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Africa to Me: Person to Person af emily hahn
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Africa to Me: Person to Person (udgave 1965)

af emily hahn

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingSamtaler
512,428,101 (3)Ingen
Medlem:JoeCottonwood
Titel:Africa to Me: Person to Person
Forfattere:emily hahn
Info:Secker & Warburg (1965), Hardcover
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:***
Nøgleord:Ingen

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Africa to Me: Person to Person af Emily Hahn

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Published in 1964, most of the book is about Africa in transition from colonial to independent status. The subtitle, “Person to Person,” is apt. The “to Me” of the title is fair warning that this will not be a detached, scholarly study. Emily Hahn travels with an amused eye and an open mind, meeting government officials of the clueless-old and naive-new regimes. As always, she has a wonderful sense for detail and an ear for the revelatory anecdote. For example:

Somebody introduced me to an enchantingly pretty young African woman in a shapely evening dress, her hair pulled to a little bun at the top of her head. …When she spoke longingly of her home town on the slopes of Kilimanjaro, so cool, so beautiful, so thoroughly unlike Dar-es-Salaam, she added, like any English lady from the country, 'And we have many wild animals, you know. We have giraffes. Oh, I do love giraffes!'
'She never!' said an Englishman later, when I reported this conversation. 'No African woman ever said that! Well, if you assure me, but… Did she say whether she loved them raw or cooked?'


I’m a fan of Emily Hahn. She cannot write a dull sentence. Still, the subject matter of the book is dated. Since so many of her interactions are with government workers, diplomats, and officials, you get something of a top-down view. Unless you’re a student of the post-colonial transition in Africa, you’ll want to skip large sections of writing.

The best — and indeed timeless — chapter is the first. In it, Emily Hahn deciphers an African mystery relating to a particular early explorer named Alexandrine Tinne. Ms. Hahn and Ms. Tinne have something in common: they each audaciously set out to explore the deepest, most unknown parts of Africa as single women, Ms. Tinne in the 1860s, Ms. Hahn in the 1930s. Ms. Tinne met an unfortunate fate — hacked to death for her barrels of gold, so it was said. The hacking was quite believable, but the barrels of gold never made sense. She would not have possessed such gold, nor would she have traveled with it. Twenty years of inquiries, and a few remarkable twists of fate, finally reveal the truth of Alexandrine Tinne. It’s a great chapter.

The final chapter is a good one, too. It involves an anecdote that begins in 1932 and ends 25 pages later with a punch line in 1962, the last sentence in the book. Along the way, like all her stories, we get a sense of Africa as it was and as it was becoming. ( )
  JoeCottonwood | Mar 30, 2013 |
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