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West with the Night
by Beryl Markham | Biographies & Memoirs
Registered by Vasha of Ithaca, New York USA on 5/26/2009
This book has not been rated. 

status (set by Vasha): permanent collection

1 journaler for this copy...

Journal Entry 1 by Vasha from Ithaca, New York USA on Tuesday, May 26, 2009

This book has not been rated.

West with the Night is an exceptional autobiography filled with a strong spirit, fascinating events, and beautiful words. Beryl Markham was raised by her father on a large farm in British East Africa in the early twentieth century; as a child she preferred spear hunting with the native Muranis to her school lessons. At seventeen, when her father lost their farm and went to Peru, she chose to stay in Africa and began a highly successful career as a race horse trainer. In her twenties she gave up horses and started flying airplanes, becoming the first woman in East Africa to be granted a commercial pilot's license, then the first woman to fly the Atlantic from east to west. Lyrically and philosophically, West With the Night covers each of these parts of her life. Beryl Markham writes hunting stories filled with danger and tension, then turns and discusses the different qualities of silence or what it is like to fly alone over water for forty hours: "Being alone in an aeroplane for even so short a time as a night and a day, irrevocably alone, with nothing to observe but your instruments and your own hands in the semi-darkness, nothing to contemplate but your own small courage....such an experience can be as startling as the first awareness of a stranger walking by your side at night. You are the stranger. " This is the story of an extraordinary woman — and that alone might be enough to recommend it. The fact that it is also extraordinarily well-written makes it a gift. — From 500 Great Books by Women; review by Erica Bauermeister 

Journal Entry 2 by Vasha at Ithaca, New York USA on Tuesday, May 01, 2012

This book has not been rated.

Read. A bit different from most autobiographies on my shelf by being not introspective. Markham writes about flying, horses, hunting... What it is like to be active, in very vivid terms, but the non-active aspects of her life just aren't there, the personal relationships, etc. Her father, while obviously loved, is only described in context of business or horsemanship, for example. 

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