jeanmolly, November 20, 2008 (view all comments by jeanmolly)
Wonderful for use in a classroom or with home-schoolers. Wrapped in the geography of Africa and rich in African history, Markham draws stark contrasts between western concepts of life and those of African natives. Markham's book also depicts a strong, courageous woman in a world changing more quickly than at any other period in history, as well as her feelings about those changes.
Markham's relationship to her horses will draw in school-aged youths who share an affinity for horses, regardless of differences in time and perspective.
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Deanna Knoll, October 4, 2006 (view all comments by Deanna Knoll)
This travel writer is like no other. The moment I began to read her memoir, the descriptions of Africa came to life and I felt like I was aloft with her in her bush plane. She approaches the changes in Africa because of European influence matter-of-factly, albeit with some nostalgia for the way it used to be. If you want to get lost a place you've never been, fly with Beryl Markham on her delivery routes.
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nyla_herrera, May 7, 2006 (view all comments by nyla_herrera)
I have been an avid reader most of my life and I have to say that I don't believe I understood Africa at all prior to reading this book. The author brings Africa to life and I would heartily recommend it to anyone. I have already suggested it as required reading for a college that my niece attends here in Ky.
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North Point Press -
by The Nation,
"With the skill of someone who has filled long nights with stories, Markham recounts her adventures — discoveries, rescues, and narrow escapes, the glint of an airplane abandoned in the desert, the look of a lion about to pounce....Much more than a pilot's memoir, West With the Night is a wise, funny, and inspiring exploration of a life well lived."
by Library Journal,
"Though Markham is known for setting an aviation record for a solo flight across the Atlantic from East to West...she was also a bush pilot in Africa, sharing adventures with Blor Blixen and Denys Finch-Hatton of Out of Africa fame."
Originally published in 1942 and then reissued in 1983, this is the unabridged best-selling autobiography of the first woman to fly the Atlantic solo from east to west. But it is much more than a story of aviation, revealing a poet's feeling for the land, an adventurer's engagement with life, and a philosopher's insights into the human condition. Julie Harris's evocative reading evokes the sights, sounds, and feelings of a remarkable life lived far outside the mainstream.
A new edition of a great, underappreciated classic of our time
Beryl Markhams West with the Night is a true classic, a book that deserves the same acclaim and readership as the work of her contemporaries Ernest Hemingway, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, and Isak Dinesen.
If the first responsibility of a memoirist is to lead a life worth writing about, Markham succeeded beyond all measure. Born Beryl Clutterbuck in the middle of England, she and her father moved to Kenya when she was a girl, and she grew up with a zebra for a pet; horses for friends; baboons, lions, and gazelles for neighbors. She made money by scouting elephants from a tiny plane. And she would spend most of the rest of her life in East Africa as an adventurer, a racehorse trainer, and an aviatrix—she became the first person to fly nonstop from Europe to America, the first woman to fly solo east to west across the Atlantic. Hers was indisputably a life full of adventure and beauty.
And then there is the writing. When Hemingway read Markhams book, he wrote to his editor, Maxwell Perkins: “She has written so well, and marvelously well, that I was completely ashamed of myself as a writer . . . [She] can write rings around all of us who consider ourselves as writers . . . It is really a bloody wonderful book.”
With a new introduction by Sara Wheeler—one of Markhams few legitimate literary heirs—West with the Night should once again take its place as one of the worlds great adventure stories.
West with the Night is the story of Beryl Markham--aviator, racehorse trainer, beauty--and her life in the Kenya of the 1920s and '30s.
Beryl Markham is also the author of The Splendid Outcast: The African Stories of Beryl Markham.
Growing up in East Africa, the author describes her life as a pioneer aviator, a horse breeder, pilot of passengers and supplies in a small plane to remote corners of Africa, and became the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic from east to west.
"The only parts of it that I know about personally, on account of having been there at the time and heard the other people's stories, are absolutely true . . . I wish you would get it and read it because it is really a bloody wonderful book."—Ernest Hemingway
"Did you read Beryl Markham's book, West with the Night? I knew her fairly well in Africa and never would have suspected that she could and would put pen to paper except to write in her flyer's log book. As it is, she has written so well, and marvelously well, that I was completely ashamed of myself as a writer. I felt that I was simply a carpenter with words, picking up whatever was furnished on the job and nailing them together and sometimes making an okay pig pen. But [she] can write rings around all of us who consider ourselves writers. The only parts of it that I know about personally, on account of having been there at the time and heard the other people's stories, are absolutely true . . . I wish you would get it and read it because it is really a bloody wonderful book."—Ernest Hemingway
"With the skill of someone who has filled long nights with stories, Markham recounts her adventures—discoveries, rescues, and narrow escapes, the glint of an airplane abandoned in the desert, the look of a lion about to pounce . . . Much more than a pilot's memoir, West With the Night is a wise, funny, and inspiring exploration of a life well lived."—The Nation
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