Fawn Brodie’s The Devil Drives: A Life of Sir Richard Burton is an awe-inspiring look at the life of one of the most important figures of the 19th Century. In an age when relativism was unknown, conquest the norm, Burton was able to shed off Mother Culture and view the world with his own eyes, shocking British Society and displaying a prime example of what Hakim Bey would today call poetic terrorism. In describing himself, Burton once said “he speaks the things that others think and hide.”
Explorer, linguist, archaeologist, anthropologist, soldier, spy, rogue, pervert; all have been used in attempts to label and tame Burton’s legacy. He is a man whom I am proud to look up to, and I’m thankful for this glimpse into his life.