by Hunter, J. (John) A.
pub. by Harper and Brothers, New York, 1952 isbn (none) LCCN = 52-7287 (this book has been recently reprinted) - - 263 p. - photos in b&w,
A. J. Hunter was one of the Great White Hunters of East Africa. He was born in 1887 on a farm near Shearington in southern Scotland. His family had 300 acres of farm and 3 square miles of grazing land. J.A. grew up enjoying the outdoor life, hunting, trapping, negotiating dangerous bogs etc. He was not properly successful at school. After an involvement with a local young woman his father bought him a ticket to Kenya to go to a cousin who lived there. He provided J.A. with the most powerful rifle the family owned.
J.A. Arrived in Mombassa and made his way to his cousins farm. The cousin was an uncouth man who abused both his wife and his native help. After a few months John struck out on his own. Instead of returning to Scotland humilated, by chance he was offered and took, a job as a railroad guard on the Mombasa-Nairobi line. One day he stopped the train, killed an elephant, and sold the tusks. In a short while he began his career as a professional hunter shooting lions for their hides. He met Hilda Banbury whose father owned a music store in Nairobi. They had a long marriage and had 6 children, 4 boys and 2 girls. They bought a big old house outside Nairobi called Clairmont for their home. Shortly after they were married he tried hauling freight for a living with mules and horses. That failed and he turned to a friend who hired him as a hunting guide for 2 Americans. This hunt started his long career as a white hunter and guide.
He guided, and was hired by the Kenyan government to clear areas of dangerous game (most often lions, elephant or rhino) which were threatening native villages and their agricultural holdings. He worked with Masai and had some great friendships with them. John Hunter was, for his day, remarkably respectful for the native peoples of his part of Africa.
Much of the book involves hunting tales. They are well written and thoughful. The period covered is mostly between WWI and WWII. If you want a flavor of East Africa through this time, or want to read of Africa in a more natural state read this book.
~ 2010-04-16 ~
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