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Something of Value Hardcover – July 16, 2009


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Something of Value + Uhuru + Horn of the Hunter: The Story of an African Safari
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 566 pages
  • Publisher: Safari Press (July 16, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1571572805
  • ISBN-13: 978-1571572806
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.5 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #446,637 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

What it actually is, is a historical fiction account of it.
Cwn_Annwn
Finally, despite the cruelty, blood, and horror in the book, he examines the nobility of human beings and what it means to us.
vinegarhill3
I read the book the second time when I was an adult in my 30's.
mlp

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

75 of 77 people found the following review helpful By vinegarhill3 on April 28, 2004
Format: Library Binding
I first read this book as a teen ager in the 1960's, and I've probably read it eight or nine times since then. This book introduced me to Robert Ruark and started my life-long appreciation of his works. Something of Value examines clash of civilization between the British settlers and the Kikuyu natives in Kenya after WWII during what became the Mau Mau Rebellion. It examines the causes and consequences of the conflict and how it affected both sides. As I became older, I began to understand the motivations of the characters and their actions. With each rereading, the book changed. It was not only a safari adventure story, but it was also a snapshot of history, a study of human psychology, and a search for recognition and justice. I know I'm paraphrasing, but the opening Bantu proverb, "If you do away with the traditions of the past, then you must first replace them with Something of Value" definitely and perfectly describes the book. When Ruark wrote about the conflict, he examined how people on both sides were torn from what they knew and had cherished in the past and were thrown unprepared into the future. He examines foreign and unfamiliar ideology, how it affects us, and what its consequences are. Finally, despite the cruelty, blood, and horror in the book, he examines the nobility of human beings and what it means to us. This book has changed the way I view the world because I now can appreciate both the view of the fox and the hound. If great writing enables us to finds new and deeper meaning with each rereading, then "Something of Value" is great literature.
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83 of 88 people found the following review helpful By Paul Kurtz on June 20, 1998
Format: Library Binding
I spent three of the most impressionable years of my live in Kenya in the early '70's as a State Department dependant. Even then, the Mau Mau uprising had a strong influence on day to day life in Kenya. Gun control laws were among the most strict in the world and for good reason. During my three years in Kenya I heard many stories from people who lived through the emergency. Most of these stories made Stephen King novels sound like childrens' tales. I could not count the times I've read both Uhuru and Something Of Value and each time they have taken me back in time to the Norfolk or New Stanley hotel. Everything about the book, from the safaris, to the uprising, are totally authentic. While this is not a "feel good" book, anyone who has a interest in East African history, or just wants to read on of the great books of this century MUST read this book. Even though this is a book of fiction, it should be required reading for anyone studying the history of Kenya. Make no mistake, most of the things written about in this book, no matter how disturbing, actually happened.
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52 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Ein Kunde on September 5, 2001
Format: Library Binding
When it was first published in 1955 "Something of Value" was a novel right out of the headlines, set in contemporary Kenya during the time of the Mau Mau rebellion which were the last years of British colonial rule. Now it has aged into an historical novel. The largest part of the novel concerns two men, once childhood friends: Kimani, a Kenyan Kikuyu, and Peter, a British settler. They grow up together on a farm in the "white highlands", Kimani is the son of a farmhand, Peter the son of the owner. They imagine themselves working together as adults, as gunbearer and white hunter, guiding tourists on hunting safaris. Instead they become adversaries during the Mau Mau. Ruark tells a good story though the book is a bit long in places. Throughout the novel, the depictions of both African and British characters is remarkably balanced and fair. Ruark is one of the few white writers of the 1950s to provide a sympathetic and (apparently) informed view of African (particularly Kikuyu) culture. It is the clash of Kikuyu and British cultures, as British law is applied to traditional Kikuyu custom that is the impetus for Kimani to join the rebellion. It would be interesting to know if all of the novel's details of the Mau Mau oaths are accurate. The female characters are a bit one dimensional; this is a book about hunting, warfare, and the world as seen by men. Overall, a very good book, especially for anyone interested in Kenya and the end of colonialism. ("Something of Value" was made into a movie starring Rock Hudson and Sidney Poitier.)
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By mlp on November 19, 1997
Format: Library Binding
This book has something "magical" about it. It's an obscure book today, but it holds a special place in my heart and mind, and has so for nearly my entire life. I first read it in the late 1950's, when I was a young teenager. The adventure and graphic violence was probably shocking to me then, but the book inspired me to make reading about Africa and it's history a serious hobby back then.
I read the book the second time when I was an adult in my 30's. I found a tattered paperback edition in a used book store. It was just as exciting to me then as it was many years before. By then I had two daughters, and I told them of my "favorite book."
Last Christmas, my youngest daughter, who was then 19, gave me an ORIGINAL edition, which still had the paper jacket. When I opened the gift, tears welled up in my eyes. WHAT IS IT ABOUT THIS BOOK?

Ruark's style was wonderful, and his way of developing a story was terrific. Read this book.
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