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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cracking!
Boy's own adventure stuff from someone with whom I'd gladly share a beer, if not necessarily a Land Rover. Self deprecating author Peter Allison comes across as the kind of guide I'd follow just to find out what he'd do next, rather in the style of Eric Newby. The book may be a safer bet than one of his safaris and for armchair adventurers like me the next best...
Published on 10 Oct 2009 by Perry Duke

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Funny, light reading but not much about wildlife!
Overall quite a humorous book, telling the exploits of a safari guide. The book itself is quite readable and easy to get into, but I found myself halfway through the book and asking myself "what's the actual story?".

There are some very funny stories throughout, but the book itself doesn't have much substance - he touches upon the various wildlife, but spends...
Published on 10 Mar 2010 by Neil


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Funny, light reading but not much about wildlife!, 10 Mar 2010
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Neil - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Don't Look Behind You: True Tales of a Safari Guide (Paperback)
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Overall quite a humorous book, telling the exploits of a safari guide. The book itself is quite readable and easy to get into, but I found myself halfway through the book and asking myself "what's the actual story?".

There are some very funny stories throughout, but the book itself doesn't have much substance - he touches upon the various wildlife, but spends more time talking about his experiences. There are some astute observations within the book, but these are mainly about the people he encounters, instead of wildlife. The author also likes to remind the reader - on a frequent basis - about his clumsiness (which is quite believable, but I doubt he's as clumsy as he'd like us to believe).

If want to know more about wildlife, then this isn't the book for you (even if you wanted to know how camps run or funny stories about wildlife in reserves, then this still isn't for you!). If you want an easy to read book written by an amiable author writing about his experiences and dilemas he got into, then this is perfect.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cracking!, 10 Oct 2009
By 
Perry Duke (York) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Don't Look Behind You: True Tales of a Safari Guide (Paperback)
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Boy's own adventure stuff from someone with whom I'd gladly share a beer, if not necessarily a Land Rover. Self deprecating author Peter Allison comes across as the kind of guide I'd follow just to find out what he'd do next, rather in the style of Eric Newby. The book may be a safer bet than one of his safaris and for armchair adventurers like me the next best thing.

Enjoying the experience in book form avoids the danger of being gored by hippos, eaten by leopards or drowning in crocodile infested rivers, all of which are on the author's list of things to do to liven up his trips. There are a few interesting accounts of the animals encountered but this isn't really David Attenborough territory - don't expect to learn a great deal about the animals or Africa, it's not really that kind of book. Insight and scientific assessment are perhaps not Mr Allison's strong points. This becomes obvious when he describes a trip rafting down the river mentioned above (crocodiles, hippos) using an inflated inner tube to fill an otherwise quiet day. It certainly gives a flavour of life in a safari camp but for the deeper issues affecting Africa perhaps look elsewhere (e.g., Richard Dowden, below).

As a light, escapist read this is spot on: the tales move along briskly and a sight more comfortably than his vehicles. Mr Allison has done things that are probably better to read about than try so has something to talk about: more prudent guides might have fewer stories to tell. The less prudent ones - if there are any - probably don't last long enough to write it down. His enthusiasm and reckless gung-ho approach keep things moving along at a cracking pace. I found the style very readable. A collection of spiffing tales, well worth a go.

Eric Newby's book (one of them - amongst the best):
A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush (50th anniversary edition)

Richard Dowden's:
Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Authentic flavour and variety, but lacks bite., 14 Oct 2009
By 
R. F. Stevens "richard23491" (Ickenham UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Don't Look Behind You: True Tales of a Safari Guide (Paperback)
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I had great hopes for this book, and it is packed full of juicy anecdotes, some funny, some touching, and some making one doubt the sanity and humanity of those in authority.

But, while Peter Allison obviously experienced all his stories, and the descriptions are resonant with my own memories of fifteen years in or near the bush, somehow the book comes across as being too much about him and his frailties, and not enough about the majesty and mystery and intensity that is Africa.

If one reads the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency books by Alexander McCall Smith, one can almost feel the heat, taste the dust and hear the characters talking over the background thrum of the insects; you are there. But not quite so with our safari guide, and I still can't put my finger on what is missing. The flavour is genuine enough, and most people who have never been to Africa will be very happy to read this book, however, like an insipid curry, the bite is missing.

Who am I to criticise? I grew up in Central Africa, close to the bush. We lived with the mosquitoes, flies, and spiders of all sizes, snakes, warthogs, jackals, hyenas, and the occasional antelope and their predators; and the maximum-noise walk (to frighten them away) in the dark down the garden path to the PK to answer a call of nature was fraught with danger in the mind of this child. One always knew when a neighbour fulfilled a similar summons, the stamping walk and the clatter and slam of toilet seats and lids vigorously knocking loose undesirable extras was unmistakeable.

Yes, this is a good book, and it brought back lots of memories, but I think it could have been so much better, hence only four stars.

For a much more authentic flavour of African wildlife with full bite and then some, although admittedly very dated, and these days possibly not quite politically correct, may I suggest you try reading Jock of the Bushveld by Sir Percy Fitzpatrick, preferably a version with the superb original illustrations.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't look behind you,there goes another me me me author, 29 April 2011
This review is from: Don't Look Behind You: True Tales of a Safari Guide (Paperback)
After reading only about 25% of the book I was to throw it in the bin, as I was bored with everything being compared with either a phallic symbol or some sexual comparison. I continued reading, hoping to get some empathy towards the wildlife he saw every day, but sadly no.

The disappointment was heightened by his statement that he always loved wildlife. Well that never come across in the book, it was all about him and his ego sensitivities, pleasing tourists more than animals.

Really sad, especially after reading the elephant whisperer, who really cares for Africa's wildlife, the land and the people living in the authors wildlife reserve.

I can not feel or smell Africa. It is badly written and too much about How clever the author thinks he is
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read, 18 Oct 2009
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Damaskcat (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Don't Look Behind You: True Tales of a Safari Guide (Paperback)
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I really enjoyed this book. It gives the reader a totally different view of the animals of Africa. There is very little about the tourists the author was paid to drive around the African bush but a lot about the animals. He is pursued by elephants, held hostage by lions and leopards and has difficulty noticing them in the bush when he is trying to point them out to tourists. In one frightening incident he sees some oranges on a roadside tree and rushes to pick some - realising when he has got several paces that the reason they have not already been picked is because the trees are in the middle of a minefield.

I loved the character of some of the animals he describes - the lion who chases his own tail and tries - unsuccessfully - to climb palm trees; the leopard who visits him in his hut and finds it not up to her standards; the elephant who takes exception to him getting too close. Some of the incidents are hair raising but the author's love of, and interest in the animals shines through. The book is a good substitute for going on safari yourself - and much cheaper.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't look BEHIND YOU, 13 Feb 2011
This review is from: Don't Look Behind You: True Tales of a Safari Guide (Paperback)
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A very enjoyable read. Never having been on safari, but having wanted to since I was a child, reading this I'm not sure if I might be put off a little. Some of the stories had me laughing out loud but one or two were not so funny telling how it can sometime be a lonely place.
Peter Allison writes about his own experiences as a guide and trainee guide in Botswana, South Africa and Mozambique; of a needy rhino who took a liking to the Landrover that him and the tourists were in; of a water war between the elephants and the safari camp. Along with many other interesting and varied reminiscences of a young safari guide.
Much more upbeat than Joy Adamson's Born Free and very real.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Humorous and Informative Safari... at many levels, 3 Oct 2009
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Ghostgrey51 (Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Don't Look Behind You: True Tales of a Safari Guide (Paperback)
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This is the second from Peter Allison, relating his exploits as a safari guide in Africa. He manages to balance humour with colourful description of wild life and culture in a saga of his own adventures in the hair-raising learning curve of his chosen profession, and some of the encounters are as gripping as any thriller you may care to pick up.
I'm not much of a fan of travel or real-life adventure books, but Mr Allison displays a refreshing willingness not to take himself too seriously, while still managing to warn us Wild Life is actually just that and to be respected (wait until you reach the passages about a motor boat being pursued by an enraged principal female elephant of a herd -oh my!).
True there are many passages to make you smile or chuckle,but the author also injects notes of seriousness and sobriety which add to the texture of the work and lend a theme of gravity not always in books in this genre (in those cases maybe so as not spoil the fun?).This book at times does make you reflect on Life.
This book should appeal to not just those interested in travel and adventure, but for those who enjoy a good entertaining read no matter what age or gender.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Walk Where the Wild Things Are, 21 Sep 2009
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Book Gannet (Devon, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Don't Look Behind You: True Tales of a Safari Guide (Paperback)
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Working in South Africa, Botswana and Namibia, Allison's career as a safari guide has left him with a wealth of stories to share. From his appalling driving, to his penchant for landing himself in close (and frequently very dangerous) encounters with Africa's wildlife - elephants, hippos, lions, leopards, cheetahs and sharks, to name but a few. His writing is engaging, often very funny and always filled with his love for the continent and its spectacular animals.

His willingness to reveal his own faults and mistakes adds real charm to his adventures, while mentions of poachers, man's interference and nature's harsh realities keep this book from becoming just an amusing collection of anecdotes.

True, the guy's clearly crazy, but he does tell a good tale.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable, 28 Mar 2012
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I very much enjoyed reading this - especially hearing about the author's experiences in Botswana. Some of the tales made me chuckle, and some had me wondering how he'd managed to survive long enough to write this book! It's also very well written.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I cried Laughing, 15 Feb 2011
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This review is from: Don't Look Behind You: True Tales of a Safari Guide (Paperback)
Hilarious - more tales from Peter about his life as a Safari Guide - he writes beautifully well, you can actually hear the sounds of the bush and smell that hot dust that typifies an African Summer. I look forward to book number three with relish!
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Don't Look Behind You: True Tales of a Safari Guide
Don't Look Behind You: True Tales of a Safari Guide by Peter Allison (Paperback - 29 Oct 2009)
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