White Hunters: The Golden Age of African Safaris

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9781470889296: White Hunters: The Golden Age of African Safaris

[Read by Simon Vance]

A little over 100 years ago, East Africa was terra incognita to most whites: a land largely unmapped, sparsely settled by Europeans, and teeming with wildlife. It was the hunter-adventurer's paradise, and by the early 20th century a small, lionhearted clan of explorers and big-game hunters began leading safaris there for money. They became the legendary White Hunters, men who led manifold adventurers in pursuit of the world's biggest, most dangerous, and most sought-after game. -- White Hunters is a nostalgic and densely-packed history of these men and their adventures, from the turn of the century until the 1970s, when politics, a growing population, civil strife, and concern about species destruction intervened.

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Review:

A little over 100 years ago, East Africa was terra incognita to most whites: a land largely unmapped, sparsely settled by Europeans, and teeming with wildlife--from elephants to wildebeest, bongos to rhinos, and all manner of scarifying beasts in between. It was the hunter-adventurer's paradise, and by the early 20th century, a small, lionhearted clan of explorers and big-game hunters began leading safaris there for money. They became the legendary White Hunters of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, men who led manifold adventurers--including royalty, film stars, writers, and millionaires--in pursuit of the world's biggest, most dangerous, and most sought-after game.

White Hunters is a nostalgic and densely-packed history of these men and their adventures, from the turn of the century until the 1970s when politics, a growing population, civil strife, and concern about species destruction intervened. Brian Herne has written a virtual and anecdotal Who's Who of White Hunters, crammed with the details of hundreds of hunts and the dozens of men who led them.

This is no book for the faint-hearted or the politically correct. Despite Herne's insistence that his heroes were the first true conservationists, White Hunters is all about the testosterone-enhanced glory of killing big, beautiful things: "Clary fired, dropping his quarry with a side brain shot. The record-class tusks weighed 159 and 143 pounds each, a gigantic elephant...." On the other hand, a staggering number of hunters died in pursuit of their quarry--mauled, eviscerated, or impaled on the tusks of furious, vengeful beasts.

Not so long ago lions wandered the streets of Nairobi. The politics of big-game hunting aside, the White Hunters' East Africa--wild, mysterious, unspoiled--is vanishing, and Herne has painstakingly documented an era that most readers will likely never know. --Svenja Soldovieri

About the Author:

BRIAN HERNE was the youngest professional hunter ever licensed in East Africa, and has had a career spanning thirty years. He is one of only seventeen individuals awarded the Shaw and Hunter Trophy -- known as the ''Oscar'' of the African hunting world. Mr. Herne has also received awards for his photography, including Japan's prestigious Asahi Pentax Award. The founder of the international professional hungers' magazine Track, he has written for numerous outdoor and hunting magazines. A second-generation Kenyan, Mr. Herne now lives in southern California.

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