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The Lunatic Express: An Entertainment in Imperialism Paperback – Aug 1977


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--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Product details

  • Paperback: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Futura Publications; New edition edition (Aug. 1977)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0860077276
  • ISBN-13: 978-0860077275
  • Product Dimensions: 17.4 x 11 x 4.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,169,127 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Charles Miller is a New York journalist who has made countless trips through Africa. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dr S. S. Nagi TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 1 Oct. 2007
Format: Paperback
This book was first published in 1971, has 535 pages, 51 B/W illustrations and end paper maps. The first half of this book is on explorers, politics and history of East Africa. There is a long discussion about the politics in United Kingdom, as to whether to fund the Uganda Railways and any advantages to Great Britain. The book explains about Lord Lugard, Speke, Burton, Joseph Thomson and Stanley.
The second half of the book eventually starts on the Railways and the role of Preston, George Whitehouse and J H Patterson. The cost of the Railway rose from 1.3 to 5.5 million pounds to the GB tax payers. The suffering of the Indian workers is explained and the unknown number of deaths of the Africans. Only 5 deaths of whites occured. New towns were built and the Railroad goes towards Uganda and Victoria Nyanza.
Downside of the book is that it takes the book 2/3rd through to reach the real task of building the Uganda Railways. However, the gets you involved and goes into depth of the history of British East Africa (Kenya) and the building of the Uganda Railways.
Other books with similar theme are:-
(1) The Iron snake, Ronald Hardy 1965
(2) The Permanent Way, M F Hill 1957
(3) Victoria's Tin Dragon, Satya Sood 2007
(4) The Iron Snake, John Gaudet 2007
(5) Man-eaters of Tsavo, J H Patterson 1908(1947)2010
(6) Man-Eaters Motel, Denis Boyles 1991
(7) Railways across the Equator, Amin 1986
(8) Steam locomotives of East African Railways, Ramaer 1974
(9) Steam in East Africa, Kevin Patience 1976
(10)The Story of a Railway, Pringle 1954, 1971
(11)The Genesis of Kenya Colony, R O Preston 1947
(12)Beyond Mombasa, Coates 2005
(13)A Railway to Nowhere,Stephen Mills 2012
Having born in Kenya, I enjoyed reading this book.
Read and ENJOY.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dr S. S. Nagi TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 2 Oct. 2007
Format: Hardcover
A long book of over 600 pages.
First half of the book is on explorers, politics and history of east Africa. There is also about politics in UK, whether to fund the Uganda Railways and any advantage to GB.The book talks about LUgard, Speke, Burton, Joseph Thomson and Stanley.
The second half of the book eventually starts on the Railways and the role of Preston, George Whitehouse and JH Patterson. The cost of the Railways rise from 1.3 to 5.5 million Pounds to the GB taxpayers.The suffering of the Indian workers is explained and it is also mentioned about inknown deaths of the Black workers. Only 5 deaths of the White.New towns are built and the railways go on towards Uganda and the Victoria Nyanza.
Down side to the book is the verysmall print and the brown pages , requiring good light and eyes to read this splendid book.
Having born in Kenya, I enjoyed the book very much and got completely involved in it and would recommend to anyone interested in History of Kenya and Buliding of the Uganda Railways.
Other books about the Uganda Railways are:-
(1) The iron Snake, Ronald Hardy, 1965
(2) The Permanent Way, M F Hill 1957
(3) Victoria's Tin Dragon, Satya Sood 2007
(4) The Iron Snake, John Gauder 2007
(5) Man-eaters of Tsavo, Patterson 1908 (1947) 2010
(6) Man Eaters Motel, Denis Boyles 1991
(7) Railways Across the Equator, Amin 1986
(8) Steam Locomotives of East African Railways, White 1974
(9) The Genesis of Kenya Colony, R O Preston 1947
(10)The Story of a Railway, Pringle 1954
(11)Beyond Mombasa, Coates 2005
(12)A Railway to Nowhere, Stephen Mills 2012
Having born in Kenya, I enjoyed reading this book.
Read and ENJOY.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. Hood on 5 Feb. 2009
Format: Hardcover
This brilliant book covers principally the history of East Africa and Britain's often reluctant involvement there, and the consequent construction of a railway line from Mombasa to Uganda against all odds. Its narrative is spellbinding, being both informative, detailed and capturing moments of individual effort and achievement, and is the best book on these subjects that I have encountered. Very highly recommended!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book after reading a Tourist Guide to Kenya which described the railway from Mombasa to Nairobi as "The Lunatic Line". I felt this designation was harsh and could be well away from the truth and after finding the link to Charles Miller's book, "The Lunatic Express" I bought and read it.

As I suspected, this book is well worth reading and it is nothing less than a fascinating account of the development of the East African territories of Kenya and Uganda from primitive tribal societies to cohesive countries, following on the back of the construction against all the odds of the metre gauge Uganda Railway. The book has an impressive Bibliography including the 1949 official history of the East African Railways "Permanent Way" by M.H. Hill, which suggests serious research. Well worth reading as a comprehensive introduction to modern day Kenya.
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