A View From A Tall Hill by Terry Wieland

A View From A Tall Hill

Author’s Note:

In the half-century between 1910 and 1960, three American writers inspired American hunters to go to Africa on safari. These were Theodore Roosevelt, Ernest Hemingway, and Robert Ruark.

Of the three, after the second world war, Ruark had the greatest direct influence. As Hemingway’s career wound down, Ruark – “the poor man’s Hemingway” – was just taking off. Although his career as a syndicated newspaper columnist is largely forgotten today, his “sideline” career as a hunting writer and columnist for Field & Stream is still remembered and cherished, his writing is still brilliant, and he still has the power to inspire anyone to lean back, close their eyes, and dream of Africa.

Roosevelt made one safari; Hemingway made two. Ruark, at his peak, made two or three safaris a year; at times, he practically lived in Africa. He hunted in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique; he made Harry Selby famous, and he brought the Mau Mau to the eyes of the world through two great novels (Something of Value and Uhuru). He wrote two non-fiction classics on African hunting (Horn of the Hunter and Use Enough Gun), and his “Old Man and the Boy” columns from Field & Stream were collected into two anthologies that will live as long as men hunt and read.

From Ruark’s first safari in 1951 until his death in 1965, Africa defined him as a man as well as a writer. He not only hunted and wrote about it as well as anyone ever has, he also covered the tumultuous era of the “winds of change,” witnessing the atrocities in the Congo and the debacle of de-colonialization across East Africa. He was enraged, appalled, deeply hurt, and finally heart-broken when he left Africa for the last time, knowing he would never return.

In this book, I have tried to write, not a pure biography, but a book about Ruark, and Africa, and their effect on each other. Reading Ruark today, his love of the country, the animals, and the people he met is as palpable as it was in the print-fresh pages of Field & Stream 50 years ago.

Terry Wieland

Contents

Author’s Preface

Acknowledgements

Introduction

  1. Life Among the Giants
  2. The University of North Carolina
  3. Learning the Ropes
  4. Gone to Sea
  5. The Trials of Babylon
  6. The Hard True Life
    • Safari: Horn of the Hunter
  7. Kenya in Black and White
  8. Robert Ruark Among the Mau Mau
    • Mau Mau: Something of Value
  9. Home No More
  10. Miles and Miles of Bloody Africa
  11. Ruark & Hemingway
  12. Exploration and Farewell
    • Winds of Change: Uhuru
  13. Bwana Bob
    • Other Days: The Old Man and the Boy & The Old Man’s Boy Grows Older
  14. The Lion at Twilight
    • Self Portrait: The Honey Badger
  15. Ruark & Selby
  16. A Tusk and a Book

Epilogue: A View From A Tall Hill

Bibliography

Index

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