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Lost Lion of Empire: The Life of 'Cape-to-Cairo' Grogan

Overview

Ewart Grogan, "the baddest and boldest of a bad bold gang" of settlers in Kenya, was one of the most brilliant and controversial figures of African colonial history. When he proposed to a young heiress, Gertrude Coleman, he needed to prove himself a "somebody" to her father in order to win her hand. He did so in inimitable style, announcing that he intended to accomplish the first south-to-north traverse of Africa. In 1900, after two years of illness and extreme hardship, he arrived triumphantly in Cairo. He ...

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Overview

Ewart Grogan, "the baddest and boldest of a bad bold gang" of settlers in Kenya, was one of the most brilliant and controversial figures of African colonial history. When he proposed to a young heiress, Gertrude Coleman, he needed to prove himself a "somebody" to her father in order to win her hand. He did so in inimitable style, announcing that he intended to accomplish the first south-to-north traverse of Africa. In 1900, after two years of illness and extreme hardship, he arrived triumphantly in Cairo. He became an instant celebrity, and, on returning to England, at last married Gertrude.  Now with a considerable fortune at his disposal, he quickly became a leader among the settlers in British East Africa, and embarked on a lifetime of grand projects, despite government inertia, enormous natural obstacles and the looming threat of bankruptcy. Time after time he proved the doubters wrong, as he pulled off the seemingly impossible.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780006530732
  • Publisher: HarperCollins UK
  • Publication date: 2/1/2003
  • Pages: 496
  • Product dimensions: 7.70 (w) x 5.10 (h) x 1.40 (d)

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  • Posted October 18, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Interesting account of an appalling thug

    Grogan was the classic empire-building type - arrogant, brave, ruthless and autocratic. Like Colonel Dyer, who won notoriety at Amritsar, Grogan believed in the 'iron fist', the 'strong arm' of the law and the other eupehmisms for the ruthless application of overwhelming force against all those who dared to differ from his ideas of the supreme value of the British Empire.<BR/>Yet even today some reactionaries, like Edward Paice himself, Niall Ferguson and Lawrence James, are swollen with hero-worship of these appalling thugs, and creeps like Blair and Brown tell us that we should admire the Empire. <BR/>Books like this actually tell us quite a lot about why the Empire has gone and show us what a good thing it is that it has gone!

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