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on 25 May 2017
Peter's books are essential reading for anyone interested in Africa, wildlife or safaris. Those of us who have spent time in the African bush will recognise instantly some of the situations Peter describes and those who just dreeam of safari will get a unique insight into the reality of a safari guide's life but it is the wit and self-deprecating humour with which every tale is recounted that sets Peter's books apart from most other memoirs of Africa.

This book and it's earlier companion "Whatever you do, don't run" provide a fascinating and often hilarious escape into the world of safari guiding that will quickly capture your imagination and have you desperate for the next chapter. The only disappointment you will have is when you have finished them both. Then you will just have to start again at the beginning :-)
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on 21 August 2017
A great read, amusing and caring view of Africa, and guiding. Different perspective of being a game ranger. Which was enjoyable.
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on 14 March 2017
Bought this after reading 'Don't run'. Great collection of reminiscences well told, very enjoyable
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VINE VOICEon 10 October 2009
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Boy's own adventure stuff from someone with whom I'd gladly share a beer, if not necessarily a Land Rover. Self deprecating author Peter Allison comes across as the kind of guide I'd follow just to find out what he'd do next, rather in the style of Eric Newby. The book may be a safer bet than one of his safaris and for armchair adventurers like me the next best thing.

Enjoying the experience in book form avoids the danger of being gored by hippos, eaten by leopards or drowning in crocodile infested rivers, all of which are on the author's list of things to do to liven up his trips. There are a few interesting accounts of the animals encountered but this isn't really David Attenborough territory - don't expect to learn a great deal about the animals or Africa, it's not really that kind of book. Insight and scientific assessment are perhaps not Mr Allison's strong points. This becomes obvious when he describes a trip rafting down the river mentioned above (crocodiles, hippos) using an inflated inner tube to fill an otherwise quiet day. It certainly gives a flavour of life in a safari camp but for the deeper issues affecting Africa perhaps look elsewhere (e.g., Richard Dowden, below).

As a light, escapist read this is spot on: the tales move along briskly and a sight more comfortably than his vehicles. Mr Allison has done things that are probably better to read about than try so has something to talk about: more prudent guides might have fewer stories to tell. The less prudent ones - if there are any - probably don't last long enough to write it down. His enthusiasm and reckless gung-ho approach keep things moving along at a cracking pace. I found the style very readable. A collection of spiffing tales, well worth a go.

Eric Newby's book (one of them - amongst the best):
A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush (50th anniversary edition)

Richard Dowden's:
Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles
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VINE VOICEon 10 March 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Overall quite a humorous book, telling the exploits of a safari guide. The book itself is quite readable and easy to get into, but I found myself halfway through the book and asking myself "what's the actual story?".

There are some very funny stories throughout, but the book itself doesn't have much substance - he touches upon the various wildlife, but spends more time talking about his experiences. There are some astute observations within the book, but these are mainly about the people he encounters, instead of wildlife. The author also likes to remind the reader - on a frequent basis - about his clumsiness (which is quite believable, but I doubt he's as clumsy as he'd like us to believe).

If want to know more about wildlife, then this isn't the book for you (even if you wanted to know how camps run or funny stories about wildlife in reserves, then this still isn't for you!). If you want an easy to read book written by an amiable author writing about his experiences and dilemas he got into, then this is perfect.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I had great hopes for this book, and it is packed full of juicy anecdotes, some funny, some touching, and some making one doubt the sanity and humanity of those in authority.

But, while Peter Allison obviously experienced all his stories, and the descriptions are resonant with my own memories of fifteen years in or near the bush, somehow the book comes across as being too much about him and his frailties, and not enough about the majesty and mystery and intensity that is Africa.

If one reads the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency books by Alexander McCall Smith, one can almost feel the heat, taste the dust and hear the characters talking over the background thrum of the insects; you are there. But not quite so with our safari guide, and I still can't put my finger on what is missing. The flavour is genuine enough, and most people who have never been to Africa will be very happy to read this book, however, like an insipid curry, the bite is missing.

Who am I to criticise? I grew up in Central Africa, close to the bush. We lived with the mosquitoes, flies, and spiders of all sizes, snakes, warthogs, jackals, hyenas, and the occasional antelope and their predators; and the maximum-noise walk (to frighten them away) in the dark down the garden path to the PK to answer a call of nature was fraught with danger in the mind of this child. One always knew when a neighbour fulfilled a similar summons, the stamping walk and the clatter and slam of toilet seats and lids vigorously knocking loose undesirable extras was unmistakeable.

Yes, this is a good book, and it brought back lots of memories, but I think it could have been so much better, hence only four stars.

For a much more authentic flavour of African wildlife with full bite and then some, although admittedly very dated, and these days possibly not quite politically correct, may I suggest you try reading Jock of the Bushveld by Sir Percy Fitzpatrick, preferably a version with the superb original illustrations.
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on 9 December 2009
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
`Don't Look Behind' you is a collection of stories from the life of Peter Allison and his time as a Safari Guide. Like many books of this type the writing tells us as much about the man as it does the subject matter. Allison gets himself into plenty of scraps and through a series of immature or just plain stupid decisions he escapes from lions, elephants, crocodiles and countless other animals. The fact that he is alive to tell the tales seems impressive enough! Although Allison does come across as a little dopey in his writing, he also appeals to be a genuinely nice man who cares about the wildlife that surrounded him. The best stories were the poignant ones that describe the harsh life of a wild animal or the cold touch of man.

A reader's enjoyment of the book will probably be based solely on their attitude towards Allison. His personality is on every page from his childlike enthusiasm to his penchant for bad jokes. I liked his relaxed style of writing as it felt like he was using his guiding skills in written form. There're loads of stories in the book and they do not outstay their welcome. You get a chronological feel for them as they start at Allison's training until the present day. I don't usually read non-fiction, but when it is as entertainingly written as it is here it is great fun.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I thoroughly enjoyed this book - it's the sort of book you pick up for a little light reading intending to read just a small section or a full chapter but then just don't put down.

The title "Don't look behind you ... just go!" takes its name from the cry of sheer panic by one of the tourists as the author found himself with four tourists in an under-powered small boat stuck in shallow water in hot pursuit by a large female elephant defending her family, and this is just of the many scrapes he gets himself into.

From the outset I became immersed in sharing the author's amusing tales, chapter by chapter, of his experiences as a safari guide together with the animals he encounters along the way - and a few photos are included. Throughout, it is well written in a lively, conversational style and would appeal to those who enjoy autobiographical humour involving both people and especially African animals. Fans of James Herriott and Gerald Durrell will surely enjoy this too - along with its predecessor " DON'T RUN, Whatever You Do: My Adventures as a Safari Guide" which I'm now about to order. These books are addictive and I hope Peter Allison will continue to write more - perhaps also giving more attention to the characters of the tourists he meets as a guide.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I really enjoyed Peter Allison's energetic account of his time spent in Africa as a safari guide. Peter is distinctly accident and incident prone, well aware of his limitations and absolutely delightful company in this book. He paints affectionate and insightful portraits of his characterful co-workers as well as some of the animals he came across, for whom he genuinely cared.

Peter has a particular fondness for big cats and elephants and the book is peppered with tales of these - as well as an entertaining account of his skills at night-time baby-chameleon spotting. Peter is also a highly skilled photographer and there are some beautiful high quality photographs. There is an interesting chapter on Peter's brush with African bureaucracy which gives some insight into the difficulties experienced by those living in sub-Saharan Africa.

This isn't a book packed with lengthy descriptions of African animals and their habitats but it is a book that gives an insight into a fascinating, sometimes exciting, often frustrating lifestyle. Peter Allison is as entertaining writing about nothing happening as he is about the spur of the moment river journey on which he nearly drowned. Definitely recommended - and a good insight for anyone thinking of taking a safari holiday.
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VINE VOICEon 18 October 2009
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Peter Allison's inside track to life as a safari guide is a bit like going on a real safari. Between the exciting bits when you come into contact with wild-life there's a lot of aimless sitting about or wandering around.

He does a lot of vehicle destruction - puts Richard Hammond to shame really - which is entertaining. But I found it a bit animal-lite for a book about a safari.

Peter's love of Africa shines through as does his clumsiness and the overall effect is quite endearing- for someone who has fond memories of a genuine African safari it would probably be some welcome light reading.
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