Saturday, November 1, 2008

Horn of the Hunter: The Story of an African Safari by Robert C. Ruark

I've had this book on my holiday, get-me-something-of-worth-instead-of-crap list for a while and nobody would get it for me. What a shame. I finally just broke down and bought it myself. I am glad I did.

Robert Ruark is an excellent writer. While the book is colored with phrases and language structure reminiscent of the beat poet culture after it was mainstreamed, the book is a still a fantastic account of a safari in an Africa that, I am told anyway, no longer exists. What's better, the account of the hunt and the living during the safari appear to be totally honest and allow the reader inside the experience. I hardily recommend this book to anyone interested the subjects covered. Ruark's account of his professional hunter, Harry Selby, is a well thought out portrayal of a man with many facets and personality traits that run well beyond his ability to bust brush and track game. Like I said, well written and developed.

  • Readability - 4 of 5 - So, this is a tricky one. Ruark's accounts of tracking, shooting, etc. are fantastically well done. Where I struggled a bit was in the dialog and the innuendo of the things unsaid. As I said above, I think this a period specific thing and does not detract from the book if you can lend it a couple of minutes of thought..

  • Subject Matter - 5 of 5 - I'd expound on this but if you just look at my profile / other blogs this will get really clear. I am all about this.

  • Editing - 5 of 5 - Fantastic. I knocked this book down in 4 days and found not a single error, split thought, or awkward transition. Really well done.

  • Did I like the Story - 5 of 5 - A non-fiction tale with well developed characters in an open-topped land rover, trekking around Africa for Buff and Elephant and Eland and Kudu and.... Well, you just get the idea. Yes. Fantastic story. Must read if you like this sort of thing.

Worth the money, worth the time. Really good read.

(Note: Next month I will cover those books that I have not been able to finish this year and did not like. I know I said this month but I figure why wait on something as good as this. Those others will still be unread in 30'ish days... )

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