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Lost Lion of Empire: The Life of 'Cape-to-Cairo' Grogan: The Life of Ewart Grogan DSO, 1876-1976 Paperback – 4 Feb 2002

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Product details

  • Paperback: 470 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (4 Feb. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006530737
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006530732
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 428,905 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From the Author

INITIAL REVIEWS FROM NATIONAL PRESS
1. Eminent historian Andrew Roberts writing in the SUNDAY TELEGRAPH: 'Men like Ewart Grogan would have cut a swathe in any period of British history...This is a completely wonderful biography'.

2. Jeremy Lewis in the SUNDAY EXPRESS: 'Grogan's biographer, himself an Africa hand, has given the old boy the memorial he deserves'. **** (TERRIFIC)

3. Andrew Lycett in LITERARY REVIEW: 'Paice tells this thrilling story very readably, showing skill in his use of sources and a sure touch in relating Africa to wider historical developments.' --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

Ewart Grogan, 'the baddest and boldest of a bad bold gang' of settlers in Kenya, was one of the most brilliant and controversial figures of African colonial history.

When he proposed to a young heiress, Gertrude Coleman, he needed to prove himself a 'somebody' to her father in order to win her hand. He did so in inimitable style, announcing that he intended to accomplish the first south-to-north traverse of Africa. In 1900, after two years of illness and extreme hardship, he arrived triumphantly in Cairo.

He became an instant celebrity, and, on returning to England, at last married Gertrude. Now with a considerable fortune at his disposal, after a short bu succesful spell in South Africa he arrived in British East Africa. He quickly became a leader among the settlers, and embarked on a lifetime of grand projects, forced through despite government inertia, enormous natural obstacles and the looming threat of bankruptcy. Time after time he proved the doubters wrong, as he pulled off the seemingly impossible. Despite this frenetic activity, and despite his love for Gertrude, he still managed to find the time to run two separate families and father numerous children by various mothers.

The abrasive and glamorous Grogan, with Delamere, was one of the founding fathers of Kenya – Lost Lion of Empire is a brilliant and powerful account both of the life of an exceptional man and the birth of a country.


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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By maeve on 24 Nov. 2002
Format: Paperback
"He should get more credit for this amazing development." The owner of the sisal plantation which was developed from virtually useless land thirty years earlier, said this in 1998 of Ewart Scott Grogan 1874 -1967. This is the story of a remarkably brilliant and complex man, crafty, brave and with incredible foresight, he was condemned like Cassandra, never to be believed until it was too late. Nevertheless he managed to win and lose several fortunes.
The book also tells the story of the scramble for Africa in the early years of the twentieth century and the scramble out of Africa fifty years later.
Grogan was the first man to cross the continent from Cape to Cairo and thus win himself a bride. He fought in the Boer War and in East and Central Africa in World Wars I and II. In between whiles he was in constant conflict with the Colonial Office who, for the most part, couldn’t cope with his maverick style. He was frequently proved right in his judgement, and on at least two occasions the government had to admit to having dealt with him deceitfully and illegally.
He was the first man to establish a sawmill, a brickworks, a luxury hotel in Kenya. He was the driving force in building Kenya’s railways and a deep water harbour in Mombasa. He was also the first man to fly from Cairo to the Cape, retracing his own footsteps. In 1932 it took him eight and a half days.
There is much to learn from this book: about the role of Indians in East Africa; about the origins of the horrors in Urundu, Burundi and the Congo in recent years; about Kenya’s troubled transition to independence in the 1960’s; all this tracing the important role played by the not always likeable buccaneer Ewart Scott Grogan.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Monty on 3 Aug. 2009
Format: Paperback
This is an exciting read about a real life adventurer who deserves to be up there with Livingstone, Stanley, Burton and Speke.

A maverick in every sense of the word, an entrepreneur, orator, politician, explorer who has sadly been forgotten until now. Edward Paice brings "Cape to Cario" Grogan right back to prominence with this biography.

A must for all who have an interest in British history and Africa.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 April 2001
Format: Hardcover
Many of the best selling authors whose books stare out from airport shops predicate their stories by enlarging real life characters and exaggerating events to create their plots. But the life story of Ewart Grogan, African explorer, pioneer, entrepreneur and politician extraordinary, needs no enlarging, no exaggeration; and in this fascinating biography Edward Paice tells the unembellished tale of one of the most remarkable characters in the recent history of the British Empire. Queen Victoria's premier Ewart Gladstone was his godfather; Jesus College, Cambridge sent him down for an excess of youthful pranks; the exclusive London Alpine Club voted him their youngest ever member, and Cecil Rhodes made him one of his escorts in the Matebele War; but Grogan is best remembered for his pioneer walk through Africa from South to North, the first explorer to so do. But not for the lust to explore, not for fame or wealth, but for the love of a girl, to win the hand of a New Zealand maiden from her sceptical stepfather! This expedition through all the dangers of the unknown, fevers, wild animals, encounters with cannibals, deserting porters, leading to the final struggle through the marshy, impenetrable wastes of the Sudd in the Upper Nile and his fortuitous meeting with an officer of the Sudan garrison on a hunting expedition is as thrilling as any adventure tale of Africa. His subsequent fêting by the press, the honour of being the youngest man ever to address the Royal Geographical Society, the presenting of one of the Union Jacks he had carried through Africa to the Queen at Balmoral, and another to Cecil Rhodes, who penned the introduction to his book "From the Cape to Cairo - all this was achieved by the time he was but twenty-five years of age.Read more ›
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By fields21 on 20 Jan. 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is about a remarkable pioneer, who did some outstanding things. Traversed Africa by foot to gain a Lady's hand, laid the foundations of present day Nairobi, fought with the bureaucrats in the Colonial Office and much much more.
A remarkable person, in short, and certainly typical Victorian. A person you would like to know more about - especially his inner thoughts, motives etc. The authort keeps his usbject at arms-lenght though, which is slightly frustrating. Nevertheless, the author has done a remarkable job by saving this adventurer for posterity in an accesible way.
The other 'theme' if you like is the rise of an independant African nation from rough wilderness to a wealthy commodity producer. Last week headlines about cannibalisme in Eastern Congo cannot come as a suprise, once you've read the Grogan's visit to the same area a 100 years ago.
What makes the book interesting is the intertwining between the Man and his Environment. Or in plain English, the role a true Victorian Empire Builder can play in the whole process of independance, changing his views way before the majority in England or in Kenia was ready to do so.
Interesting all together, a great historical biography. The main character remains slightly at a distance, but that is no hurdle for great reading.
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