Cover image for White hunters : the golden age of African safaris
White hunters : the golden age of African safaris
Herne, Brian.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Henry Holt, 1999.
Physical Description:
x, 468 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm
General Note:
"A John Macrae book."
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
SK15 .H47 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Evokes the harmony that existed between hunters & big game before poaching & politics intervened. Summons adventure, danger, & romance on a grand scale.

Author Notes

Brian Herne, formerly a professional hunter, founded the international professional hunters' magazine Track, & has written for numerous magazines including Outdoor Life, Petersen's Hunting, Safari Times, & African Life. He lives in San Diego, California.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The title may need explanation: white hunters was what Kenyan colonialists termed the Nairobi guides who led plutocrats, adventurers, and film stars out on months-long shooting safaris. With such escapades now passe, former guide and Kenyan Herne looks back nostalgically on the exotic distraction's 80-year run that ended in the 1970s. His approach is mainly anecdotal, akin to Iliadic campfire stories told about the deeds and deaths of great hunters of the past. Herne delivers all one could wish to know about individual hunts, from the equipage to the stalking to the shooting to the occasional mauling by the wounded and enraged beast. By interspersing this information with excerpts from the guides' and hunters' journals (from Theodore Roosevelt's, in one case), Herne lends immediacy to the trekking and shooting. Clearly a specialty work that some may brand, on grounds outside the book's content, as environmentally incorrect, general readers may yet find it useful as source material for the real figures behind the stock film character of the bush-wise professional hunter. --Gilbert Taylor

Publisher's Weekly Review

A second-generation Kenyan who has professionally hunted big game for more than 30 years and is an honorary Uganda National Park warden, Herne did exhaustive archival research and conducted countless interviews to produce this encyclopedia of gore and glamour. From roughly 1890 to 1970, American and European aristocrats, movie stars and business tycoons converged on East Africa, hiring professional white hunters to lead them on lengthy, luxurious shooting expeditions. Theodore Roosevelt's 1909 safari lasted for months and employed 500 porters. The early generation of white hunters set the pace for a hard-drinking, bed-hopping lifestyle. Later, Bror Blixen, Isak Dinesen and Denys Finch-Hatton carried on just as flamboyantly as their screen counterparts in Out of Africa. In turn-of-the-century Nairobi, inebriated ladies rode their ponies up steps into bars. But the dangers were real, and Herne details various narrow escapes and deaths by mauling. Typically colorful is the story about the filming of King Solomon's Mines, during which a bull elephant rushed the cameras and was stopped by a bullet. The relieved crew and actors posed for pictures on the animal, which disappeared later that day, never to be found again. Heavier on anecdotes than on overview, Herne's book skips discreetly over all the cultural and political ironies of Europeans coming to Africa to shoot at its natural resources. It will, however, reward armchair hunters with a rich portrait of a magnificent landscape, its animal inhabitants and some of its most reckless human interlopers. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

The golden age of safaris spanned 80 years and drew an aristocratic, adventurous elite from the New and Old World to Africa at the end of the last century, seeking meat, tusks, and skins. This book, published last June, is billed as the first to tell their complete story. Along for the ride is reader Robert Whitfield. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

1. The First White Huntersp. 3
2. Nairobi, Wild West Townp. 15
3. Hunter on the Lunatic Expressp. 26
4. Flash Jack and the Kingp. 32
5. Yankees on Safarip. 38
6. The Hunter's Hunterp. 50
7. Funga Safari!p. 60
8. The Element of Stylep. 71
9. A White Hunter Called Blackp. 78
10. The Short Mysterious Life of Fritz Schindelarp. 87
11. War Clouds on the Equatorp. 94
12. Frontiersman in Africap. 104
13. The Honorable Bedarp. 109
14. Baron of the Bundup. 115
15. The Royal Safarisp. 131
16. Trailblazers of the Twentiesp. 140
17. Syd Downey and the Masai Marap. 149
18. Wardens, Lions, and Snakesp. 158
19. A Wartime Alliancep. 166
20. Safarilandp. 174
21. On Safari Againp. 180
22. Heroes of the Silver Screenp. 187
23. Lunan's White Huntersp. 194
24. The Tanganyika Huntersp. 201
25. The Moth and the Flamep. 211
26. Clary's World Recordp. 220
27. The Enemy Withinp. 225
28. The Hassans of Mombasap. 233
29. African Odysseyp. 242
30. The Message of Mau Maup. 248
31. Hearts of Darknessp. 259
32. The Bamboo Badlandsp. 265
33. Out of the Forest, Into the Bushp. 273
34. The Maharajah of Mayhemp. 280
35. A Tale of Two Huntersp. 292
36. The Wanderings of an Officer and a Gentlemanp. 300
37. King of the Catchersp. 310
38. Deadly Lion Huntp. 315
39. Knife Fight with a Leopardp. 325
40. The Big Sixp. 333
41. A Date with Destinyp. 336
42. The Prince of Prankstersp. 345
43. Keeper of the Flamep. 350
44. Pelizzoli's Promised Landp. 359
45. Uganda, Pearl of Africap. 366
46. Company of Adventurersp. 375
47. Have Gun Will Travelp. 383
48. The Emperor and the Princep. 389
49. Onward Passagesp. 396
Epilogue: A Race Against Timep. 409
Source Notesp. 417
Bibliographyp. 431
Acknowledgmentsp. 441
Photographic Creditsp. 449
Indexp. 451