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Publisher's Summary

A little over 100 years ago, East Africa was terra incognita to most whites: a land largely unmapped, sparsely settled by Europeans, and teeming with wildlife. It was the hunter-adventurer's paradise, and by the early 20th century, a small, lionhearted clan of explorers and big-game hunters began leading safaris there for money. They became the legendary White Hunters of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, men who led manifold adventurers in pursuit of the world's biggest, most dangerous, and most sought-after game.

White Hunters is a nostalgic and densely-packed history of these men and their adventures, from the turn of the century until the 1970s when politics, a growing population, civil strife, and concern about species destruction intervened. Brian Herne has written a virtual and anecdotal Who's Who of White Hunters, crammed with the details of hundreds of hunts and the dozens of men who led them.

©1999 Brian Herne (P)1999 Blackstone Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"A rich portrait of a magnificent landscape, its animal inhabitants and some of its most reckless human interlopers." (Publishers Weekly) "An authoritative and colorful study of African safaris that will appeal to armchair adventurers and history buffs alike." (Wall Street Journal)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • Stephen
  • DubaiUnited Arab Emirates
  • 01-12-07

A fascinating account ....

Having lived in Africa and hunted I found this reading evocative of a time now past and, sadly, of lands now devastated by war & famine.
It is a fascinating account, beautifully read, of a lifestyle that is now just a part of the history of colonial Africa. I would heartily recommend this book to anyone who has the remotest interesting in hunting, whether in Africa or elsewhere.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Must Read

This is a must read for anyone interseted in Big Game hunting past and present and is not just a score board of animals killed. It gives a great insight into the Africa of the first half of the 20th century. If you enjoy reading Capstick then this is for you. The author has a vast knowledge of his subject and I highly recommend this title

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • JH
  • 01-08-10

White Hunter, tales of Gentlemen Adventurers

If you are interested in tales of high adventure, safaris and big game hunting in Africa, this is a book for you.

"White Hunters" details the adventures, lives and often deaths of some of Africa's explorers, white professional hunters, and characters from a period of African history which can no longer be experienced.

Having heard or read of some of the individuals portrayed in the book it was fascinating to hear of more of their exploits. Some of the individuals in the book are still alive but fewer each year. It is fascinating to meet these adventurers in person as well as in this book.

Listening to the safaris and big game hunting exploits brings forth "the smell of cordite in the morning" from their double rifles firing cigar sized Nitro Express cartridges.

Audible bring us more books like this one.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

a Civilization gone with the wind

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would recommend it to anyone who ever laid in a tent at night reading the adventures of J.A. Hunter by flashlight and fantasizing of someday owning a Holland & Holland D/B .500 Nitro Express

What did you like best about this story?

The history of professional hunters in East Africa.

Any additional comments?

A great read.
I now want to go back and re-read Hunter by Hunter, Bell of Africa, and all the adventures of Kenneth Anderson.
This was a good accounting of the “heroes” that I remember reading as a kid growing up in the 60s. I would recommend it to anyone who ever laid in a tent at night reading the adventures of J.A. Hunter by flashlight and fantasizing of someday owning a Holland & Holland D/B .500 Nitro Express.

But it was also bittersweet. I couldn’t help but be reminded somewhat of the forward from a very famous 1939 movie:
“There was a land of Cavaliers and Cotton Fields called the Old South. Here in this pretty world, Gallantry took its last bow. Here was the last ever to be seen of Knights and their Ladies Fair, of Master and of Slave. Look for it only in books, for it is no more than a dream remembered, a Civilization gone with the wind.”

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Steyn
  • Wierdapark, South Africa
  • 09-01-11

Great history

This is actually a history lesson presented as a story - I enjoyed it until the end.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Tim
  • Sarasota, FL, United States
  • 02-02-11

White Hunters

Well worth the credit! Although I've traveled to over 25 countries, I've never been to Africa (it's on my bucket list), and this book rekindled my wish to visit that part of the world. Although mainly about big game hunting, and the fascinating people involved in that arena, this book is also about Africa. I enjoyed the non-hunting historical background info that was interwoven in this story. I have only "hunted" with a camera for the past 25 years, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book. However, if you have no interest whatsoever in hunting, or in Africa, you may want to pass on this one. One last note: I found the narrator to be excellent, and very easy to listen to.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • JC
  • 02-22-17


Excellent overview and history of white hunters in Africa. The book is a large group of short stories and anecdotes about the rise and fall of the white hunter. Because of the sheer number of stories and characters, this book must have been an immensely difficult undertaking. Highly recommended.

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Like re-visting old friends...

I'm showing my age, but I was lucky enough to have several Great Uncles that were Missionaries and "Adventurers" back in the VERY EARLY 1900's... They all loved traveling and learning new cultures so much, they ALL passed away "Over seas, traveling" at very old ages (a little over "100 years old" is about the norm for my family, with decent health right up to the end). Their (VERY old) antebellum homes here in the deep south are FILLED with "Things they picked up while traveling around the world" (if you think inheriting, and trying to modernize, a three story Antebellum Home 'would be fun', trust me, it IS NOT! ;) ). As a kid, I'd listen to them telling their "latest adventures", scattered with stories of "when I wasn't much older than you, I ___". I especially loved their older stories about Africa and the Far East (etc), like the "Races in British East Africa" in the early 1900's, and riding "The Lunatic Line", and seeing wild animals strolling down Main Street, etc. I was delighted to hear Mr. Herne telling the same basic stories, just from someone else's point of view. I used to be a bit skeptical about some stories my Great Uncles would tell, like: "I'm not kidding, she rode her horse right into the hotel and started shooting bottles!", which is one of the things Mr. Herne talks about in this book.

There are a LOT of books written about the same adventurers in Africa, from varying viewpoints, but this book contained some little known facts about countries, people, cultures, that you may not have ever heard about before.

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Five star

It's a five star for me. It's a history book, but very opinionated. Almost all of the White Hunters get killed or mauled.

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  • Tom
  • Arvada, CO, United States
  • 10-27-15

Thrill addiction

Would you listen to White Hunters again? Why?

I enjoyed it the first time, but have never read/listened to a book more than once - there are too many other good ones to experience.

Which scene was your favorite?

There are a number of terrifying scenes - I got to hunt Africa for the first time this year which was one of the reasons I was interested in this title. We've come a long way from the safari's described in this book - in some ways it's very sad from a nostalgic, high adventure perspective - on the other hand, I'm grateful that I didn't have to dodge charging members of the big 5 on my safari and got to eat and sleep in comfort.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I listen during my commute - so one hour chunks

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  • Overall
  • Ben
  • 05-01-11

Excitement and Tragedy go hand-in-hand

White Hunters is a nostalgic insight into the lives of some of the most influential hunters and conservationists to shape the reputation and history of East Africa.

I am not a hunter, but a conservationist and naturalist. Hunting is an imporatnt, indeed crucial, component of conservation in Africa and this audiobook chronicles the events that led to the beginings of Wildlife Conservation, the National Parks service and today's Photo Safaris. But it is more than this, 'White Hunters' is a rolling adventure story, pockmarked with passion, intrigue, excitment and tragedy.

I must admit, I was hoping for a 'Capstick-style' series of adventures and was initially slightly disappointed with the all-too-brief descriptions of wildlife encounters, but as I got into the book, it became clear that, like my fellow reviewer here, no additional sensationalism was needed.

I have only given this a 4/5, because I ocassioanlly wished there was additional detail to go with the Safari Adventures, and although that would make the book double its already-long-length, it would be even more of a joy.

This is an audiobook for those interested in Colonial History, Hunting, Wildlife, Real Adventure and most importantly, Africa.

Ben Waddams

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Nils
  • 09-17-09

Brilliant Book

This unabridged insight into the history of big game hunting takes you straight to the heart of Africa, once famous names like Carr-Hartley and Selous are bought to life by the fantastically clipped colonial tones of the narrator. Unlike authors of the genre such as Capstick it doesn't over dramatise the events, they don't need it, it simply sets the scene and tells the story. Despite being written by a "Big White Hunter" it sympathetically deals with the socio-political issues that shaped much of Africa and that where ultimately to do more damage to the pursuit of big game than any poacher ( or well meaning conservationalist) ever could. A simply superb epithet to a bye gone age.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Frodo & Co
  • 04-20-14

wildlife passion as it was enjoyed

What made the experience of listening to White Hunters the most enjoyable?

When you've got the hunting passion, this is a lovely historical revival of how things were in Africa. In a different era. Hard and harsh, crude and rude, enjoying the tales of a wide variety of hunter: many great and respectful and some just silly and stupid.
In all a lovely book to enjoy part of these past passions.

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  • Zane
  • 05-20-16


Could not put it down great detail of the history of white hunters and an overview of Africa through out its changing times