West with the Night, Paperback Book
4.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


WEST WITH THE NIGHT appeared on 13 bestseller lists on first publication in 1942. It tells the spellbinding story of Beryl Markham -- aviator, racehorse trainer, fascinating beauty -and her life in the Kenya of the 1920s and 30s.Markham was taken to Kenya at the age of four. As an adult she was befriended by Denys Finch-Hatton, the big-game hunter of OUT OF AFRICA fame, who took her flying in his airplane. Thrilled by the experience, Markham went on to become the first woman in Kenya to receive a commercial pilot's license.In 1936 she determined to fly solo across the Atlantic -- without stopping. When Charles Lindbergh did the same, he had the wind behind him. Markham, by contrast, had a strong headwind against her and a plane that only flew up to 163 mph. On 4 September, she took off ... Several days later, she crash-landed in Nova Scotia and became an instant celebrity.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Biography: general
  • ISBN: 9780860685418

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Raised in British East Africa, almost as free as the native children she grew up with, or the lions they hunted with spears, Beryl Markham lived a long and eventful life. She was a pioneering aviatrix, a bush pilot, a race horse trainer, and a woman for whom living was a full time activity. This memoir, written when her life was barely half over, is fairly brief. Knowing only a few bare facts about her going in, I find what she left out almost as remarkable as what she included. Although she was married three times, and had several notable affairs, neither husbands nor lovers are mentioned as such in the book at all. The reader would never know she was married even once, or that she bore a child. Nor does her friend Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen) make an appearance, although Baron Bror Blixen features prominently in more than one chapter. There’s not a single anecdote about Ernest Hemingway, who in his own words, “knew her fairly well in Africa.” These omissions, however, detract not at all from the power and magic of this book. The prose is exquisite. Her outlook is so honest, natural and forthright that she went directly onto my fantasy dinner party list before I’d finished her first chapter. I don’t even care if some of it was exaggerated or embellished in the telling; it’s all “true” in the best sense of the word.

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