Travels in the White Man's Grave

Donald Macintosh - Travels in the White Man's Grave

Neil Wilson Publishing £12.99
ISBN 1-897784-83-X

The only thing I guarantee about this book is that there is very little about fishing in it. It has tales of six foot long worms, palm wine, monsoons and cannibalism, and a man called Famous Sixpence, but there is no fish interest. You do get to learn some useful stuff, like how to eat the three inch long grubs of the Goliath beetle: 'Some tribes ate them alive, nipping off the black, chitinous heads with their teeth and squeezing the body contents into their mouths as one would squeeze the contents from a tube of toothpaste. My own tastes being much more refined and civilised, I could never bring myself to do this. I preferred them well done in palm oil.'

This is a book written by someone who loves Africa, and who can write with real wit. Quite by chance I read Travels straight after Packenham's classic The Scramble for Africa and the two books go together well. They make a pair; a glass of port with a great stilton.