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West with the Night (1942)

by Beryl Markham

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3,5671263,514 (4.15)441
West with the Night is the story of Beryl Markham--aviator, racehorse trainer, beauty--and her life in the Kenya of the 1920s and '30s.
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English (121)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (126)
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Biography
  BooksInMirror | Feb 19, 2024 |
Older books reflect the values of the period when they were written, so yes, there is colonialism and hunting. But this memoir of Beryl Markham's life and adventures was so good. What an independent and amazing life. Highly recommend the audio version - I think the chapter with the horse race may be the best book segment I've heard. ( )
  mmcrawford | Dec 5, 2023 |
One of the several memoirs from 20th century British East Africa. I can see why Hemingway might have liked it, since he knew Ms. Markham and her friends, she was an adventurer, she was involved in big game hunting, and her writing has the same colonial class stiff upper lip essence mixed with attractive observations of bygone Africa that Hemingway was drawn to.
It is interesting to see Markham's view of Bror Fredrik von Blixen-Finecke. There is no mention of his wives (especially of his first wife, whose "Out of Africa" is a different and, for my money, more moving work), or of his womanizing and venereal diseases. ( )
  markm2315 | Oct 10, 2023 |
Reason read: TIOLI, adventure, ROOT, alpha
I mostly enjoyed this memoir or autobiography by Beryl Markham. So impressive to have been an independent woman in Africa, trainer of race horses, and a pilot. Not in the ordinary sense of pilots nowadays but in a time when flying was relatively new and Africa quite wild. She flew alone, had her own business. She delivered and she scouted elephants for game hunting. I didn't like to hear about the hunting of the elephants but she really wasn't pro killing of elephants but did not see a reason not to get paid to scout them. The book title is from her last flight recorded in the book which was an effort to fly solo across the Atlantic, west with the night. ( )
  Kristelh | Aug 24, 2023 |
Beryl Markham was an original, a woman who mastered men's pursuits in what was very much a man's world, and an amazing writer. Her memoir is a love song to Africa, the Africa of long ago and faraway. She wrote in the 1940's, when attitudes towards race and colonialism were very different: it would be a shame if discomfort with these attitudes kept readers away from an amazing book. ( )
  annbury | Aug 20, 2023 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Markham, Berylprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gellhorn, MarthaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
"I speak of Africa and golden joys." -- Shakespeare, Henry IV, Act V, Sc. 3
Dedication
For my Father
"I wish to express my gratitude to Raoul Schumacher for his constant encouragement and his assistance in the preparations for this book."
First words
"How is it possible to bring order out of memory?"
Quotations
Namen sind die Schlüssel für Türen, hinter denen Halbverschüttetes liegt, verschwommen für den Verstand, vertraut jedoch im Herzen. - S.14
Niemals zögern oder zaudern, niemals sich umdrehen und niemals glauben, dass eine Stunde, an die man sich erinnert, eine bessere Stunde ist, weil sie tot ist. Vergangene Jahre scheinen sichere Jahre zu sein, eine entschwundene, gefahrlose Zeit, während die Zukunft, wie in einer konturlosen Wolke, aus der Ferne bedrohlich wirkt. Dringt man in die Wolke ein, so klart sie auf. - S. 144
Ich lernte, was jedes träumende Kind wissen muss - dass kein Horizont zu weit ist, um bis zu ihm und über ihn hinaus vorzustoßen. - S. 198
Was immer der Mensch unternimmt, Würde erlangt sein Bemühen erst, wenn echte Arbeit dahintersteckt, und fühlt man dann das Bedürfnis, sein - im Wortsinn - Handwerk auszuüben, so begreift man, dass die anderen Dinge - all die Experimente, die Eitel- und Nichtigkeiten, denen man nachjagte - ganz einfach unsinnig waren. - S. 298
...every farmer is a midwife. There is no time for mystery. There is only time for patience and care, and hope that what is born is worthy and good. p. 121
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Wikipedia in English (3)

West with the Night is the story of Beryl Markham--aviator, racehorse trainer, beauty--and her life in the Kenya of the 1920s and '30s.

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Book description
From book cover: 'More than a biography; a poet's feeling for her land; an adventurer's response to life; a philosopher's evaluation of human beings and human destinies'.
This unusual and beautifully written memoir was first published in 1942 to huge critical acclaim. Beryl Markham was born in England in 1902 and has lived in Africa since the age of four. Her father, a horse-breeder, scholar and adventureer, chose East Africa because 'it was new and you could feel the futuer of it under your feet'. She spent her childhood playing with Murani children, hunting with the Murani cheiftan and witnessing her father's patience and labour as he transformed a stretch of wilderness into a working farm. She learnt to speak Swahili, Nandi, Masai. In adolescence she was apprenticed to her father as a trainer and breeder of racehorses, and at eighteen became the first woman in Africa to be granted a racehorse trainer's license.

IN 1931, Beryl Markham turned to flying. She carried mail, passengers and supplies to the remote corners of Kenya, the Sudan and was was then Tanganyika and Rhodesia. In September1936 she made worl headlines by becoming the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic from east to west - taking off from England and crash landing in Nova Scotia twenty-one hours and twenty-five minutes later. This evocative book is rare and remarkable testimony to an Africa that no longer exists.
Original title: West with the night
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