Thursday, April 30, 2009

Book Review: The Man eaters of Tsavo by J. M. Patterson

The Man Eaters of Tsavo 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.

Whilst the story of 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 rivetting tale had they been relayed in style, are simply retold in a brief, descriptive fashion.

Indeed, so briefly is the story told that in fact the tale of the man eaters is over before the reader has got halfway through the book. The remainder of this book goes on to recount hunting anecdotes from the author's stay in Africa and simply retells how large numbers of animals were shot. Even taking into consideration the different attitudes of the times, this bloodlust becomes rather hard to take and, quite frankly, rather boring reading.

Unfortunately, although the potential for this to be an exciting tale is high, the delivery of the story is poor and the follow up is quite dull. However, the first part of the book is worth reading for the details of the audacious predators raiding well-protected camps on a nightly basis.

I would only recommend this to those who have an interest in Africa or colonialism.

Score: 6/10