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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
West with the Night/6 Audio Cassettes
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on 18 July 2017
I felt a real affinity with this book as Kenya is the background to our family, and this should show the "real" Beryl Markham as it is her autobiography, albeit she is reticent about parts of her life such as her mother abandoning her as a child and the many love affairs she had. These things must have affected the woman she became. However, as I had already read Circling the Sun, her biography written by Paula McClain, I found contradictions in Beryl's life that had me frequently checking between the two books - very irritating.!! For instance - where did her father go after leaving Kenya for the first time - Peru or Cape Town?; was Markham her second or first husband? Surely the facts in West With The Night must be the correct ones?
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on 16 September 2015
This remarkable lady achieved so much before her time in respect of women and flying. At times I found her style very flowery but she describes life in East Africa in the 30's so well and maybe in the 30's that was the norm anyway. I lived there myself for years but a couple of decades later and knowing the places she wrote about was so interesting. Her love of adventure in an aeroplane is delightful considering it was so ahead of times in that she was a woman. The description of the types of planes she flew is very interesting . It seemed a shame that she was rather reticent about her love life involving other adventurers but she does describe Von Blixen and Finch Hatton so much in detail that one can guess anyway . A very good read especially her cross Atlantic flight section.
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on 8 April 2016
Fascinating autobiography of the first person to cross the Atlantic from England to America in 1936, her engine failing close to the coast and landing in a bog. Before this her life in 1906 growing up and hunting barefoot with the Massai natives in the bush of Kenya, training racehorses with a trainer's licence at age 18 and becoming the first female to obtain a commcial flying licence there. Missing out are the many men in her turbulent life which include 3 marriages, Denys Finch Hatton - the long-term lover of Karen Blix (Robert Redford in Out of Africa), and the then Duke of Wales on an official visit. Witten in 1946 the book, due to the war, disappeared until 1986 when comments from Hemingway were discovered praising the book as fantastic literature and complaing that she was "a real bitch" after she'd refused to sleep with him! If one want's to find out how Kenya was in the early 1900s and leading to WW2, then this book is a must. There's also a film version of her life from 1988 called "Shadow on the Sun" (on You Tube) which I haven't seen yet.
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on 4 June 2015
Frustrating. A fascinating story of a strong and unique woman and her love affair with Africa and adventure. This is worth reading just for the Kenyan Derby chapter alone, gripping. BUT you learn only a little about this fascinating and complex woman, who was a notoriously hard hearted, wild, impulsive "femme fatale", living and partying in "Happy Valley" at its most salacious. She is a far, far bigger and more interesting life than this book portays. Why did she write this book when she has edited 95% of her life out of it.
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on 2 September 2015
Another excellent story, by the author herself, of Beryl Markham's extraordinary life in the early pioneering days in Kenya. As my husband's family had a superficial connection to that beautiful country, I was interested to learn more about how the early settlers fared and the privations they endured in what, to many of them coming from aristocratic backgrounds of great wealth, must have been almost unendurable discomfort. Read what it was really like to live in a mud hut, and yet appreciate the country for what it offered them and the natural beauty which surrounded them. Beryl's solo flight East to West across the Atlantic, was a tremendous achievement for a woman, brought up with the restrictions of that era, and her chameleon-like ability to fit into high society as well as the primitive conditions of a farm in the White Highlands of Kenya can only be admired for what strides she made for woman's suffrage.
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on 7 June 2017
I was inspired to read this after enjoying Circling the Sun by Paula McLain -telling the story of Beryl Markham.
An evocative and enjoyable account of life in Africa in the early 20th Century- Beryl was a female pioneer and aviator overcoming the odds to live a colourful and fascinating life.
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on 6 September 2010
I wanted to read this book because I spent six years in Kenya as a child, which is where Beryl Markham spent most of her life. I wasn't particularly interested in her flight across the Atlantic. I found the whole book fascinating, even though the descriptions of elephant hunting were upsetting. (I get the feeling she might not have liked the idea much either, but was doing what everyone did in those days.) The book is very evocative of a time and place and a way of life and I loved the way it is written, which is very vivid with plenty of detail. I enjoyed her description of her Atlantic flight too and found myself wondering what else she did in her life afterwards as the book ends with this feat. This is a good, easy-to-read and enjoyable dip into the life of a bold and independent woman.
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on 22 January 2016
Having lived in Kenya during the 70's I found this a really lovely book to read. It brought back so many wonderful memories (not all good haha). Beryl Markham has a lovely way of writing and tells a good story, she was a vanguard of her time especially as a woman; it is beyond belief that she was hunting with the Masai warriors as a child!
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on 10 July 2015
Love love loved this book. Fantastically written, often like poetry. Did her husband help her write it? Well, if he did he should be better known. I tend to think it really was her. Formal education may have been sparse, but her father tutored her at home and she has the intensity of character for it to have stuck, especially if she only read good authors. Will definitely re read it.
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on 12 February 2017
The story is beyond my expectations. Beryl Markham's writing is beautiful, thrilling, full of poetry, drama and with an atmosphere of a world long gone. and an old time English quite challenging to a Danish reader.
BUT yet I was disappointed. I ordered and payed for a NEW book, and according to the label on the back of the book it is. But the fact is that Amazon send me an OLD, secondhand book, full of comments from the previous owner inside. I considered returning the book - but began reading and was captured.
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