Volumes on Africa
“There’s no sky as big as this one anywhere else in the world. It hangs over you, like some kind of gigantic umbrella, and takes your breath away. You are flattened between the immensity of the air above you and the solid ground. It’s all around you, 360 degrees: sky and earth one the aerial reflection of the other.” —Francesca Marciano
Africa in my Blood, Jane Goodall, 2000 — Autobiography of the author in Kenya.
Coming of Age with Elephants: A Memoir, Joyce Poole, 1996 — This fascinating account of an elephant specialist’s work in Kenya over more than a decade is also a very personal tale of a woman’s struggle with sexism, violence and the conservation crisis, particularly as it effects her beloved elephants.
Emma’s War: An Aid Worker, A Warlord, Radical Islam, and the Politics of Oil: A True Story of Love and Death in Sudan, Deborah Scroggins, 2002. — A fascinating account of an idealistic young British woman who went to the Sudan as a relief worker and married a rebel warlord before her tragic death.
Green Hills of Africa, Ernest Hemingway, 1935 — This novel includes wonderful evocations of safari days in Kenya and Tanzania, where the Nobel-prize winning author went on numerous shooting safaris in the 1930s.
Hemingway in Africa: The Last Safari, Christopher Ondaatje, 2004 — The best-selling British biographer followed in Hemingway’s footsteps to trace the trail of two of his safaris through Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda to gain a deeper understanding of one of his literary heroes and his love of Africa.
I Dreamed of Africa, Kuki Gallmann, 1991 — The incredible memoir of an Italian woman who moved to Kenya where she fell so in love with the land and the wildlife that even after she tragically lost her husband and her son, she stayed on.
Memoirs of an Arabian Princess from Zanzibar, Emily Ruete, 1998 — This out-of-print memoir is hard to find but provides an interesting glimpse into life in the palace of a sultan in the 19th century by one of the princesses.
Out of Africa, Isak Dinesen, 1937 — Karen Blixen’s memoir about her life in the wilds of Kenya.
The Tree Where Man Was Born, Peter Matthiessen, 1972 — The New Yorker writer visited East Africa multiple times over the course of a decade to create this incredible portrait of the landscape and people and animals. The writing demonstrates why he is considered one of the best nature writers of the century, and what a perfect topic for him to mine.
West With the Night, Beryl Markham, 1942 — Compared favorably to Out of Africa, the controversial but acclaimed memoir(some attribute the writing to her publicist husband)is a passionate aviator-and-equestrienne’s poetic account of flight and discovery in Kenya, where she moved when she was three.
Wildlife Wars: My Fight to Save Africa’s Natural Treasures, Richard Leakey and Virginia Morell, 2001 — A memoir by the famous paleontologist about the years he spent as director of the Kenyan Wildlife Department from 1989 to 1994, witnessing first-hand the difficulty the country faces to save African wildlife.
Rules of the Wild, Francesca Marciano, 1998 — Literary chick lit of the best kind, this novel is set in Kenya in the 1990s and is people with expat relief workers, journalists and artists looking for love against the backdrop of Africa’s wilderness and modern Nairobi.
Listening for Lions, Gloria Whelan, 2007 — A coming-of-age story set in East Africa about a young girl who is forced to leave the plains of her tribe.
Going Solo, Roald Dahl, 1999 — The author of James and the Giant PEach revisits his days as a young Army officer stationed in Dar es Saleem before World War II and then his tour of duty in Egypt and Greece. Full of humor and history.
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