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Giles Foden

Forfatter af The Last King of Scotland

11+ Works 1,733 Members 46 Reviews

Om forfatteren

Omfatter også følgende navne: Giles Foden, Gilles Foden

Værker af Giles Foden

The Last King of Scotland (1998) 930 eksemplarer
Ladysmith (1999) 207 eksemplarer
Turbulence (2009) 204 eksemplarer
Zanzibar (2002) 110 eksemplarer
Freight Dogs (2021) 6 eksemplarer
The "Guardian" Century (1999) 4 eksemplarer
Body of Work (2011) 1 eksemplar
Tanganyika (French Edition) (2008) 1 eksemplar

Associated Works

Kong Salomons miner (1882) — Forord, nogle udgaver5,618 eksemplarer
The Last King of Scotland [2006 film] (2007) — Original book — 204 eksemplarer
Granta 85: Hidden Histories (2004) — Bidragyder — 170 eksemplarer
Granta 52: Food : The Vital Stuff (1995) — Bidragyder — 146 eksemplarer
Ox-Tales: Water (2009) — Bidragyder — 69 eksemplarer

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A predictable, Boy's Own adventure story of a teenage Congolese war orphan adopted by a group of commercial pilots in Uganda. A bet is made that he can be trained as a pilot within just a few months. Cue lots of airborne adventures with added love interest and useful plot coincidences. A good B movie in the offing but not great to be honest.
Steve38 | Feb 19, 2023 |
2.5 stars.

There was so much in this book that would have been more interesting than what Foden actually wrote about. Habbakuk (version 1 or 2)? The science of peace? The discovery of the rhesus factor and its role in miscarriages? Lev the mine-hunting sealion?

Instead, Foden chose to write about a sexually frustrated, socially awkward, white male academic, with a smattering of ill-explained meteorology. The narrative jumps around from present to past (WW2) to even further past (Meadows' childhood in colonial Africa) with the turbulence of the title, making it much more difficult to read than it needed to be.

… (mere)
a-shelf-apart | 18 andre anmeldelser | Nov 19, 2019 |
This turned up at a remainder bookstore. The author, Giles Foden, is primarily a novelist, and this reads like a novel, with both the advantages and disadvantages of that format.

To summarize the history: Lake Tanganyika bordered German East Africa (later Tanganyika, now Tanzania) on the west. During WWI, German control of the lake prevented the Allies from advancing: three German steamers (Kingani, Hedwig von Wissmann, and Graf von Götzen) allowed German troops to be resupplied and transferred from place to place, thwarting Allied attempts to cross the lake from the Belgian Congo or advance up the shore from Rhodesia. The British eventually dragged two 40-foot motorboats to a port on the Belgian side of the lake, captured the Kingani, sank the Hedwig von Wissman, and completed the conquest when the Graf von Götzen was scuttled to avoid capture. The episode was eventually novelized by C. S. Forrester as The African Queen, and turned into an excellent movie of the same name. This, in turn, spawned a book and a movie, White Hunter, Black Heart, about making the movie African Queen, thus becoming something like the third derivative of the original event.

Mimi and Toutou, although mentioning all this, is more about the characters involved than the history (I lost considerable confidence in the author’s fact checking when he described the German cruiser Königsberg as having “4.1 mm guns”). However, the characters are interesting enough. The protagonist is Lieutenant Commander Geoffrey Spicer-Simpson, who has to be one of the oddest ducks in military history. Spicer had been consigned to a desk job for singular incompetence, and was apparently assigned the Tanganyika expedition because there was anybody else available and the Admiralty thought it would fail anyway. He was something of a megalomaniac, promptly designing special uniforms for his troops, ordering everyone to carry a cutlass at all times, naming his boats Mimi and Toutou, and claiming to have been involved in all sorts of adventures, including sinking a German cruiser of the coast of Kent and being charged while hunting wild bulls in the Galapagos Islands. His subordinates on the expedition, fortunately for the British, were able enough to get Mimi and Toutou dragged by traction engine and ox team to a river in the Congo and thence to a railway that eventually lead to a Belgian lake port. (Well, not quite; they had to tear up track and rail from one end of the line and relay it at the other). Once in position, Spicer got even more eccentric; he promoted himself to Vice Admiral and took to wearing a dress. Nevertheless, Mimi and Toutou quickly captured Kingani (which Spicer promptly renamed Fifi) and sank (with their last two shells) Hedwig von Wissman. However, the discovery of the 1200-ton Graf von Götzen, previously unknown to the British, seemed to unhinge Spicer and he withdrew to his tent and eventually more-or-less abandoned the expedition to return to England. (As it happened, Graf von Götzen had been disarmed to provide field artillery to German land forces, and she was scuttled).

Despite the interesting main character, this is pretty thin material for a book. Foden has to digress a lot, speculating on the motivations of various minor characters, discussing the sinking of the cruiser Königsberg, and narrating the adventures of Katharine Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart and John Huston while filming the African Queen. He also inserts himself into his story, describing a trip on Lake Tanganyika to gather material. As it turns out, the principal ferry service on the lake is provided by the Liemba, which is no other than the Graf von Götzen, raised, re-engined with Diesels, outfitted with radar, and renamed (this has to be the only WWI warship still in service).

Slightly flawed but still amusing; I’d get it from the library rather than purchasing.
… (mere)
setnahkt | 4 andre anmeldelser | Dec 15, 2017 |
Brilliantly written, though at times a bit too much, almost all details correct
Frank_Mukasa | 15 andre anmeldelser | Nov 9, 2016 |



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