A Certain Curve of Horn: The Hundred-Year Quest for the Giant Sable Antelope of Angola

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Overview

In A Certain Curve of Horn, veteran journalist John Frederick Walker tells the story of one of the most revered and endangered of the regal beasts of Africa: the giant sable antelope of Angola, a majestic, coal-black quadruped with breathtaking curved horns over five feet long. As he follows the trail of this mysterious animal, Walker interweaves the stories of the adventurers, scientists, and warriors who have come under the thrall of the beast, and how their actions would shape the fate of the giant sable ...
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A Certain Curve of Horn: The Hundred-Year Quest for the Giant Sable Antelope of Angola

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Overview

In A Certain Curve of Horn, veteran journalist John Frederick Walker tells the story of one of the most revered and endangered of the regal beasts of Africa: the giant sable antelope of Angola, a majestic, coal-black quadruped with breathtaking curved horns over five feet long. As he follows the trail of this mysterious animal, Walker interweaves the stories of the adventurers, scientists, and warriors who have come under the thrall of the beast, and how their actions would shape the fate of the giant sable antelope and the history of the war-torn nation that is its only home
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Editorial Reviews

The Los Angeles Times
One of a writer's hardest tasks is introducing his readers to a distant country few of them have ever seen and to a culture they have scarcely heard of. It is an assignment more often attempted than successfully completed. John Frederick Walker, a freelance writer, succeeds in bringing the southwestern African country of Angola to wretched life in A Certain Curve of Horn.Anthony Day
Library Journal
Walker, a freelance journalist with a passion for Africa, provides a highly readable account of the endangered giant sable antelope. It was first described by Europeans in 1909 and has ever since been hunted for trophy, investigated by biologists, and cherished by Angolans as a symbol of their country and its survival. As with all things ecological, the story of the antelope is deeply entwined with people and politics. Walker creates a detailed portrait all the way from the early colonization of Angola by the Portuguese in the mid-1400s to the building of railroads in the early 1900s, independence of sorts in 1975, the horrific, 25-year-long civil war, and the current struggles of a long-impoverished people. He does an excellent job of weaving the biology and natural history of the antelope with the social and political history of Angola. This is not a simple story for the casual armchair naturalist, but readers interested in the giant sable, Angola, or how politics and conservation mix will find this worthwhile. Recommended for larger public libraries, environmental collections, and Africa/Angola collections.-Nancy Moeckel, Miami Univ. Libs., Oxford, OH
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780871138583
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/28/2002
  • Pages: 477
  • Product dimensions: 6.26 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 1.33 (d)

Table of Contents

Prologue 1
Part 1
1. Tracks in Shadow 7
2. Varian's Giant 35
3. "The Finest Horns in the World" 62
4. Enter the Biologist 113
5. Caught in the War Zone 141
Part 2
6. A Conflict of Crusaders 201
7. The Hunter's Bargain 253
8. Waiting for Angola 269
9. Luanda & Quicama 295
10. Flight of Antelopes 346
11. Expedition to Malange 384
Epilogue 409
Notes 415
Acknowledgments 457
Credits 463
Index 465
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2002

    Lived once again: the most unforgettable event of my life

    In 1974 I journeyed to Angola in quest of the giant sable antelope. I was able to enter the Cangandala Natural Reserve and obtained 40 slides of them. All giant sable are splendid animals, but the herd's 600 pound, blue-back master bull, with its sweeping 66 inch horns, and a bearing to match its appearance, was the most magnificent animal ever to inhabit planet earth. Upon my return to the United States I wrote an account of my adventure that was never published. I presumed that no one cared about Angola, or its splendid antelope. Worse, the photos were lost by a former spouse. Thus I had to get on with my life. But I never really put that extraordinary experience behind me. Now, having read John Frederick Walker's account of his own quest for the giant sable antelope, I lived that wonderful adventure all over again. That Mr. Walker--in the face of reports that the giant sable was extinct--uncovered evidence that it indeed still exists, only added to the satisfaction of reading his very well researched and very well written piece of work. To all those with any interest in African wildlife, you must read John Frederick Walker's book. Christopher Burchfield

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