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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 2 September 2015
Another excellent story, by the author herself, of Beryl Markham's extraordinary life in the early pioneering days in Kenya. As my husband's family had a superficial connection to that beautiful country, I was interested to learn more about how the early settlers fared and the privations they endured in what, to many of them coming from aristocratic backgrounds of great wealth, must have been almost unendurable discomfort. Read what it was really like to live in a mud hut, and yet appreciate the country for what it offered them and the natural beauty which surrounded them. Beryl's solo flight East to West across the Atlantic, was a tremendous achievement for a woman, brought up with the restrictions of that era, and her chameleon-like ability to fit into high society as well as the primitive conditions of a farm in the White Highlands of Kenya can only be admired for what strides she made for woman's suffrage.
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on 8 October 2014
The first part of this book is a lyrical evocation of Beryl Markham's childhood in Africa in the early part of the twentieth century. It goes on to record her adult flying career and triumphant solo crossing of the Atlantic. I enjoyed reading it very much, as I had done when I first read it many years ago. Since my first read, however, Mary Lovell has written a biography of Beryl Markham, and this now provides an interesting insight into Beryl's 'memories'. Maybe the 'truth' doesn't matter so much: 'West with the Night' is still a fascinating read.
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on 6 September 2010
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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on 8 April 2016
Fascinating autobiography of the first person to cross the Atlantic from England to America in 1936, her engine failing close to the coast and landing in a bog. Before this her life in 1906 growing up and hunting barefoot with the Massai natives in the bush of Kenya, training racehorses with a trainer's licence at age 18 and becoming the first female to obtain a commcial flying licence there. Missing out are the many men in her turbulent life which include 3 marriages, Denys Finch Hatton - the long-term lover of Karen Blix (Robert Redford in Out of Africa), and the then Duke of Wales on an official visit. Witten in 1946 the book, due to the war, disappeared until 1986 when comments from Hemingway were discovered praising the book as fantastic literature and complaing that she was "a real bitch" after she'd refused to sleep with him! If one want's to find out how Kenya was in the early 1900s and leading to WW2, then this book is a must. There's also a film version of her life from 1988 called "Shadow on the Sun" (on You Tube) which I haven't seen yet.
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on 4 December 2014
After a slow start I found the whole book quite interesting. Maybe people could be concerned about the game hunting but bearing in mind that the time frame was the '20 - '30s I could overlook that and, being avidly interested in aviation history, I was only disappointed that some references were not covered in more detail. One thing that I did find annoying was that the book was printed on poor quality paper which gave the the a rather fuzzy look - not too good for those with less than perfect eyesight!
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on 13 September 2015
Fabulous book that I was alerted to by a newspaper article citing Beryl Markham as the writer's hero. An astonishing woman and a great writer. I am shocked that Beryl Markham isn't as well known as she should be - a really exceptional person and a pioneer, with a wonderful turn of phrase.
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on 8 June 2014
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. Beryl Markham led an extraordinary life and told a good account of it. However, to more deeply understand her character and achievements, I strongly recommend Mary S. Lovell's biography of Markham, entitled, "Straight on Till Morning", which should be read after "West With The Night".
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on 6 December 2011
This is a fast paced story of a face paced life, set against the background of Kenya's colonial times. Beryl Markham was a very intersting and controversial character, which is more deeply explored in her authorised biography Straight on Till Morning by Mary Lovell which I recommend should be read afterwards.
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on 4 November 2015
The book was way slower and more descriptive than what one might expect from a story about the first female pilot in Africa.
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on 17 June 2012
If Ernest Hemingway endorses a book with the words, 'it is really a bloody wonderful book,' then you know you cannot make much of a mistake. It is a fantastic story of an amazing life, beautifully told. This lady was the high priestess of adventure and living life to the full. Autobiographies don't get any better than this. Buy it!
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