Straight on Till Morning: A Biography of Beryl Markham

4
Year of the Publication
Available Languages
Series
Number of Pages
408
Original Title of the Book
Straight on Till Morning: A Biography of Beryl Markham
Publication Date
Published September 1st 1987 by St Martins Pr (first published 1983

Public Commentary

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When re-released in 1983, Beryl Markham ’ s West With The Night ( 1942) became an immediate success, perhaps more so than when it was originally released in the long shadow of World War II.

Lovell ’ s reatment of Markham, written almost exclusively at the nd of Markham ’ s life, does not disappoint.

Markham ’ s grandson, Charles, was a hard working adventurer bent on achieving financial stability through land development and horseracing in Britain ’ s African colonies.

Lovell shows why Markham ’ s life was like a shooting star.

When West With The Night came out it was universally acclaimed for its writing and for the life Markham described.

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Soon he was alarge landowner employing over 1000 Africans.Beryl grew up surrounded by natives; she participatedin their customs, learned their language, practiced their survival techniques, and playedtheir games.

Friends remarked shestill walked in this manner sixty years later, " asthough she had wings on her fingers. " urprisingly, she was compelled to participate in hunts.

Hunting was primarily amale activity, and had she been African she wouldnot have been forced to participate.This was still wild Africa.

Whilebarely twelve years old, she and a friend killed adeadly black mamba snake with some sticks, andthen proceeded to parade around holding thesnake aloft on the top of their primitive weapons.Beryl 's mother soon returned to England ( Berylnever forgave her- in her autobiography shenever once mentions her.) Beryl had an extraordinary affinity for horses.She was the first ma ever to be granted atrainer 's license in Kenya.

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She was abandoned by her mother at an early age& essentially abandoned by her mothe when she was just 16 yet her fearlessness, independence, survival instincts& resilience were instrumental in many of her successes.

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I kne the thrilling way that Markham told us of her life and adventures, even knowing what she was telling us was not exactly factual, but more written in the best storytelling tradition.

Her authorship has been called into question over the years- some believe it was her 3rd husband that wrote the nove.

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The is absolutely a fair-minded piece of work by an author who travelled extensively and took the trouble to meet oman she intended to write about.

Beryl Markham was truly a complicated oman, and s always ( maybe not ever) a pleasant one.

I 'm sur I did; Ms Lovell has a gift for presenting the entire subject, warts and all, to the reader without telling you what conclusion you should be coming to ... that 's for you to decide.Beryl Markham was allowed an unthinkable degree of independence at an early age.

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Here there are plenty of anecdotes about her days as a horse trainer, and her close friendships with Karen and Bror Blixen, Denys Finch Hatton and Tom Black.Perhaps most interestingly, Lovell points out discrepancies in several places between Markham 's account in West with the Night and what really happened.

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© Nicole Waggonner