Customer Reviews


35 Reviews
5 star:
 (14)
4 star:
 (13)
3 star:
 (7)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic book - ideal for any visitor to Kenya
This book is a well written and beautifully documented journey through both time and the lands of Kenya.

The book is very well researched and clearly shows the authors love of her country and home. Not only are we treated to a rich and interesting commentary of Kenya's past (mainly white) history, but the troubles it has caused in modern Kenya, including...
Published 10 months ago by Moon

versus
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More about the murder
I found this book is not easy to read at times. I think the writer tends to meander through the descriptions of the houses once occupied by the European farmers. One minute we are at the house called Clouds, once the home of Idina, the wife of Lord Errol and then on to other residences owned by people who also carved out a living and strived to exist and then back to...
Published 12 months ago by warthog


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More about the murder, 10 July 2013
By 
warthog (Wales /England) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Ghosts of Happy Valley: Searching for the Lost World of Africa's Infamous Aristocrats (Hardcover)
I found this book is not easy to read at times. I think the writer tends to meander through the descriptions of the houses once occupied by the European farmers. One minute we are at the house called Clouds, once the home of Idina, the wife of Lord Errol and then on to other residences owned by people who also carved out a living and strived to exist and then back to Clouds. I find that I am confused by the number and names of people she finds occupies the houses now. The map she included gives us an excellent idea of the kind of distance these people had to cover to get to any kind of contact with the outer world. I learned a great deal about the sad plight of the beautiful colobus monkey and her friend Simon who's conservation work is so important.

Juliet Barnes puts forward some already tried and tested ideas as to who killed Lord Errol. Many of the theories we have already read about in other books like 'White Mischief' or 'The Life and Death of Lord Errol'. Somebody must know something but we may never know. Julian Fellows, who did an hour long documentary on the murder said at the end that he knew who did it but would not tell! Perhaps Juliet Barnes ought to confront him and try and get some more information from him. The book has many interesting moments,especially when she meets some of the old Mau Mau fighters. I would recommend this as a good read and well worth buying as it has some good details about the type of life these pioneers led which was not easy, yet they stayed and loved the country so much
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic book - ideal for any visitor to Kenya, 6 Sep 2013
This review is from: The Ghosts of Happy Valley: Searching for the Lost World of Africa's Infamous Aristocrats (Hardcover)
This book is a well written and beautifully documented journey through both time and the lands of Kenya.

The book is very well researched and clearly shows the authors love of her country and home. Not only are we treated to a rich and interesting commentary of Kenya's past (mainly white) history, but the troubles it has caused in modern Kenya, including corruption, de-forestation and rapid urbanisation.

It is a must for any traveler thinking of visiting Kenya, or in fact any one with an interest into colonialism or African history.

A labour of love which is a interesting, and often emotional read for all.

Only critisism is that a table of houses and owners would have been useful because I kept getting confused who everyone is!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE GHOSTS OF HAPPY VALLEY, 4 July 2013
By 
Dr S. S. Nagi "Nyrobe" (united kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Ghosts of Happy Valley: Searching for the Lost World of Africa's Infamous Aristocrats (Hardcover)
This book was first published in 2013, has 303 pages, 30 chapters, 46 photos and 1 map. The book is dedicated to 'Solomon'. JULIET BARNES was born, raised and schooled in Kenya and then went to St Andrew's University, Scotland to read English. She now lives with her 2 children beside Lake ELEMENTEITA in the Great Rift Valley of Kenya. HAPPY VALLEY (in the 1920's to 1930's) name was given to 'Wanjohi Valley' in Kenya Highlands, between the Aberdares(Nyandarua Range-13,120ft) and the Kipipiri Mountain-10,987ft, where rich whites settled. Barnes goes to find out what was left of these settlers homes, farms and lives. The Railway station of GIL GIL(relentless dusty wind) was the access to Happy Valley. Now-a-days, it is a run down and scruffy roadside town.
So in the year 2000, Solomon, a kikuyu guides Barnes to the Happy Valley. Using her old land rover on the rough roads, they see old settlers houses and farms, now rundown. Some have vanished, some intact and some now haunted! They visit 'Clouds'(Mawingo) - Lady Idina's house and 'Slains,', still mystified by the unsolved murder of Lord Erroll. Barnes discovers love triangles, drug additions, depression and even suicide, amongst the so called 'happy valley' settlers, including Alice Silverthorne(de-Janze or de-Trafford). Happy Valley had become a 'Problem Valley'.
With help from Solomon, Barnes struggles on the bad roads and visits(over 10 years) what remains of other farms and houses of the Valley, their flowering gardens, fruit trees and lawns. Now the locals are busy cutting and burning the trees and the rivers are going dry and the trout and the wildlife have gone. Some names remain - 'Happy valley school' and some 'MAU MAU' veterans, in these beautiful natural surroundings. The only totally intact old house with well kept gardens, was 'Ramsdens Kipipiri House'.
Some say 'Happy Valley was named after people had crossed baron Rift Valley and saw this beautiful valley which made them happy. Others felt, it could have been named after village of happy valley in Essex, England! All before the happy valley crowd moved in. This book ends with interviews with old Mau Mau men, stories of whites who may have helped them and author's quest to find the truth about Lord Erroll's murder.
This book goes into detailed history of 'Happy Valley' and what remains of it now. The artist's map shows houses and farms and who lived in them. Pictures show how some farms and houses were and what they look like now. By 1950's old happy valley crowd had faded away and the kikuyu moved into the area and some wealthy African politicians with their other business interests. Most of us as tourists will never see these places in Kenya, which makes it more interesting to read this book.
Some other books of interest are:-
(1) West with the Night, Markham 1942
(2) Out of Africa, Blixen 1964
(3) Forks and Hope, Huxley 1964
(4) Happy Valley, Best 1979
(5) White Mischief, Fox 1984
(6) The man Whom Women Loved, Aschen 1987
(7) Silence will Speak, Trzebinski 1988
(8) Child of Happy Valley, Carberry 1999( Juanita Carberry died of lung Cancer, aged 88, on 27.7.2013, in Clapham.)
(9) The Truth Behind Happy Valley Murder, Trzebinski 2000
(10)The Bolter, Osborne 2008
Having born in Kenya, I found this book interesting.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much of a travelogue, 10 Jun 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Ghosts of Happy Valley: Searching for the Lost World of Africa's Infamous Aristocrats (Hardcover)
I did get much of what I wanted from the book, an account of the life of Happy Valley at its most notorious, there is too much emphasis placed on the role of the author for my tastes. What the modern Happy Valley, its surrounding habitations and current population are like should be a secondary aspect, instead these seem to have taken on more importance than the book's ostensible subjects. It is sad that so much has changed almost beyond recognition or disappeared, but that is no different to the changes that have taken place almost everywhere. I found the modern aspect distracting and unnecessary.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the ghosts of happy valley, 22 May 2014
The writer has crafted the book in a manner that makes it part detective story about that intriuging but short lived time about which everyone seems to think is the only thing that kenyan colonial history is about and the so important story of Solomon, the guide and his ceaseless efforts against all odds in matters of conservation. Written in an uncompromising style that introduces readers to some of the difficulties that faced people then and now. A useful social history and well worth the read for that in itself.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars pleasant but amateur, 12 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
pleasant but amateur piece,perhaps telling us more about the author and her times (and values) than the 30's and 40's in Kenya
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Happy Valley Ghosts out of focus, 22 Jun 2014
By 
This review is from: The Ghosts of Happy Valley: Searching for the Lost World of Africa's Infamous Aristocrats (Hardcover)
I was really looking forward to this account of twisted colonialism but was hugely disappointed with this book which I believe wanders in and out of focus. There are really two books here: one about the Happy Valley set and one about the state of the area's Kenya tribesmen. The author appears uncertain as to which to choose but the former appears on the cover, leaving the reader desperately frustrated at having fascinating Happy Valley residents picked up and dumped in favour of the estimable Solomon Gitau and his green credentials concerning trees and the colubus monkey. There are two many different journeys here, leaving the book feeling equally fractured. Also, the book needs proof reading. There are a number of errors, which include things which might be said but look odd in print and, occasionally, some extremely uncomfortable phrasing. The result for me is a lack of depth on what should be a fascinating subject, possibly due to insufficient research, and a failure to get under the skin of these extraordinary characters, both individually and as a group. I felt it read more like a set of detailed notes in preparation for a book. I hope the obviously courageous Ms Barnes will forgive me.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant account of Happy Valley murder mystery but much much more, 15 Jun 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
By far the most interesting account of Happy Valley, and the mystery of the murder that i have read. Also fascinating on the Mau Mau, and Kenya as it is now.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting History, 12 May 2014
By 
M. Pfeiffer "marion" (knysna, south africa) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This book adds detail to what is already known about Kenya's Happy Valley by following up the homes and families.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read, 7 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Ghosts of Happy Valley: Searching for the Lost World of Africa's Infamous Aristocrats (Hardcover)
Enjoyed the story line and it was easy to read. Some parts a little far fetched, but that's what stories are about!!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Ghosts of Happy Valley: Searching for the Lost World of Africa's Infamous Aristocrats
11.89
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews