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White's books were popular at a time when America was losing its vanishing wilderness. He was a keen observer of the beauties of nature and human nature, yet could render them in a plain-spoken style. Based on his own experience, whether writing camping journals or Westerns, he included pithy and fun details about cabin-building, canoeing, logging, gold-hunting, and guns and fishing and hunting. He also interviewed people who had been involved in the fur trade, the California gold rush and other pioneers which provided him with details that give his novels verisimilitude. He salted in humor and sympathy for colorful characters such as canny Indian guides and "greenhorn" campers who carried too much gear. White also illustrated some of his books with his own photographs, while some of his other books, were illustrated by artists, such as the American Western painter Fernand Lungren for "The Mountains" and "Camp and Trail". Theodore Roosevelt wrote that White was "the best man with both pistol and rifle who ever shot" at Roosevelt's rifle range at Sagamore Hill.
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Some travel books authors try to impress the reader with a full sense of the danger and hardship they have undergone. Others are deadly afraid of bragging about their adventures, knowing, for instance, that hundreds of others have been charged by a lion and may be reading their book.
In The Land of Footprints, Stewart Edward White attempts to be the ideal travel book author, one who tells the reader what the country, its people, and its animals are really like, "not in vague and grandiose `word paintings,' not in strange and foreign sounding words and phrases, but in comparison with something they know."
The Land of Footprints is the enormous enjoyable, immensely readable memoir of Stewart Edward White's year spent in East Equatorial Africa at the beginning of the 20th century.About the Author:
Stewart Edward White (12 March 1873 – September 18, 1946) was an American writer, novelist, and spiritualist. He was a brother of noted mural painter Gilbert White.
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