Travels In The White Man's Grave (Memoirs from West and Central Africa)

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9780349114354: Travels In The White Man's Grave (Memoirs from West and Central Africa)

In a real-life odyssey, Scottish-born Donald MacIntosh recounts tales from the magical fabled rainforests of pre-independence West-Africa

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Review:

As the son of a woodcutter from the Isle of Mull, Donald Macintosh grew up amid wild and sparsely inhabited areas. This was to stand him in good stead for his working life, most of which was spent amid the thick tropical forests of Liberia, Nigeria, Côte d'Ivoire, Gabon and Cameroon. His experiences in these wild and remote lands, at a time when gorillas, leopards and elephants were still commonplace, form the core of this elegant and evocative memoir, which was deservedly short-listed for the 1999 Thomas Cook Award.

Like Gerald Durrell, Macintosh is an erudite guide to the flora and fauna of the now vanished rain-forest. But he surpasses Durrell in his ability to evoke the magical atmosphere of the forest. There is something almost sensual about his description of the towering trees and the brilliance of the forest canopy, and Macintosh writes with equal empathy about the lives of the forest peoples, who were his friends and companions throughout his working life. The rare insight which he gained into their lives forms the backdrop to his stories of the forest and of strange characters such as "Magic Sperm", "Pisspot" and "Old Man Africa".

Although Macintosh's African life was full of adventures and dangers, he never exaggerates them, and writes with a fluidity and understated grace which makes his book a pleasure to read. By turns beautiful, poignant and very funny, Macintosh rarely misses the mark, and this memoir should become a classic of the genre. --Toby Green

Review:

Although Macintosh's African life was full of adventures and dangers, he never exaggerates them, and writes with a fluidity and understated grace which makes his book a pleasure to read. By turns beautiful, poignant and very funny, Macintosh rarely misses the mark, and this memoir should become a classic of the genre. --Toby Green --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. (Toby Green, Amazon.co.uk)

Excellent... [Macintosh's] book, one of the surprises of the year, is a slender but richly entertaining memoir (Sara Wheeler, DAILY TELEGRAPH)

A poignant and humourous storyteller of the West African bush to rival Gerald Durrell. (TLS)

He writes with a charming insouciance that celebrates an Africa before big business tore the heart out of the rainforest. (SUNDAY TIMES)

A superb raconteur. Like the cobras which inhabit this remembered world, his stories move with grace and speed (DAILY MAIL)

This is a book written by someone who loves Africa, and who can write with real wit (WATERLOG)

His fragrant book is a compost of anecdote, lore, survival tips and anthropological tidbits. The simplicity of life in the forest is matched by the charming simplicity of MacIntosh's prose. He is a natural writer, if such a thing exists, and his book is that best of all genres, a hybrid. Part memoir, part travelogue and part history, at its heart it is a threnody for lost trees, lost characters and lost youth ... he has the same profound and almost loving relationship with the African forest that Thesiger had with the sands of Arabia (OLDIE)

[MacIntosh's] stories for West and Central Africa may sometimes be tall, but he can tell them. MacIntosh listens to chiefs, witch doctors and hunters telling their magical tales, drinking palm wine with them or lying out under the stars while drums beat a tattoo and weird ceremonies take place. There were some hair-raising encounters with cobras, vipers and homicidal buffalos, but MacIntosh, whose romantic attraction to the forest never falters, takes it all lightly (LONDON MAGAZINE)

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Donald MacIntosh
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MacIntosh, Donald
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