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The Man-eaters of Tsavo Paperback – April 26, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 120 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (April 26, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 146107830X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1461078302
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (126 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #498,749 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In 1898 John H. Patterson arrived in East Africa with a mission to build a railway bridge over the Tsavo River. What started out as a simple engineering problem, however, soon took on almost mythical proportions as Patterson and his mostly Indian workforce were systematically hunted by two man-eating lions over the course of several weeks. During that time, 100 workers were killed, and the entire bridge-building project ground to a halt. As if the lions weren't enough, Patterson had to guard his back against his own increasingly hostile and mutinous workers as he set out to track and kill the man-eaters. This larger-than-life tale forms the basis of the entertaining film The Ghost and the Darkness, but for readers who want to know the whole--and true--story, The Man-Eaters of Tsavo comes straight from the great white-hunter's mouth.

Patterson's account of the lions' reign of terror and his own subsequent attempts to kill them is the stuff of great adventure, and his unmistakably Victorian manner of telling it only adds to the thrill. Consider this description of the aftermath of an attack by the lions: "...we at once set out to follow the brutes, Mr. Dalgairns feeling confident that he had wounded one of them, as there was a trail on the sand like that of the toes of a broken limb.... we saw in the gloom what we at first took to be a lion cub; closer inspection, however, showed it to be the remains of the unfortunate coolie, which the man-eaters had evidently abandoned at our approach. The legs, one arm and half the body had been eaten, and it was the stiff fingers of the other arm trailing along the sand which had left the marks we had taken to be the trail of a wounded lion...." This classic tale of death, courage, and terror in the African bush is still a page-turner, even after all these years. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

First published in 1907, this title depicts the author's adventures in Africa. One incident, involving two man-eating lions that were preying on railroad workers, is the basis for the current feature film The Ghost and the Darkness. Fans of true adventure will be interested in this.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

One of the best books I have read and will remain a lifelong favorite.
The Analyst
The movie 'The Ghost and the Darkness' prompted me to read this book...it is much, much better than the movie.
SB
Besides the Tsavo man-eaters story, ther are other hair-raising stories about man-eating lions in the book.
Tim Stoffel

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 50 people found the following review helpful By M. Dog VINE VOICE 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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31 of 32 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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33 of 35 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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17 of 17 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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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By John Noodles on May 3, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
You don't have to be a hunter to enjoy this book--I'm not, and I loved it. Contrary to the title's suggestion, this book is not merely about the Lions of Tsavo. In fact, both lions are dispatched fairly early in the book. Nevertheless, Patterson's account of their carnage, and efforts to kill them, are detailed and exciting, and probably unlike anything that will ever be written again.
This book is also gives a micro-social look at British imperialism in Africa around the turn of the century...an interesting slice of Africana, especially through our arguably hypersensitive, politically-correct modern eyes.
Generally, an easy read, filled with local color, hunting, and excitement.
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