring”. Christopher de Bellaigue talks to ordinary people in the Middle East about changes they see in family relations, in attitudes towards authority, religion and sexuality, and wonders if we are seeing a genuine Middle Eastern “Enlightenment”.

JIM GILCHRIST

 

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