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Red Strangers (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – 4 May 2006


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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (4 May 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141188502
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141188508
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 118,555 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Elspeth Huxley (1907-1997) was the daughter of Major Josceline Grant of Njoro, Kenya where she spent most of her childhood. She was educated at the European School in Nairobi and at Reading University where she took a diploma in agriculture, and atCornell University. In 1929 she joined the Empire Marketing Board as a press officer and, following her marriage to Gervase Huxley in 1931, travelled widely with him in America, Africa and elsewhere.

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First Sentence
MUTHENGI was fourteen years old when he first saw a column of shining-skinned young Kikuyu warriors swinging along the forest's edge towards the plains, like a ripple of wind across a field of ripening grain, on the way to war. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By C. Kerven on 3 Dec. 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is one of the most memorable books I read as a child growing up in colonial Kenya. The story portays how strange the first European settlers appeared to the indigenous African inhabitents, as imagined by one of the best writers of the colonial African experience. Probably seems very dated now, but the book conjures up scenes of African village life that must have been from the author's direct observation.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robert Cordner on 25 Nov. 2009
Format: Paperback
A thought provoking novel that stimulates and then challenges our moral certainty about the wrongs of imperialism. Huxley's narrative skillfully and convincingly draws us into the story of three generations of a Kikuyu family. A mere rumour at first, as the novel progresses, Europeans, personally and culturally, became increasingly a feature of African life. Readers naturally lament this outcome and its related developments: urbanisation, changes in agriculture and landownership, and the passing of native customs, both ceremonial and practical. Some might also have strong feelings about the Christian missionaries. But the novel's handling of female genital mutilation gives pause for thought, as does African enthusiasm for formal education. In a like manner, the depiction of native nationalism helps explain, in part, its lack of success until the 1950s (well over a decade after Red Strangers was published).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Charles G Huxley on 7 April 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A fascinating insight into the coming of the 'white' man - red strangers - into East Africa as seen from the African point of view. Should be compulsory reading for anyone before they pontificate on Colonialism or Imperialism.
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By Dr Chris on 15 Feb. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ricahrd Dawkins was instrumental in getting this reprinted ad I'm glad. I've never read a book by a white author who got so well inside Kikuyu culture and conveyed how weird the colonising Europeans were and how carelessly they destroyed what was there before. It doesn't romanticise the old Kikuyu ways, but it's very respectful and well researched.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Spider Monkey HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 11 May 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
'Red Strangers' is a beautifully written book following the lives of four generations of an african tribal family. The rich, descriptive language portrays the traditional ways of life so perfectly that you become completely immersed in them with the characters. In fact the description is so engrossing you fully understand the alienation and confusion the tribes felt when the red strangers from europe came and turned their worlds upside down. I really felt the anguish and upset the africans felt when told to stop living the life and traditions they had lived for generations, to change them for european ideals of what was correct and proper. I also felt the disappointment and anger at the elders when they say their children embrace aspects of the european life and leave their heritage behind. This story is epic in it's scope and one you start reading you will find it very hard to put down, as you will want to find out what happens next. This is one of those rare books that will stay with you for a long time after reading and leaves you better for having read it. Highly recommended.

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