Books About Kenya

Old Nov 21st, 2008, 10:51 AM
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Books About Kenya

Looking for more good books about Kenya. Not just travel books, but literature, history, culture, politics. I've just started reading about Kenya for our trip next year. (Started with reading "Out of Africa" again.) One I would recommend is Wildlife Wars: My Fight to Save Africa's Natural Treasures by Richard Leakey. He worked during the late 80s and into the 90s as the director of the Kenya Wildlife Service. The book is his version of that work. I am sure there is some controversy about his version, but if even half of it is true it provides a good insight of what it has taken in terms of effort, money and even human lives of those in that service to secure the wildlife and park service of Kenya. And good insight into developing countries economic, political and cultural challenges.

Anyone considering an African safari would do well to have such background of what has gone into -- in the positive and negative sense -- what their experience will be there.

Does anyone recommend any "counterpoint" books or articles to Leakey's story or other good books about Kenya or set in Kenya?
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Old Nov 21st, 2008, 12:36 PM
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One book that comes to mind straight away is Elephant Memories by Cynthia Moss.

She studies elephants in Amboseli, and is one of THE most knowledgeable people when it comes to ellie behavior. She was also one of the first to focus on the species.

Great book, and you learn a lot too.

Richard leakey mentiones her in his book, if I remember correctly.


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Old Nov 21st, 2008, 12:47 PM
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The Flame Trees of Thika: Memories of an African Childhood by Elspeth a classic about Kenya/colonial-era
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Old Nov 21st, 2008, 08:22 PM
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Hi Laurie-ann,

here are a few more:

Joy Adamson's wildlife books

Attwood, Melinda - Jambo Mama

Bennun, David - Tick bite fever ( a real favourite of mine)

Caputo, Philip - Ghosts of Tsavo : stalking the mystery lions of East Africa

Carberry, Juanita - Child of Happy Valley

Frank Coates novels

Elkins, Caroline - Imperial reckoning: the untold story of Britain's Gulag in Kenya

Evans, Tenniel - Don't walk in the long grass

Fox, James - White mischief

Kuki Gallman's volumes of memoirs

Hillaby, John - Journey to the Jade Sea

Hofmann, Corinne - White masai (and other memoirs)

Holman, Michael - Last orders at Harrods

Huxley, Elspeth - Murder on safari

Kaye, M M - Death in Kenya

Keating, Barbara - A Durable fire; and Blood sisters

Lovell, Mary - Straight on 'til morning (a biography of Beryl Markham)

Maathai, Wangari - Unbowed : one woman's story

McQuillan, Karen - The Cheetah chase; Deadly safari; and Elephant's graveyard (long out of print, but may be available from antiquarian booksellers)

Nicole, Christopher - Happy Valley

Paine, Katy - The Sound of thunder

Poole, Joyce - Coming of age with elephants

Ricciardi, Mirella - Vanishing Africa; and African saga

Ridgeway, Rick - Shadow of Kilimanjaro (a great read)

Ruark, Robert - Uhuru

Sapolsky, Robert - A Primate's memoir

Jonathan Scott's works on big cats

Sheldrick, Daphne - Orphans of Tsavo; and Tsavo story

Trzebinski, Errol - Silence will speak (Biography of Denys Finch Hatton)

Wheeler, Sara - Too close to the sun : the life and times of Denys Finch Hatton

Happy reading,


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Old Nov 23rd, 2008, 06:37 AM
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Great list!

West with the Night by Beryl Markham.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2008, 08:19 AM
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Thanks Lynn! After reading several reviews, I have ordered West with the Night. Robin
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Old Nov 24th, 2008, 06:50 PM
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Loved West with the Night!
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Old Nov 24th, 2008, 07:59 PM
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I loved 'West with the Night' also. I met Beryl Markham a couple of times maaaaany years ago (obviously as she is long gone) as she trained race horses in Nairobi for a friend of ours. Have to say that I was pretty scared of her but anyone who had done the dangerous things she had done probably wasn't too child friendly, or soft and cuddly.
Daktari: A Surgeon's Adventures With the Flying Doctors of East Africa by Thomas D Rees
is a book I could really recommend. Also enjoyed was
Scott Griffin's 'My Heart is Africa, A Flying Adventure'
Both about the Flying Doctor Service.
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Old Nov 25th, 2008, 05:49 AM
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hi laurie_ann

imagine an anthropological study of one of the main tribes of Kenya.
Imagine that the researcher is a member of the tribe (and a person that years later would be the first president...)

IMHO it is a "must"!
read Jomo's book

Kenyatta, J.
Facing Mount Kenya


P.S. in the states you can get it used for $1-2 ...
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Old Nov 25th, 2008, 05:50 AM
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forgot to mention the tribe is Kikuyu (Gikuyu)
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Old Nov 28th, 2008, 04:01 AM
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It has been a while since I've visited Fodor’s, haven’t had the heart to think of my beloved Africa until recently. A warm hello to everyone. Here is my Kenya book list, which includes books I have read,and those I am still searching for:

A History of East Africa (Kenneth Inghams)

The Scramble for Africa (Pakenham) explains motives that brought British to EA

Anything Elspeth Huxley, especially White Man’s Country for first half of the colonial period.

Kenya Diary (Richard Meinertzhagen) Period leading up to WWI campaign in EA

For a touch of classic white man’s Africa: Out of Africa (Dinesen)or The Kenya Pioneers (Trzebinski).

Something of Value or Uhuru (Robert Ruark) for mood of white settlers from Mau Mau to Independence.

My Kenya Acres (Cherry Stone Lander) a woman’s joy and frustrations trying to farm 500 acres in Kenya

Mau Mau and the Kikuyu (Louis Leakey) good account of rebellion.

Life and Politics in Mombasa (Hyder Kindy) or The Lunatic Express (Miller). Story of role Indians and Pakistanis played in Kenya.

Conservation of Wildlife; some of my favorites include:

-No Room in the Ark (Moorehead)
-Serengeti Shall Not Die and Rhinos Belong to Everybody (Grzimek)
-The End of the Game or Longing for Darkness (Peter Beard)
-Fly, Vulture (Cowie) Kenya’s first parks director tells about establishing game parks.

Freedom and After (Tom Mboya) an African nationalist leader

The Reds and the Blacks (William Attwood) 1st US ambassador to Kenya [Note: This book is banned in Kenya, so do NOT travel with it!!!]

A death in Kenya (Hiltzik)unsolved murder of Julie Ward.

Rogue Ambassador (Smith Hempstone) memoir as US Ambassador to Kenya

Thirty Years of Independence in Africa: The Lost Decades? (Peter Anyang Nyong’o)

From Where I Sit (J. B. Wanjui) A respected Kenyan businessman.

Kenya: The Quest for Prosperity (N. M. Miller) dealing with the late years of Kenyatta and early years of Moi.
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Old Nov 29th, 2008, 11:47 PM
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Thanks Khakif for the list of books especially relating to Politics and History of Kenya/East Africa. Many I hadn't heard of so I will start shopping for them.
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Old Nov 30th, 2008, 06:04 AM
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Nomad: Walking with Samburu, by Mary Ann Fitzgerald. Excellent and well written. Available on Amazon in paperback... good price (cheap).

A South African living in Kenya for years with 2/daughters. Writer for the Times of London. Having written negatively about the Moi government tossed into jail, then exiled; took children to London.

The section written in northern Kenya takes you along that you feel you too "are walking with the Samburu" Later returning to Afriva, traveled to the many troubled areas of Africa, with much detail of the politics, terror and culture.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2008, 10:08 AM
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the book you mention
(Kenya Diary (Richard Meinertzhagen) Period leading up to WWI campaign in EA

is this the book where British Col. Meinertzhagen, tells about his genocidal acts ??
is this the book telling how his British force executed civilians (incl. children and women) wiping out villages in "retaliation" ...

it seems that after independence Kenyatta had some agreements with the UK to edit the history of that period.
i knew a Kenyan who had problems to publish his historical research...
but the BBC later revealed some of the horrors


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Old Dec 4th, 2008, 12:08 PM
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Aby, The answer is yes. The book is haunting, brutal, disturbing and NOT for the faint-of-heart.
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