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No Picnic on Mount Kenya: A Daring Escape, a Perilous Climb Paperback – Jul 2005


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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: The Lyons Press; New edition edition (July 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592287247
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592287246
  • Product Dimensions: 20.9 x 14.1 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 542,676 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"A tale worth reading... Mr. Benuzzi's paradoxical mixture of pride and self-mocking humility is attractive; his courage is amazing; his story dramatic." - The New York Times"

About the Author

Felice Benuzzi was born in Vienna to a family of mountaineers. He was an accomplished swimmer who represented Italy in several international meets from 1933 to 1935. He was also a graduate of law school. In 1938 he entered the Colonial Service and began serving abroad, where he was captured and imprisoned in a POW camp at the foot of Mount Kenya. Benuzzi managed to escape from the camp and immediately began writing. He then rejoined the service while continuing to write and, while traveling all over the world, became more accomplished in both professions. Felice Benuzzi passed away in 1988.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By L. Weeks on 30 Aug 2001
Format: Paperback
My first copy of this book is a 1955 paperback (2/6d net!). I read it so many times that it's nearly fallen apart. This will appeal to mountaineers, those who like stories about the war and those who like a really good adventure tale. And it's all true! Planning an ascent from within the confines of a prisoner of war camp, three Italian soldiers, longing for their native Dolomites, see Mount Kenya as a way of lifting the boredom of being PoWs. Brilliantly written; it's funny, sad, exciting, beautifully descriptive and compulsive. To whoever is sitting on the screen rights - please do something about it!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dr S. S. Nagi TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 4 Oct 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read the book 1953 with maps and dates. Here Falice with two friends escapes on to mount kenya climbing with all the difficulties along the river Nanyuki ( meaning red -brown ) and puts the italian flag on lenana peak. They run out of food and get very cold and then have to get back to the POW camp.
The author even has time to write what the kukuyu call Mt Kenya ( kere-nyaga meaning Mountain of brightness ) and the masai ( Ol- Doniyo Eibor - meaning White mountain ).
He also explains how kenya got its name from KERE-NYAGA and the wkamba poeple could not use letters like 'r' or 'g', so they called it KENYAA.
Read the book and enjoy up to the end. And having born in Kenya, I will say ' muzuri - sana', meaning ' very good'.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Angel Silver on 21 Dec 2008
Format: Hardcover
Felice Benuzzi recounts one of the most bizarre and daring prisoner-of-war and escape adventures of the past century. In 1943, Felice Benuzzi and two Italian compatriots escaped from a British POW camp in equatorial East Africa with only one goal in mind: to climb the dangerous 17,000ft Mount Kenya. NO PICNIC ON MOUNT KENYA is the classic tale of this most bizarre and thrilling adventure, a story that has earned its place as a unique masterpiece of daring and suspense. FELICE BENUZZI was born in Vienna to a family of mountaineers. He was an accomplished swimmer who represented Italy in several international meets from 1933 to 1935. He was also a graduate of law school. In 1938 he entered the Colonial Service and began serving abroad, where he was captured and imprisoned in a POW camp at the foot of Mount Kenya. Benuzzi managed to escape from the camp and immediately began writing. He then rejoined the service while continuing to write and, while travelling all over the world, became more accomplished in both professions. Felice Benuzzi passed away in 1988.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By L. Weeks on 20 May 2006
Format: Paperback
My first copy of this book is a 1955 paperback (2/6d net!). I've read it so many times that it's nearly fallen apart. This will appeal to mountaineers, those who like stories about the war and those who just like a really good adventure tale. And it's all true! Planning an ascent from within the confines of a prisoner of war camp, three Italian soldiers, longing for their native Dolomites, see Mount Kenya as a way of lifting the boredom of being PoWs. Brilliantly written; it's funny, sad, exciting, beautifully descriptive and compulsive. To whoever is sitting on the screen rights - please do something about it!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 23 July 1999
Format: Paperback
Having climbed Mt. Kenya myself, I can appreciate Benuzzi's experience. The book is a lot of fun to read. Very enjoyable.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Warthog on 23 July 2012
Format: Paperback
One of those magic, classic books that repays re-reading. For three P.O.W's to escape just to climb a mountain - even one as beautiful as Mt Kenya - clearly took exceptional spirit and enterprise. Their adventures in the forest and their attempt on Kenya's formidable West Ridge make gripping reading. It would make a great film.

The story is well and humbly told. I have been on the mountain several times and can testify that the author evokes the spirit of the place very well.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By D. Elliott TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 12 Aug 2008
Format: Paperback
The author of `No Picnic on Mount Kenya', Felice Benuzzi, was an Italian prisoner of war held by the British in a camp in East Africa during the Second World War. PoW Camp 354 just happened to be at the foot of Mount Kenya - providing a setting for escape and for extreme escapism. When he first viewed the mountain Benuzzi was spellbound by "a massive blue-black tooth of sheer rock inlaid with azure glaciers, austere yet floating fairylike on the near horizon". From the monotony of routine prison life Mount Kenya became a symbol of freedom, and it dominated the dreams of Felice Benuzzi.

`No Picnic on Mount Kenya' tells the story of Benuzzi and two fellow prisoners, from their planning and preparation, through absconding and approaching the mountain, then the climbing, to their return to break back into prison. This involved assembling equipment and supplies as for any expedition, but for them it meant manufacturing ice-axes and crampons, stealing rope, hoarding food, fabricating cooking equipment, acquiring alcohol fuel from the camp hospital and borrowing items from other prisoners. Also they had to gather information on possible lines of ascent which in their case included use of a label depicting Mount Kenya from a tin of meat and vegetable rations as well as details copied from publications in camp.

Felice Benuzzi has written the book with a blend of humour and humility, but it is a tale of earnest endeavour and considerable courage. Climbing involved advances and retreats, including being driven back by a blizzard on Bation, and hunger and illness added to the difficulties and dangers - but the men persevered. Tension is interminable throughout the valiant venture, and this factual tale is as exciting as any far fetched fictional adventure.
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