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The Lost World of the Kalahari Paperback – November 3, 1977


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Product Details

  • Series: Harvest/HBJ Book
  • Paperback: 279 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt Brace & Company/A Harvest Book (November 3, 1977)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156537060
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156537063
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #278,247 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“No one can write more feelingly of Africa. An experience not to be missed.” 
— Elspeth Huxley

"An outstanding book -- I rank Laurens van der Post with the best writers of English-this book confirms my constant admiration and the nobility of his mind."
— Raymond Mortimer, Sunday Times

"I hope all those who are appalled by the destruction of Hiroshima will read this book-for a greater understanding of what man is capable of doing to his fellows in time of war."
— Daily Telegraph

"No one can write more feelingly of Africa -- an experience not to be missed." 
— Evening Standard
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Inside Flap

The distinguished explorer and writer recounts his rediscovery of the Bushmen, outcast survivors from Stone Age Africa. Faced with constant attack from all the peoples who followed them, the last of the Bushmen have retreated to the scorching depths of the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa. After a gruelling trek, van der Post finds the Bushmen, thriving in one of the world?s most inhospitable landscapes, with their physical peculiarities, their cave art and their joyful music-making intact. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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See all 18 customer reviews
I enjoyed this book immensely.
A. Bourne
An older friend of mine met Laurens Van der Post in Australia and described him as "a wonderful man."
George R. Beinhorn
I stayed up until three AM reading this book.
Robert Kall

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 29, 1999
Format: Paperback
This was a wonderful book. Although, at times the author brought down the pensive, spiritual level with his complaints regarding the practical complications of his expedition, overall, this book is extremely moving. The only way you could get a better idea of life in the Kalahari is by going there yourself; he describes, in beautiful, vivid language, the plant and animal life of the desert, the variety of cultures, and the consequences of the European settlement. The book unravels like a mystery, with the mysterious Bushman always lingering just out of reach, a figure between reality and legend.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By George R. Beinhorn on October 6, 2004
Format: Paperback
An older friend of mine met Laurens Van der Post in Australia and described him as "a wonderful man." A large part of the joy of reading "Kalahari," his best-known book, comes from the experience of his transparent honesty and honest heart. His writing style is as wonderful as the man was--unpretentious, without "side," and ever positive and life-affirming. Van der Post did a fine service in revealing how trivial and unconnected our modern traits of cynicism and meaninglessness appear before the Bushmen's selfless creed. This is one of the great books of pilgrimage.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A. Bourne on September 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed this book immensely. It really stirred and awakened my imagination. At the time, I was planning a trip to Southern Africa, and after reading his book, the Kalahari desert became a must see for me. As well as the Victoria Falls Hotel in Zimbabwe which Laurens Van Der Post mentions in his book, as the place where he joined the other explorers before and after his trips. Great historical book. Excellent vivid and vibrant descriptions of the desert and the bushman. I also recommend "The Cry of the Kalahari" by Mark and Delia Owens.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Robert Kall VINE VOICE on August 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
I stayed up until three AM reading this book. It's both gripping, informative and inspiring. Van Der Post starts out telling us about the wild Bushman, untamed or corrupted by civilization, almost extinct in his time, certainly gone by now. Then he regales us with a wonderful story about his expedition into the deepest dessert areas of the Kalahari to find the last living indigenous Bushmen. There is magic in this book, in the panoramic, images he paints of nature scenes and spiritual moments of insight and mystic wonder. Part of the goal of the expedition was to create a documentary for BBC. I'd love to find a copy of that to view. The mixture of the gritty reality of mounting and carrying out a real safari expedition, blended with the wonder and surprise the author shares makes this a very special book. We have so much to learn from history's lost indigenous cultures. Books like these help remind us of the different, incredible ways one can be human. If you like this, you will most certainly also like Original Wisdom, by Robert Wolff.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By G. B. Talovich on October 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
van der Post has put his soul into the making of every sentence of this beautiful book. His words are polished to the un-self-conscious ornateness of patterns of rock burnished by wind.
Even if Spode were half as odious as the author portrays him, he would be a real pain to deal with. What van der Post does not seem to realize, though, is the necessity of this counterpoise; if he had not existed, it would have been necessary to invent him. Spode's sourness sweetens van der Post's aim.
The book overpowers as a sunrise does. You may shut your eyes or turn away, but there are rich beauties to savor. My only regret is the lack of photographs.
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41 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Steve on January 7, 2002
Format: Paperback
Anyone who is thinking about reading this book should
know that VDP was a major BS artist. Very good at it too,
was a friend of royalty and also Jung. If you can find it,
read J.D.F. Jones "Storyteller: The Lives of Laurens Van
Der Post". VDP was constantly reinventing himself. Many
of his stories about everything from his war record to
his Bushman connections were exaggerated or just plain
invented. People loved to hear this stuff about the great
white hunter, the ancient heart of Africa, blah blah blah.
To his credit, he did oppose apartheid.
If you want an readable book on the Bushmen, try Elizabeth
Marshall Thomas' "The Harmless People". At least she actually
knew them!
BTW The film is called "The Lost World of the Kalahari",
BBC 1958. Don't know if you can get it on video. A better bet
would be "Kalahari Desert People", by John Marshall.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By David Miller on June 26, 2007
Format: Paperback
Laurens van der Post is frequently and correctly cited for his effusive language and exaggerations, but this account of the Bushmen and their environs is fairly close to the truth and makes great reading. I ordered this copy to replace the one I lent to my professor of African Studies at the Air Force War College (which he kept). He thought it was one of the best expositions of the life and circumstances of the bushmen and based on my limited knowledge from classwork on the subject it seems to be on target.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 13, 2012
Format: Paperback
I stumbled upon this book in a used books sale, and not knowing anything about the author, was quite interested to read about the bushmen.
But there are several reasons I did not like the book. First of all, author's constant romanticising of the bushmen put me off. According to the book, a bushman could do no wrong, and if he did, it would only be because of the impact of the white man on his spirit. You would think he is an incarnation of God. Then there is the constant whining about the photographer who would not co-operate. Even if all of what the author said were true, I think it is, what Hook would have called "bad form" to so oversell your version of a story.

Some people liked his writing,but the long winded sentences really did not charm me. His constantly referring to Africa as "my native county", "my country" and so on and so forth quite got on my nerves. Ok, I get it-Africa is your native country, and you love it. This over emphasis didn't help the book any.

Inspite of all this, I kept reading for I was hoping for a good account of the bushmen life. But then the "spirits" cause his camera to get jammed three times, and then he apologises to them-get this-in a letter, which he buries in a bottle at the foot of a hill. From this point on, it became really hard for me to take this book seriously.

I don't know how much of what is written is true. But this book does not work for me as non-fiction; it does not work for me as fiction.
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