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4.4 out of 5 stars57
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 26 December 2012
Kuki Gallmann, her husband and their son were from Italy. Their family and circumstances were comfortable, except that there was the war and the immediate post-WW2 period; it was a time of trying to put the tragedy and the trauma behind. For a young girl, Africa, Kenya in particular, was the dream-country that she longed for. When it became clear that she was quite set on this objective they left their wider families in Italy, bought a tract of land and settled in the Great Rift Valley.
The land that they entered is gone now, but Kuki Gallmann has captured something of its physical beauty and dazzling variety with her wonderful evocations of Kenya at that time, its pristine wilderness, the immense herds of wild animals and the tribal people among whom they were to live, work and die during the ensuing decades.
The loss of her husband in a vehicle collision comes as a rude shock that to some extent shatters the idyll. But I will never be able to reconcile myself with a young boy being allowed to cultivate a close relationship with African snakes in the way other youngsters might do with horses - or rabbits. The 'African Dream' of the book's title becomes the fearful spectacle of a family group in a very foreign environment, sleep-walking towards disaster and when it comes, it is almost too awful to read.
The narrative carries a heavy burden of sadness and of heart-break, of promising lives thwarted, of innocence lost and a magnificent world forever changed.
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on 21 May 2010
This book is one of the most beautifully crafted autobiographies I have been privileged to read. It is a tour de force of description and emotion. It draws the reader in from page 1. and one remains transfixed throughout. It is almost beyond belief how an individual who suffered such personal grief and loss, could create an atmosphere of such deep love and understanding of a country which took away so much and yet brought the author, ultimately, such peace. Written from the soul, this book is a deeply personal journey, filled with joy and sadness and eventually, with the help of Africa, its people and its animals, a journey of self-discovery, an understanding of the fragility of human life and finally, happiness. An absolute 'must read'.
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on 4 August 2010
My husband was born in Kenya in 1952 and died here in London in 1999. Just before he died he said to me that he wanted to go to Kenya but obviously he was too ill to go and would never get the chance to go back there.
I got an opportunity to travel there with a friend, that I met this year, and I was so moved by my experience there. It is the most beautiful place in the world and I know now 10 years after my husbancs death, what he meant when he said he wanted to go to Kenya. I brought back some plant seeds and have planted them on his grave now that they are little plants. As he could not go to Kenya in 1999 this was a wonderful gift for me to be able to take a little bit of Kenya to him in 2010.
Why I am telling you this is because when I bought and read 'I Dreamed of Africa' I was truly touched by this ladies experience and identified so much with her story. She has written most beautifully what I cannot express in writing or even in words.
This is a worderful story of a beautiful country and spirituality in every sense. I will keep this book and will re-read it.
This book did for me what no other book could.
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on 31 January 2001
As the story of Kuki Gallmann this book cannot fail to move. But as a vision of Africa it is very much the White Man's story. Africans seem to have a very secondary role, either as staff or in cultural set-pieces. And while the commitment to wildlife conservation is laudable, the commitment to the wellbeing of Kenyans is sadly missing. By all means read this book; but for another, better angle on contemporary Africa, try Dervla Murphy's "The Ukimwe Road".
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on 27 April 2008
I read Kuki Galman's book. I also watched the film "I Dreamt of Africa" based on her book. And I also read somewhere her daughter's comment," Karen Blixen ran away, my mother did not."

Well, last year I happen to stay in Loisaba Lodge, Laikipia, adjacent to Mrs. Galman's ranch. What I learnt there about Galmans was not very flattering. On arrival in Kenya, she mostly stayed in Nairobi while her husband managed the farm. She refused to stay in Laikipia. She only moved to the ranch when her husband died. And during making of the film "I Dreamt of Africa", she gave very hard time to the film unit people.

As far as the book is concerned, I would prefer Karen Blixen's "Out Of Arica" over "I Dreamt of Africa". Former is professionally written. Galman's book is like a child writing.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 11 July 2008
I struggle to understand those who could not put this book down - I finished it but only through gritted teeth (if I start a book, I finish it - this has been the only book I have ever read where I came close to not reading it through to the end). The writing style is pretentious in the extreme, at times simply laughable. The story is very much told from the European/colonial perspective - and the tone is very "poor me". I would normally feel sypathetic to someone who had lost both husband and son early, but in this case I am sorry to say that I simply didn't care. The African population endures such tragedies on a daily basis and has done so for decades. Frankly, I don't think this woman looks beyond the end of her privileged nose. You will learn very little about the real Africa or its people from this book.
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on 4 June 2015
One woman's very emotional journey through life in Kenya, detailing her highs and lows. Beautifully written and very thought provoking with regards to the state of african wildlife, native cultures, and customs that are being lost at an alarming rate
I highly recommend it, although I advise to have a decent stash of Kleenex within reach whilst reading this beautiful book.
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on 18 December 2014
I didn't know what to expect when I ordered this book, but I was not disappointed. Kuki's way of writing is very flowing and hooks the reader in from the start. I felt as If I was experiencing all of the events along with her. She is a very remarkable lady who has achieved great things for Kenyan wildlife and community. Anyone who has visited Kenya should read this book.
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on 12 August 2014
I read this for the first time about 20 years ago after a spelling binding unforgettable trip to Africa and it has stayed with me ever since. I have just reread it and having since had children of my own have found Kukis story even more heartbreaking yet inspiring in equal measure. A must read for everyone.
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on 10 January 2001
I cried, laughed, smiled and felt so much of the pain, anguish, love and growth she must have experienced. It was so easy to visualise the settings as she describes them so well.
I highly recommend this book for anyone interest in Africa and the outdoors or anyone just wishing to read a really good story.
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