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West with the Night [Paperback]

Beryl Markham
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Book Description

30 Jun 1988
This is the story of Beryl Markham -- aviator, racehorse trainer, beauty -- and her life in the Kenya of the 1920s and '30s.

Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (30 Jun 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140115390
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140115390
  • Product Dimensions: 18 x 10.9 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,316,988 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


A beautiful and evocative story that deserves to be ranked alongside Karen Blixen's OUT OF AFRICA (Time Out)

A poet's feeling for her land, an adventurer's response to life (New York HERALD Tribune) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Born in England in 1902, Markham grew up in East Africa. She apprenticed as a trainer and breeder of racehorses and in the 1930s became an African bush pilot. In 1936 she became the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic from east to west. Markham died suddenly in 1986. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant 15 Dec 2000
By A Customer
Format:Audio Cassette
This book is a fanastic journey through colonial Africa by one the first female aviators. It captures the atmosphere of native Africa, at an exciting time in history, when motor cars still turned heads, and the idea of flying was almost ubsurd. It is an insight into the ways of whiteman on the continent and how the flying machine became used as a hunting machine as man sought to conquer the mighty continent.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Courageous Life 4 April 2009
Beryl Markham's memoir neatly sidesteps the conventional issues of romance and marriage, although she had that, to recount the story of a young woman left very much on her own resources and who achieved considerable success. Beryl made her way into horse training and flying, not as a consciously pioneer feminist woman pushing into conventionally male domains but as a woman trying to make her own livelihood by not accepting there was any reason why she shouldn't do the things she enjoyed and was good at. Her love of Africa and her friendships and knowledge built across cultures are what gave Beryl the capability to forge a life of great variety and interest. The culmination of her achievements was her solo flight across the Atlantic from east to west, which gives the book its title. West With the Night has an appealing informality and honesty. Beryl Markham's name is one of which the world should hear more.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful writing 16 Feb 2002
By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE
...More like poetry than prose, some of her descriptive passages have to be read more than once, just to let the feelings soak into your system.
Ms Markham's early life is told in a matter-of-fact way, which takes it for granted that, when at 17, your father decides to leave Africa for Peru, you jump on your horse and head North, with no food, one change of underwear, little education, but a deep knowledge of horses and expect to land on your feet. Which is exactly what she does, co-incidentally meeting many yet-to-be-famous people on the way.
Hunter; horse-trainer; aeronaut; most people would be happy to excel in any one of these professions, but Beryl does it all with surpassing ease. Her style is self-effacing and matter-of-fact; you would imagine that being 'moderately eaten' by a lion would warrant more than a couple of paragraphs, but it only gets included here, I suspect, on the strength of Bishon Singh's wonderful rhetoric in describing the event. She also has a knack of striking up instant and longlasting relationships with people from every race, creed and social status - I don't believe she even saw those differences; be he a Murani warrior or a colonial Governor, they both get treated to the same open-minded friendship.
A book to read & read again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting biography 10 Aug 2012
This biography clearly leaves out much more than it covers, but so Ms Markham clearly says in the first chapter. We are treated to some episodes from her life in Colonial East Africa in the first decades of the 20th Century. The times were such that all that "modern" was good, yet without claiming that everything native was bad. One is given a reasonable idea of how huge and partwise dangerous Africa is.
It's interesting how her Atlantic flight that gives the book its title is briefly summarised in a single chapter--clearly she was not going to brag about something that was not a major part of her life, as opposed to the African landscape and race horses, which clearly were. Another point of interest is that she apparently managed to be married thrice in the time period covered by the book and this is not mentioned by a single word, perhaps indicating that this is a biography of her work life, rather than an insight into her private life.
And yes, there is the florid language, and perhaps this is necessary to convey the vastness of the terrain.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars West with the Night 20 Jun 2009
Hemingways review says it all. Briefly, it's the most under-rated historical review of life and customs, as well as flying, in Africa over a very formative period. That this woman flew very basic aircraft with virtually non-existant navigational aids, most often solo over huge stretches of totally inhospitable terrain, is mind boggling in itself.
Beryl Markham has created not so much an autobiography but both a literary and philosophical masterpiece. Each page actually deserves an individual review.
I,ve already lent my copy out, so I'm buying another one!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring 6 Sep 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I wanted to read this book because I spent six years in Kenya as a child, which is where Beryl Markham spent most of her life. I wasn't particularly interested in her flight across the Atlantic. I found the whole book fascinating, even though the descriptions of elephant hunting were upsetting. (I get the feeling she might not have liked the idea much either, but was doing what everyone did in those days.) The book is very evocative of a time and place and a way of life and I loved the way it is written, which is very vivid with plenty of detail. I enjoyed her description of her Atlantic flight too and found myself wondering what else she did in her life afterwards as the book ends with this feat. This is a good, easy-to-read and enjoyable dip into the life of a bold and independent woman.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the finest set of memoires you will read. 13 Jun 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Fill in the missing links by reading "Straight On Till Morning" by Mary Lovell. Hemingway was right when he said that Beryl Markham wrote better than he could ever aspire to.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Exactly as described
Published 6 days ago by Mr Patrick Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful flying of long ago
Another brilliant book but that of Mary Lovell tops it
Published 29 days ago by Banba
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a forgotten gem!
A beautifully written book which gives the reader an insight into the adventurous life of this amazing woman. Highly recommended!
Published 1 month ago by Thomas Joyce
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read, and a great woman
A lost gem, highly recommended
Published 1 month ago by Adam
3.0 out of 5 stars Great read of a bygone age
Very well written but left me wanting more. Quite an amazing life.
Published 2 months ago by The BoatBuilder
5.0 out of 5 stars If you love africa you will love this
What a good book. I read it after out of africa and really enjoyed it. The colours and feel if africa are brought to life and what a brave and amazing woman.
Published 3 months ago by Sarah Mills
5.0 out of 5 stars West With The Night
I bought the same book a couple of years ago and enjoyed it enough to make this latest purchase of the book as a gift to a friend who also liked it very much. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Frank Rutter
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing travel book!
I am so glad I bought this book. It is written extremely well and I was very sad to finish it.It really stands out with unique style and captivating stories.
Published 6 months ago by M1990
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb writing
I enjoyed this book to the last page. And start to read it again. Not as good as "Out of Africa" , but anyone interested in British East Africa should read it.
Published 6 months ago by Sir Makaron
4.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable life
Beryl Markham writes well and hers was a very interesting life. She was a remarkable women of great courage in the early days of the English in Kenya.
Published 10 months ago by S. Kite
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