Customer Review

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars He came first in many ways, 24 Nov. 2002
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This review is from: Lost Lion of Empire: The Life of 'Cape-to-Cairo' Grogan: The Life of Ewart Grogan DSO, 1876-1976 (Paperback)
"He should get more credit for this amazing development." The owner of the sisal plantation which was developed from virtually useless land thirty years earlier, said this in 1998 of Ewart Scott Grogan 1874 -1967. This is the story of a remarkably brilliant and complex man, crafty, brave and with incredible foresight, he was condemned like Cassandra, never to be believed until it was too late. Nevertheless he managed to win and lose several fortunes.
The book also tells the story of the scramble for Africa in the early years of the twentieth century and the scramble out of Africa fifty years later.
Grogan was the first man to cross the continent from Cape to Cairo and thus win himself a bride. He fought in the Boer War and in East and Central Africa in World Wars I and II. In between whiles he was in constant conflict with the Colonial Office who, for the most part, couldn’t cope with his maverick style. He was frequently proved right in his judgement, and on at least two occasions the government had to admit to having dealt with him deceitfully and illegally.
He was the first man to establish a sawmill, a brickworks, a luxury hotel in Kenya. He was the driving force in building Kenya’s railways and a deep water harbour in Mombasa. He was also the first man to fly from Cairo to the Cape, retracing his own footsteps. In 1932 it took him eight and a half days.
There is much to learn from this book: about the role of Indians in East Africa; about the origins of the horrors in Urundu, Burundi and the Congo in recent years; about Kenya’s troubled transition to independence in the 1960’s; all this tracing the important role played by the not always likeable buccaneer Ewart Scott Grogan.
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