on 26 October 2008
This Large book is published in 2008, has 720 absolutely fantastic digitally restored B/W photos, 303 pages and a beautiful antique map of East Africa (1910) at the begining of this book. The book is devided into 10 yearly stories. The first story starts in 1880. The book is dedicated to the women of Kenya.
The book is a photographic celebration of making of Kenya, where the author has lived his adult life. He had to go all over Kenya looking for photos. The first rail laid of the Uganda railways at Mombasa was on 30.5.1896. The first passenger train left Kilindini for Voi on 2.4.1898. Mackinder named the 2 peaks of Mt Kenya as Bastian and Nelion. The Wakamba called the mountain, "KI-NYAA", 'Mountain of ostriches'.
Lunatic express was completed on 12.12.1901. Nairobi originated in 1899. The war came in 1914. Pavitt not only narrates the history of making of Kenya, but also has shown some rare photos in B/W of settlers, Uganda Railways, asians, natives, towns, wildlife, wartime, even German East Africa, hunting, coasts, forts, safaris, mountains, waterfalls, tribal dances, horse racing, Mt Kenya, farming and even LAKE MAGADI, where I was born.
I am sure anyone who is interested in history of Kenya, would not only want to read this book and see the pictures, but would want to own this very special book for their collection. One can only say a great thank you to Nigel Pavitt. Having visited Kenya again in september 2008, it was fascinating to see photos of dried up Lake Naivasha with no trees and earlier photo of Nairobi Railway station. LOOK AT THEM NOW!
Read Nigel Pavitt's other books :-
(1) Samburu 1991
(2) Kenya: the first explorers (1989) and
Read "John Ainsworth and the making of Kenya" by Maxon (1980).
Having born in Kenya, I highly recommend this book.
Read, watch and ENJOY.
on 26 January 2009
This hefty tome must have truly been a labour of love for its author who has, by his own admission in the book's introduction, spent many tropical hours sifting through thousands of photos of a thoroughly sepia Kenya, where animals were there to be shot rather than to be looked after and the whole point of Kenya was to be as British as possible. It makes for fascinating browsing and I find myself unable to put it down - especially when I find pictures of places I know. High production quality and the book's sheer size mean that it's rather an expensive item, but not at all overpriced for what you get. My only slight criticism is that it ends very abruptly - having said that, I'm beginning to wonder whether perhaps mine had some pages missing at the end - does everyone else's version finish at pg. 303? The book ends with the Second World War but it would have been nice if it could have gone right through to the end of colonial Kenya in the mid-sixties, particularly as things started to get interesting after the War. That said, this really is an excellent and well researched resource.
on 26 February 2010
I inherited a large number of early 20th Century Kenya photographs, books and memorabilia from my father and was very keen to see what this book had to offer.
Speaking from personal experience (I was born and brought up in Kenya and my father lived in Kenya from 1906 to 1960) I rate this book very highly. It is evocative, diverse and the photographs are well supported by the text. I shall be buying extra copies to give to friends as presents.
The corrupt and degenerate politicians who run the country in present times could learn a lot from the much maligned Imperialists and Colonialists of those former days.
on 7 January 2014
This excellent book certainly defines and illustrates the history and culture of Kenya during the period 1880-1940. The 720 pictures,restored and enhanced where necessary,are divided into decades and cover a) the beauty and allure of life b)ceremonies and traditional dress,c)the construction of the Uganda railway,d)development of trade e)the hardships of WW1 and f)the pioneering spirit.
There is a short text for each decade but what reall makes the book are the picrures.The author is to be congratulated in producing such a magnificent historical record.
NB.There is an error in the table of contents (page vii) where 1889 should read 1899(see page 3).
on 21 January 2010
The book is big and handsome. The photographs and associated commentary are never less than interesting, however, if you have visited Kenya the comparisons between then and now are really interesting. It shows how the modern Kenya exploded from in many cases virgin bush. It shows colonial development and rule allowing you to form your own opinions. From the ridiculous to the truly admirable with a fair sprinkling of racism and social engineering. Overall a good read, at worst an excellent coffee table book.