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Books: 4 Essential Reads

Books: 4 Essential Reads

Churchill’s South Africa

A truly pleasant revisit into a part of our dark history. Chris Schoeman’s foray into the enigmatic Churchill’s stay in Africa is accurate, clinical and graphic. He brings it to life in an uncompromising neutral note, but allows the reader to conjure up conclusions which he himself nimbly steers clear of.

Is the upper crust, eloquent Churchill a colonialist, a psychopathic warmonger or a visionary who will save the world some 40 years down the line without grabbing all the fame along the way?

Churchill starts his stay in Africa as a neutral war correspondent and ends it as an Anglo-Boer War hero. Where was the neutrality, or was it all a guise to enhance his grand entrance into a lifetime of politics?

The battle of Spioenkop, that tragedy of errors, was arguably one of the battles that engaged the most prominent future role players – Churchill, Gen. Louis Botha and Mohandas Gandhi. A great number of lives were lost and not an inch of ground gained on either side.

All in all, Churchill’s stay in Africa is well illustrated, with some photographs and quotations relating to his epic journey. An encounter with remarkable people of that critical time in our history, fraught with the perils of a raging war, is conveyed to the reader in a simple, neutral, engaging text.

Author: Chris Schoeman
Reviewer: Bossie Schabort
Publisher: Random House Struik; Price: R250

Into the River of LifeInto The River Of Life

Ian Player is a remarkable man who has led an extraordinary life. He is well known for his role in pioneering the great Dusi Canoe Marathon, having been the first to see its potential and to go the distance even after he was bitten by a snake. He is also famous for his part in saving the rhino from extinction at the hands of mindless white hunters, and the craziness of an administration set on mass wildlife killing as a way of getting at the tsetse fly.

There should be a monument to him for the way he, a simple ranger, stood up first to the white classes who saw nature reserves as obstacles to human progress, and, later, black communities that saw these as colonial impairment of their traditional land and hunting rights.

But the greatest achievement of this book is to give insight into the soul of a man, who found in nature a meaning that transcends the ordinariness of our lives. His story is engagingly told by a seasoned journalist (who happens to be an old colleague and friend).

Author: Graham Linscott
Reviewer: Leon Marshall
Publisher: Jonathan Ball; Price: R220

Bundu Food

Bundu Food

I had to smile when I first looked at this book because there were the all too familiar kitchen lists and the detailed menus for the family safari. My own outdated lists go back 40 years and I keep on meaning to update them. Now Bundu Food has solved that problem.

It is clear that the author has packed for many a safari – the lists are comprehensive, in alphabetical order, and very practical. It’s not your usual potjiekos recipe book, but about more sophisticated bush cuisine without being pretentious.

Dishes are easy to prepare, with a good many different and interesting. The small format of this little gem makes it easy to take on any trip into the bush and should be a standard companion alongside the tree, spoor and bird books.

Author: Rita van Dyk
Reviewer: Alma Loubser
Publisher: Struik Lifestyle; Price: R180

Wild Weekends

Wild Weekends
Sunday Times adventure travel writer Claire Keeton, and photographer Marianne Schwankhart have worked together to make sure you never have to spend another weekend at home wishing you were doing something exciting.

They’ve collected 30 great weekend destinations and given you the lowdown on the adventure activities you can do at each. Decide where you want to go, what you want to do and they’ll tell you about the best weekend destinations.

Authors: Claire Keeton and Marianne Schwankhart
Publisher: Pan Macmillan; Price: R220

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