West with the Night

West with the Night

by Beryl Markham
4.3 42

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West with the Night 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 42 reviews.
BiblioShan More than 1 year ago
I think this is one of the most beautifully written biography out there. Aside for the fact that Markham's life unfolded like a movie even as she was living it, her writing is simply wonderful. At times, as when she describes how her best friend's father died (see pg 101) she brought me to tears.

In fact, its such a lovely book, I'm willing to overlook some of her more, shall we say...James Fry-like tendencies. For example, while relating the story of her flying lessons and the affair she had with her instructor, she somehow forgot to mention that he was married to Isak Denisen at the time. Like I said, I'm willing forgive-particularly in light of the extraordinary life she lived and in light of Hemingway's utter respect for her writing. Comparing his prose to hers, he once told a friend that she made him feel like an amateur carpenter who, given some nails and planks, could cobble together a passable pig pen.
ElaineCasey More than 1 year ago
This inspirational novel is a memoir of Beryl Markham, a pilot, horse trainer, and a woman living her life to the utmost potential. She grew up in the African lands, learning many life lessons through her interaction with animals. Beryl was intrigued by the flying ability of her friend Tom Black, and was further inspired to become the first person ever to fly east to west across the Atlantic from London to North America. The major themes in this book include but are not limited to adventure, persistence, and the ability to adapt and accept things into ones life. Her life as the book depicts it is one starting and ending in adventure, never skipping a beat of life along the way. She was a woman who grew up next to the natives of Africa, hunting beside tribal leaders, being attacked by wild lions, and killing the dangerous hogs of the region with her own spear. When training one of the many horses in her lifetime, Beryl learned persistence, which was a necessity in this stubborn horses training. She was bit, kicked, and thrown across the stall of Royal Exile. Tolerance and patience was imperative in educating this wild beast, and she was successful in bringing his high, stubborn head back down to earth. As a white woman in Africa, Beryl was faced with the life long racism between whites and blacks. Beryl states in her moving novel, "What a child does not know and does not want to know of race and colour and class, he learns soon enough as he grows to see each man flipped inexorably into some predestined groove like a penny or a sovereign in a bankers rack" (Markham 149). I enjoyed how Beryl incorporated aspects of reflection of her childhood into her calm and relaxing rides on her horse she trained from birth, Pegasus. I would have enjoyed it if this book or weaved in an element of racism deeper than what they incorporated in the book. This book is recommended to all young adults and adults of any age. Not only does this book keep you turning the page, it teaches lessons and opens the readers' eyes to what it was like living in Africa, being a woman, and even flying. I rate this book overall to be five stars. I feel I am a different person after reading this book now, able to look at the world through the eyes of many different aspects. Beryl Markham was a moving woman and wrote a book accurately depicting Africa, horses, discipline, patience, fear and joy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a child growing up with her father in Africa, Beryl Markham faced down lions and wild boar. As an adult she trained race horses before learning to fly airplanes and becoming a bush pilot. Eventually she became the first pilot, female or male, to fly west with the night and cross the Atlantic ocean solo from Europe to North America. Markham brings the African bush to life with stories of boar hunts and elephant hunts. Of horse races and airplane flights over desert terrain. She lived a courageous life in a time when girls were only supposed to wear dresses and play with dolls and flying airplanes was a man's job. Highly inspirational to read! There's so much to talk about in mother-daughter book clubs or any book club. How was Markham's life different from so many of the girls in her time? How would her life have been different if her mother was also in Africa raising her? This book is beautifully written I've read it three times and each reading I glean more and more from it. I highly recommend it for anyone in high school or older.
Pablosmom More than 1 year ago
Markham has a command of language and detail that drives this fascinating memoir. I have been to Kenya and she paints an accurate picture of the landscape. The story focuses on her inner life, so I read a biography to help fill in some gaps, such as why her mother is never mentioned in this book. Still, the story is fascinating for the writing, and Markham's tenacity. She was a strong woman who excelled in a man's world through hunting, horse training, flying, and as proven here, writing. The book's meditative nature is reminiscent of Antoine de saint-exupery's Wind, Sand, and Stars.
dlcwoody More than 1 year ago
This book was so enlightening and uplifting. To be a white woman in Africa and then learn to fly a plane was extra ordinary. Beryl Markham was very inspiring I wish I could have met her. What an excellent choice when picking up something to read to enlighten, education and entertain.
Guest More than 1 year ago
OK, forget Earnest Hemmingway touts this as a finer book that any of his own, (that alone should be enough )Only 'his' autobiography, A Moveable Feast, comes anywhere near. To not read this book is to deny yourself one of readings' greatest pleasures. It is so perfect on a multitude of diverse planes. First, a story of one of the most intrepid women to walk the earth. Then it provides unparalled insight into the Aftica that existed just before our lives began. Then be overwhelemed by her insight into the magnificent animals. Some like the haunting revelation of female elephants' efforts to hide their bull elephant's prized tusk from the view of white hunters flying above. This may change you forever. This is the finest biography ever written. I have given this book with joy to every women I know, and each has fallen in love with it. Hence my reference to Beatty
MelanieSp More than 1 year ago
Very well-written memoir of an early pioneer in aviation. It tells of her growing up in Africa on a ranch, her journey to find her place and finding it in flying.Detailed, lyrical descriptions of landscapes and adventures that take you to the edge, without pushing them too far. I highly recommend this enthralling, beautifully written tale.
Guest More than 1 year ago
West with Night, is a must read on every bookshelf about aviation. It is more than a flying book, it is a great history of Africa during the days of foriegn control. A must read for any aviator. I also reccomdend FLYING NORTH SOUTH EAST AND WEST by Captain Terry Reece, another good read of later operations from the North Pole to Africa.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Reading Beryl Markham's book is the reason that I went to Kenya for the summer of 1999. Of course, that Kenya and its social scene no longer exist, nor do the animals in such plentiful amounts, but I could easily see how she fell so in love with the country. I got so wrapped up in her stories of growing up in Kenya, playing with Masai children, and becoming the first female pilot in Africa. It follows closely the social scene that existed then, though I found it interesting the Karen Blixen was not mentioned, yet Bror Blixen was. Clearly Dana, the one giving this fine novel a review, has a lot of learning to do, because West with the Night is one of the best books ever written. Kudos to her teacher for making it assigned reading.
Anonymous 10 months ago
ScotsLass More than 1 year ago
West With The Night by Beryl Markham is the 1942 memoir of Beryl Markham, a fearless and captivating woman who battled against the male dominated society of her time. It chronicles her life growing up in British East Africa, now Kenya, in the early 1900’s. She writes of her early life, growing up more among the local tribe, the Kipsigis, than raised by her father. She is more comfortable among the natives, wild animals, and the horses she and her father raise than among the other British settlers. Despite hardships, she becomes the first woman licensed horse trainer in Africa training several winners. But she doesn’t stop there. After meeting Finch Hatton, she wants to learn to fly, and becomes a bush pilot, flying to spot big game for hunters and delivering mail and medical supplies when needed. However, she is most well known for being the first women to fly from England to North America flying from East to West. It was a difficult and dangerous flight, since she was flying alone, against the wind, in the dark sitting in a plane full of fuel. This book is beautifully written so that British East Africa comes alive in all its colors. The fact that the authorship of the book is in question does not detract from the beauty of the writing. Since I knew very little about this remarkable woman, it was intriguing to find such a successful woman in a male dominated world at that time. She truly was a woman living life to its fullest before her time.
TRFeller More than 1 year ago
These are the 1942 memoirs of Beryl Clutterbuck Markham (1902-1986), one of the first female aviators, from her childhood in British East Africa (Kenya) to her historic solo non-stop flight from England to North America in 1936. She was only the second person and first female to fly the Atlantic east to west, because the winds favor flying from the other direction. The other man had taken off from Ireland, so she was the first to fly directly from England. She had intended to fly to New York, but the accumulation of ice in her fuel tank vents forced her to crash land on Cape Breton Island off of Nova Scotia. These memoirs are written in an anecdotal style and do not mention her three husbands, her son, or her mother. Although the opening chapters describe one of her adventures as a bush pilot in Africa, they are otherwise in chronological order. Her father was a farmer and horse breeder, and her first job as an adult was as a horse trainer. She was a tomboy as a child and even once went on a boar hunt with two locals. She also writes about her dog, Buller, and her horse, Pegasus., extensively You may also be familiar with her as one of the characters in the film adaptation of Out of Africa. However, she is not mentioned in the book, presumably because she was one of Isaak Dinesen’s rivals for the affections of Denis Finch-Hatton, played by Robert Redford in the film. Markham got even by not mentioning Dinesen (real name: Karen Blixen), although she does devote a short chapter to Finch-Hatton and several chapters to her adventures with Blixen’s husband Bror. The actual authorship of this book is in dispute, because she was married to a writer, Raoul Schumacher, at the time it was written, but it is still well worth reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book so much that, when I finished it, I flipped back to the first page and restarted it. I simply could not let it end. Beautifully written and wonderfully paced, this account of Markham's life is exciting, thought-provoking, and inspiring.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beryl Markham's memoirs of her life in Africa as a horse trainer and a pilot make for fascinating reading. Most people have no idea that she flew across the Atlantic to America.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
fkl More than 1 year ago
Beryl Markham lived a remarkable life in South Africa as a horse trainer then an aviator. Her writing style takes a bit to get used to. Her sentences are dense, packed with imagery or details of life in SA, horses or aviation. Well worth the effort.
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docmoTM More than 1 year ago
Maybe the best autobiography ever written... Both in content and style.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books I have ever read. The author is an amazing lady who has led a more interesting life than all but a handful of us; who among us has hunted warthogs barefoot with a spear? Her prose is brilliant and she is funny as well.
msebe More than 1 year ago
For any fan of Isak Dinesen, her writing, and her life story needs to learn of Beryl Markham, one of the competitors for the affections of Denys Finch Hatten, Dinesen's love interest in Kenya. There is a controversy whether Markham wrote her own autobiography, but it does not matter. This is a beautifully done chronicle of colonial East Africa and a woman fiercely independent and far ahead of her time. Compelling reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago