Travels in the White Man's Grave: Memoirs from West and Central Africa

Travels in the White Man's Grave: Memoirs from West and Central Africa

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by Donald MacIntosh
     
 

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In the 1950s, the interior of West and Central Africa was still known as 'The White Man's Grave'. Its forests were primeval and inhabited the minds of Westerners as places of foreboding. But to Donald MacIntosh, a 23-year-old Gaelic-speaking Scottish forester, it was a dream come true when he found himself posted to the hot, cloying humidity of those fabled lands.

Overview

In the 1950s, the interior of West and Central Africa was still known as 'The White Man's Grave'. Its forests were primeval and inhabited the minds of Westerners as places of foreboding. But to Donald MacIntosh, a 23-year-old Gaelic-speaking Scottish forester, it was a dream come true when he found himself posted to the hot, cloying humidity of those fabled lands. During the next 30 years he was to work and live as a tree surveyor, prospector and forest botanist. He listened to the tales of ancient Africa from the lips of hunters, fishermen, chiefs and witch doctors from a vast diversity of tribes in myriad encampments and also had many encounters with the creatures of the forest, from the magnificent leopard to the homicidal buffalo, and from the indolent but horrendously venomous gaboon viper to the agile, irascible and instantly fatal spitting cobra. His odyssey contains a host of characters with exotic names like 'Old Man Africa', 'Magic Sperm', 'Famous Sixpence' and 'Pisspot', whose stories are all told here. But the Africa that MacIntosh describes is no more. The forests have been decimated, and with them have gone the people and the creatures that lived in them long before the coming of the white man's chain saw. This is a rare, poignant and sometimes hilarious glimpse into a vanished past by one who was part of it.

Editorial Reviews

The Times Literary Supplement
A poignant and humorous storyteller of the West African bush to rival Gerald Durrell.
The Sunday Times
MacIntosh writes with a charming insouciance that celebrates an Africa before big business tore the heart out of the rain forest.
From the Publisher
A poignant and humourous storyteller of the West African bush to rival Gerald Durrell.—TLS

He writes with a charming insouciance that celebrates an Africa before big business tore the heart out of the rainforest.—SUNDAY TIMES

Excellent... [Macintosh's] book, one of the surprises of the year, is a slender but richly entertaining memoir—Sara Wheeler, DAILY TELEGRAPH

Although Macintosh's African life was full of adventures and dangers, he never exaggerates them, and writes with a fluidity and understated grace which makes his book a pleasure to read. By turns beautiful, poignant and very funny, Macintosh rarely misses the mark, and this memoir should become a classic of the genre. —Toby Green —This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.—Toby Green, Amazon.co.uk

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781906000356
Publisher:
Wilson, Neil Publishing
Publication date:
10/12/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
200
File size:
509 KB

Meet the Author

Donald MacIntosh is the son of a Perthshire woodcutter and studied forestry in Argyll. He spent 30 years as a tree prospector/surveyor in the rainforests of Liberia, Ivory Coast, Cameroon and Nigeria. He now lives in the South of England and is still homesick for the Africa he knew.

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Travels in the White Man's Grave 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stories of Africa
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a collection of always humorous, often poingiant stories about life in the deep forests of West Africa. On the surface, they are interesting and entertaining, but underneath, they describe the rapid destruction of a vibrant society through exploitation and industrialization. Excellent read, and a fine addition to any library