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The Man-Eaters of Tsavo and Other East African Adventures

John Henry Patterson

Book Overview: 

In 1898, during the construction of river-crossing bridge for the Uganda Railway at the Tsavo River, as many as 135 railway workers were attacked at night, dragged into the wilderness, and devoured by two male lions.

The Man-Eaters of Tsavo is the autobiographical account of Royal Engineer Lt. Col. J.H. Patterson's African adventures. Among them, his hunt for the two man-eaters.

This book was the basis for the 1996 film The Ghost and the Darkness.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .by one of the conspirators, who had crept into my camp to give me warning. I thanked him for his information, but determined to go to the quarry in the morning all the same, as at this stage of affairs I really did not believe that they were capable of carrying out such a diabolical scheme, and was rather inclined to think that the informant had been sent merely to frighten me.

Accordingly the next morning (September 6) I started off as usual along the trolley line to the lonely quarry. As I reached a bend in the line, my head mason, Heera Singh, a very good man, crept cautiously out of the bushes and warned me not to proceed. On my asking him the reason, he said that he dared not tell, but that he and twenty other masons were not going to work that day, as they were afraid of trouble at the quarry. At this I began to think that there was something in the story I had heard overnight, but I laughingly assured him there would be no trouble and continued on my w. . . Read More

Community Reviews

The first half of this book is great. The second half is both boring and disturbing. Let me explain.

The first half consists of Patterson’s description of the title story, his battles with two man-eating lions in Tsavo. It’s really incredible that this happened; I thought that it was just a myth t...more

I first came to the topic of the Tsavo man-eaters via the movie called "The Ghost and the Darkness", which is very loosely based on this book here. The movie went more towards action while the events in the book probably would have been better adapted into a thriller or maybe a light horror movie...more

Of the last 8 books I've read, 6 of them I have given a 5 star rating, therefore when I picked up this book to read, I resolved, whatever it was like, not give it a 5 star rating. If I did, my friends were going to think I have no discernment and simply love everything I last read. . . However, t...more

A reasonably good and interesting memoir about hunting wild animals in East Africa. John Henry Patterson became famous for killing the two man-eating lions of Tsavo, who are now on display in the Chicago Field Museum. Only the first half of this book is about the Tsavo lions, though; the second h...more

The Man Eaters Of Tsavo is about a man named john patterson who is working on a railroad across Africa. This man was transferred to kenya from Mombasa to build a train track across a river. Patterson (also the author of the book) landed in a very beautiful place of kenya. From there he took a lon...more

I have been intrigued to read the first hand account of Col. Patterson ever since I watched 'The Ghost and The Darkness' a long time ago. While the book offers fascinating insight into the mystical African landscape and its natives, the book is also heart wrenching at times. Unlike other big game...more

It was a beautiful experience to travel back in time more than 100 years ago in Kenya when Kenya-Uganda railway was being built. I got to witness the helplessness and bravery in dealing with the man-eating lions of Tsavo and hunting expeditions by Patterson and others.

I could not agree with certa...more

An interesting book, particularly when looked at from a historical perspective. The film "The Ghost and the Darkness" is based on this book, in which the author talks about his hunting adventures in 19th century British East Africa. The title is a bit deceptive - only about a third or so of the b...more

I loved this book, it was nice to read from the viewpoint of someone living in the era and not a modern era writer's judgements thereof. The story seems nearly incredible, yet actually happened. Those familiar with the movie "The Ghost and the Darkness" will be familiar with a part of this story,...more

After visiting the Field Museum in Chicago and seeing the pelts from the two infamous lions, The Ghost and The Darkness, I was struck by truly how huge these lions must have been. This is not only a record of an apparently unique natural incident of two lions which appeared to deliberately stalk...more

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