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The Man-Eaters of Tsavo Paperback – September 4, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Lieutenant-Colonel John Henry Patterson, DSO (10 November 1867 – 18 June 1947), known as J.H. Patterson, was a British soldier, hunter, author and Zionist, best known for his book The Man-Eaters of Tsavo (1907), which details his experiences while building a railway bridge over the Tsavo river in Kenya in 1898–99. In the 1996 Paramount Picturesfilm The Ghost and the Darkness, he was portrayed by actor Val Kilmer. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (September 4, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1461036275
  • ISBN-13: 978-1461036272
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.3 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (205 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,227,374 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 51 people found the following review helpful By M. Dog on February 11, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is a fascinating book. The writer, Col. J.H. Patterson, was an engineer sent to Africa to work on the "Lunatic Express", a stretch of rail that spanned Africa. Several obstacles confronted him, not the last of which was a pair of mane-less lions that went on a man-eating spree that lightened the coolie labor force by about 30 workers and an unrecorded number of African workers. Several things become apparent as one reads this work: first, the unbelievable hubris of the British Empire, personified in the person of Patterson. By the end of the book, I was won over by this clearly Victorian man, who without any specific training simply sorted out whatever problem came his way, including the hunting and killing of the two lions. This feat in itself required a staggering amount of courage and determination. This book is a glimpse into the soul, both good and bad, of the Empire on which the sun never set: Patterson was incredibly brave, smart, maybe even noble - and never once saw a native African as anything other than faithful or amusing.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Tim Stoffel on May 11, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have been fascinated with lions for years, so when the movie 'The Ghost and the Darkness' came out, I had to see it. I had heard brief accounts of this story before, and found the movie most fascinating. However, the book told an even more interesting tale than the movie. In my opinion, if the account in the book had been faithfully followed in the film, it would have been even more exciting! Besides the Tsavo man-eaters story, ther are other hair-raising stories about man-eating lions in the book. This book is basically a reprint of the 1097 edition with an excellent preface added. The preface goes into depth about the life of Colonel J.H. Patterson-- a most remarkable man. He went on to other notable adventures in his life after this incident.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Capt. Lou Costello on October 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book, first published in 1907, tells the story of the predations of two huge lions on the workers who were constuctuing a railway from the East coast of Africa to the then new settlement of Nairobi. These killed and devoured 130 or so people, Indian workers, native Africans and they also dined on a number of Europeans as well. The author is a true Victorian and a man of his times who writes of his ordeal very well and without the nauseating political correctness of today. The story of his hunt and the building of the railroad is a great read. It is edited by Peter Capstick, a man who was arguably one of the last of the Great White Hunters.

Much to the author's credit he does not belittle or demean the Indians or Africans in any way. He had a camera and took many remarkable photos and eventually became a naturalist of some repute. This book was also the inspiration for the movie Ghost and the Darkness which I thought was also quite good. The two lions he killed are in a museum in Chicago. For the Africa scholar who wants a bit of a different insight into Africa this is a fine addition to one's library.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Gary Johnson on September 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Man-Eaters of Tsavo by J. H. Patterson is available in several editions. It's sort of confusing which one to buy. Here are some notes on each edition:

The Man-Eaters of Tsavo (Peter Capstick Libary Series).
Publisher: St. Martins Press, 1985. 384 pages.
When The Man-Eaters of Tsavo was originally published in 1907, it contained a wealth of photos and a map. Photos appeared on every two to three pages. These photos showed many local scenes, as well as the infamous lions. These photos are very valuable for establishing a sense of place that words alone can't do. Beware of inexpensive reprints that omit all the photos and the map. The quality of the photo reproductions is not great in the Capstick Library edition. But these are the best looking photos in any edition currently available. This edition is virtually identical to the original book. The page sequence is the same, with only the addition of some new preface pages. This is the book to buy; however, for some strange reason it's hard to find on Amazon. If you search for "tsavo", you'll find used copies of this book at horribly inflated prices. But this book is still in print. Search for "tsavo capstick" and you'll find it--along with very reasonably priced used copies (under $10).

Man Eaters Of Tsavo [Hardcover].
Publisher: St. Martins Press, 1985. 384 pages.
If you search for "tsavo" on Amazon, this is the hardcover edition of this book that you'll find. You'll likely see no trace of the Capstick edition. Well, it's the same book. Unfortunately, "Man Eaters of Tsavo [Hardcover]" is being sold like it's a collector's item, at inflated prices. Don't fall for this. Get the Capstick Library book listed above.

The Man-eaters of Tsavo.
Publisher: SMK Books, 2009. 152 pages.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Roman Nies on March 21, 2009
Format: Paperback
What a thrilling story of bravery and dedication!
You may know of the ghastly Burma road building, the bridge over the River Kwai, and all the other twentieth century civil engineering works done under appalling conditions. This tale of "The Man-Eaters of Tsavo" is the daddy of them all, written in the Victorian era over one hundred years ago. But it is still unsurpassed as an example of supreme courage, fortitude and sheer doggedness - the building of the East African railway - from Nowhere to absolutely Nowhere or the Lunatic Line so-called in Britain. It was scheduled to run Mombasa-Victoria-Uganda, in a desperate effort to stamp out slavery by separating the two halfes of the country, and as a barrier against feared German imperialism.
The British Foreign Office sent out engineers, but the labour force was mainly Indians - 35 thousand arrived, out of which remained only one thousand workers hale and hearty to the end. The two Tsavo lions alone devoured some 100 men! The fever-ridden jungle or desert heat caused an unbearably tense situation, with the Indians trying to creep up on the Officers to kill them before they themselves were killed one way or another, and Colonel Patterson trying to kill the dangerous wild beasts. In spite of what must have been terrifying disasters, 580 miles of rails, including the Tsavo Bridge section, were completed. Such the Puplisher cited had no other choice.
What for me, who has seen the Tsavo Bridge and a lot of the descendants of the Tsavo-lions, was mostly astonishing when reading the dramatic account of Patterson, who succeeded in shooting the man-eaters, was the sober-mindedness and containment the author displays when relating this all. Some kind of Victorian aloofness.
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