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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

I enjoy reading historical shikar/hunting stories, and after having read all of Jim Corbett and Kenneth Anderson’s writings on Indian shikar, I thought this book on African safari would be an interesting change.
The most striking difference between Corbett & Anderson’s writings, vs this author’s (Jo

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 that

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.

I have read many books about the reign of terror caused by the two lions of Tsavo, but this is the tale told by J. H. Patterson, THE guy who was there! Patterson was the character played by Val Kilmer in The Ghost and the Darkness, he was the a construction engineer (and later, a famous big game hun

In 1898, the British were laying a railway line through what was then Uganda and into Kenya. At the Tsavo River in Kenya (where a railway bridge had to be built), the project was suddenly hit by an unforeseen menace: two man-eating lions that began stalking the camps of workers (nearly all of them f

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