Top critical review
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So disappointed! Where are the illustrations?
on 21 April 2017
Overall, this was a lovely book. I agree that the author went OTT with flowery descriptions and I did find this distracting. Having read a lot of books about East Africa I was aware that Karen Blixen's Out of Africa was a very romanticised memoir and that Denys Finch Hatton was not Robert Redford. However, I had been unaware of how two world wars affected the area, so I thoroughly enjoyed learning about what was to me, a totally new aspect. Having travelled in Kenya I was also extremely interested in the vivid portrayal of how the area teemed with wild animals in those days and just what was involved in planning and carrying out a safari. I disagree with other reviewers who suggested his life was pointless. He concluded quite early on that shooting the animals would eventually devastate the wildlife and went public in trying to persuade folk to shoot only with a camera. He also argued via the English newspapers that hunting from wagons should be banned. So he wasn't completely useless as has been suggested. He definitely was self centred and all of the attributes that some reviewers seem to dislike about him are probably the traits that gave him the ability to be one of the 'Great Hunters' of those early days. I would imagine that, had he lived to old age, he might well have developed into a leading conservationist. Despite annoying descriptive flights of fancy by the author, she transported me back to a Kenya as it was 70 years before I visited it. Her depiction of this land teeming with wild animals, the downright dangers to and courage of those settlers and hunters was beautifully conveyed. For me, Karen Blixon was a very secondary character. She had enough guts to take care of herself and, like Denys, so often used people for her own ends that it is no wonder they were attracted to each other. My great great disappointment was that the tantalisingly huge list of illustrations was not available in this kindle book and this is reflected in my 3 star rating. However, because of this, Amazon are refunding me my purchase price. Overall, a wonderfully evocative book, well written and only 2 typos that I spotted. Forget Robert Redford and Karen Blixon's fictional version of Out of Africa and enjoy this slice of kenyan history with the knowledge that social mores were VERY different then.