Thursday, April 30, 2009

Book Review: The Man-Eaters of Tsavo by J. H. Patterson

The Man-Eaters of Tsavo, by J H Patterson, is the classic, true, story of how an English engineer tracked and killed two man eating lions that had been preying upon the workers attempting to construct a railway in Kenya. Over one hundred Indian labourers were eaten by the pair of lions and having arrived to build a bridge, the author was obliged to hunt down the two man-eaters while at the same time trying to protect an increasingly mutinous workforce.

Whilst the story of dealing with the man eaters is quite an amazing one, the author does not seem to have the gift of being a storyteller, and the facts, which would have made for a riveting tale had they been relayed in style, are simply retold in a brief, descriptive fashion typical of a Victorian civil servant. In other words this reads as an administrative report rather then the ripping yarn that it should be.