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Sunday, 18 October 2009

Arthur Ransome and Safari exploits

I have finally ploughed my way through to the end of The Last Englishman: The Double Life of Arthur Ransome by Roland Chambers. I did find it interesting - even though I haven't read Swallows and Amazons. A large part of the book is Ransome's exploits in Bolshevik Russia which I found excessively confusing. He eventually married - as his second wife - Trotsky's former secretary. He also worked - officially and unofficially - for the British Secret Service. The big question is did he also work for Russia? The book leaves the reader to make up their own mind. There was very little about his successful later years following the publication of Swallows and Amazons and its successors. It was an interesting book - though heavy going at times.

I've also just finished Don't Look Behind You: True Tales of a Safari Guide by Peter Allison. The author's love of Africa shines throughout this book as well as his love of the animals. There are some hair raising incidents with the author getting on the wrong side of elephants lions and tigers but there are also some sad incidents where the author and his colleagues cannot intervene when animals are in danger. The book is almost as good as going on safari.

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