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the Lunatic Express Hardcover – 1971

4.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 559 pages
  • Publisher: History Book Club; 1st. Edition Thus edition (1971)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0006C2XFW
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 16.7 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,524,214 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
A long book of over 600 pages.
First half of the book is on explorers, politics and history of east Africa. There is also about politics in UK, whether to fund the Uganda Railways and any advantage to GB.The book talks about LUgard, Speke, Burton, Joseph Thomson and Stanley.
The second half of the book eventually starts on the Railways and the role of Preston, George Whitehouse and JH Patterson. The cost of the Railways rise from 1.3 to 5.5 million Pounds to the GB taxpayers.The suffering of the Indian workers is explained and it is also mentioned about inknown deaths of the Black workers. Only 5 deaths of the White.New towns are built and the railways go on towards Uganda and the Victoria Nyanza.
Down side to the book is the verysmall print and the brown pages , requiring good light and eyes to read this splendid book.
Having born in Kenya, I enjoyed the book very much and got completely involved in it and would recommend to anyone interested in History of Kenya and Buliding of the Uganda Railways.
Other books about the Uganda Railways are:-
(1) The iron Snake, Ronald Hardy, 1965
(2) The Permanent Way, M F Hill 1957
(3) Victoria's Tin Dragon, Satya Sood 2007
(4) The Iron Snake, John Gauder 2007
(5) Man-eaters of Tsavo, Patterson 1908 (1947) 2010
(6) Man Eaters Motel, Denis Boyles 1991
(7) Railways Across the Equator, Amin 1986
(8) Steam Locomotives of East African Railways, White 1974
(9) The Genesis of Kenya Colony, R O Preston 1947
(10)The Story of a Railway, Pringle 1954
(11)Beyond Mombasa, Coates 2005
(12)A Railway to Nowhere, Stephen Mills 2012
Having born in Kenya, I enjoyed reading this book.
Read and ENJOY.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Published in 1971, this is a beautiful book with delightful illustrations as chapter heads. It describes the advance of empire in East Africa with the rival ambitions of Britain, France, Germany and King Leopold II of Belgium.and the construction of a railway into the interior of Africa. The old rivalries have gone with the rise of new independent nations, but the railway remains. I have travelled along parts of it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book after reading a Tourist Guide to Kenya which described the railway from Mombasa to Nairobi as "The Lunatic Line". I felt this designation was harsh and could be well away from the truth and after finding the link to Charles Miller's book, "The Lunatic Express" I bought and read it.

As I suspected, this book is well worth reading and it is nothing less than a fascinating account of the development of the East African territories of Kenya and Uganda from primitive tribal societies to cohesive countries, following on the back of the construction against all the odds of the metre gauge Uganda Railway. The book has an impressive Bibliography including the 1949 official history of the East African Railways "Permanent Way" by M.H. Hill, which suggests serious research. Well worth reading as a comprehensive introduction to modern day Kenya.
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Format: Hardcover
This 600 page book is a presentational mess for the following reasons.
1)The type size is far too small and lines far too close. With paragraphs running to hundreds of words making it difficult to read only 2-3 pages at a time.
2)there are 2 seperate books in this tome the first part covers British expansion in East Africa during the late 19th centuary while the second part deals with the building of the Uganda railway in the early 1900s from Mombassa to Port Florence(Kisumu). Book one is pages 1-286 while book two is the rest.
It is a pity this book is a publication disaster as the author writes well and interestingly.
A book not to be recommended.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A fascinating account of Kenya's history. Well researched. Couldn't 't put the book down. Highly recommended. First read this book in the 70s and was thrilled to get the chance to re-read it.
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