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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HAPPY VALLEY: The story of the English in Kenya
This book was written in 1978, has a map of Kenya on page 1 and 17 B/W photos. There are pictures of mount Kenya, a very old Colonel Meinertzhagen, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and beautiful Kenya highlands.
The first chapter deals with Thomson's expedition"through masai land", and his visit to Mount Kenia(Kenya).4 things were named after Joseph Thomson (1) Gazelle (2) water...
Published on 24 Jan 2008 by Dr S. S. Nagi

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3.0 out of 5 stars Lightweight introduction
A lightweight canter through the history of colonial Kenya. At times the author meanders off course. A fair introduction to the subject which might arouse the reader's curiosity to go in search of more substantial writings.
Published 6 months ago by Mr. Graeme B. Quar


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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HAPPY VALLEY: The story of the English in Kenya, 24 Jan 2008
By 
Dr S. S. Nagi "Nyrobe" (united kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This book was written in 1978, has a map of Kenya on page 1 and 17 B/W photos. There are pictures of mount Kenya, a very old Colonel Meinertzhagen, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and beautiful Kenya highlands.
The first chapter deals with Thomson's expedition"through masai land", and his visit to Mount Kenia(Kenya).4 things were named after Joseph Thomson (1) Gazelle (2) water fall (3) fern and (4) shell. Next chapter is on Uganda Railways (Lunatic express),583 miles, from Mombasa to Kisumu. It started in 1896 and completed on 23.12.1901. This chapter also talks about maneaters of Tsavo. But how to pay for the railways. Well, get settlers in to the highlands. Lord Delamere was there too. So did poeple from Australia, NewZeland,USA, South Africa, Britain and Europe.
The book then explains forming of Nairobi Town, first citizen was Sgt George Ellis. Then the making of Government, building of Norfolk Hotel (1904) and the racecourse.
Then came world war 1. Settlers got together to fight the German East Africa(Tanzania) The book deals in length the destruction of KONIGSBERG. General Smuts chases General Von-Lettow-Vorbeck, all over Tanganyika, before the later surrenders in 1918.
More settlers come after the war and build farms, manor houses, clubs(Muthiaga) and have a good time in "THE HAPPY VALLEY" The local phrase was "are you married? or do you live in Kenya?" Europeans were prepared to fight for"King and Kenya".
2nd world war came and the farming community flourished at the expense of shooting most of the wildlife, for meat. Whites returning from war were eligible for settlers schemes, but black kikuyu were not, leading to "MAW MAW" (Mau Mau) uprising (1950). Ian Henderson was given the job to hunt for Kimathi, Mau Mau's commander, in the Aberdares forest. Kimathi was hung on 18.2.1957. After 9 years in detention,on 14.8.1961, Jomo Kenyatta was allowed to go home. The UHURU came to Kenya on 11.12.1963. "The Europeans are alive and well and still living in Kenya".
This excellent rare book is a summary of many books on Kenya. Well written and researched and easy to read. Having born in Kenya, I enjoyed this history and would reccomend it.
Read and ENJOY.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Background to Mau Mau uprising, 21 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Happy Valley: The Story of the English in Kenya (Kindle Edition)
As my family was personally involved in running a detention centre for young Mau Mau or young men whose parents were Mau Mau I found the background to the whole sorry story very interesting and more understandable.
I know that a great deal was done to rehabilitate the young men in the camp, and a school and church were built.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A well written and well researched piece of history, 5 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Happy Valley: The Story of the English in Kenya (Kindle Edition)
I read White Mischief long ago and the title of this book attracted me for that reason. Actually, the second part of the title, The Story of the English in Kenya (although, strictly, it should surely have been British rather than English) is far more descriptive of the contents.

Written 50 years after the Union Jack was finally lowered in Kenya it is a fascinating description of a short colonial rule. Mr Best packs the facts in without losing an excellent flowing style it is very readable and quite fast-moving. Very enjoyable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great story beautifully written, 10 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Happy Valley: The Story of the English in Kenya (Kindle Edition)
This is an incredibly interesting part of British history abroad. Like most people, I knew a little of the story, but this book brings it alive and makes sense of it all. What suprised me is that parts of the book are really very funny, from the British and German reluctance to go to war, to the setting up of a few railway workers' tents in a bog that they decided to call Nairobi. The courage of the settlers, the way they helped to organise and develop the agriculture - and the Mau Mau rebellion - are dealt with in a very readable and amusing style. It's British colonial history made interesting, and a story that is well worth reading.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Happy Valley by Nicolas Best, 4 April 2014
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This review is from: Happy Valley: The Story of the English in Kenya (Kindle Edition)
I really enjoyed this book and found it very educational and at times amusing. It covers a serious part of British history some of which I was previously ignorant. The reason why I only gave 4 stars was because I found that at times the author presented some of the facts in a slightly flippant way in order, presumably, to keep the reader's interest. But the book makes you think about the way government in London don't always make the best decisions - especially when it comes to government in far flung places. It also gives an insight into the mentality and ability of some of the early settlers in Kenya. It demonstrates and underlines the ability of some individuals to manage and achieve remarkable feats.
Unfortunately, I seem to have lost my copy on Kindle. I discovered this when I wanted to re-read parts of the book, but never mind!.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Happy Valley., 4 April 2014
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This review is from: Happy Valley: The Story of the English in Kenya (Kindle Edition)
Although not quite what I had expected but nevertheless quite enjoyable and very enlightening, I learnt a lot from this book
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read, 27 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Happy Valley: The Story of the English in Kenya (Kindle Edition)
Informative and well researched making the reader comfortable with the history but novel like style of writing makes for easy reading
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great overview of the Colonial history of Kenya., 24 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Happy Valley: The Story of the English in Kenya (Kindle Edition)
Well written, concise and entertaining. If you want an overview of the colonial past of Kenya without all the boring details this is an excellent book and does just what it intends, inform in a anecdotal manner about the British in Kenya.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Lightweight introduction, 16 Mar 2014
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Mr. Graeme B. Quar "Graeme Q" (Hampshire England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Happy Valley: The Story of the English in Kenya (Kindle Edition)
A lightweight canter through the history of colonial Kenya. At times the author meanders off course. A fair introduction to the subject which might arouse the reader's curiosity to go in search of more substantial writings.
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3.0 out of 5 stars There are errors!, 11 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Happy Valley: The Story of the English in Kenya (Kindle Edition)
But, the main facts are all correct, I know this, as I was in Kenya from 1947 to 1956.
One mistake the author made was to state that Lake Elimtiter was the lake at Nakuru. This means that he had never been in the Rift Vally area of Kenya!
Lake Nakuru is the one with the town nearby, and the Flamingos crowing near the lake the lake's edge.
Lake Nakuru is also a soda lake, and was slowly diapearing, last time I was there. The idea of putting in boreholes to fill up- the lake, went astray, as there was no money to pay for them!!
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