THE DESERT'S DUSTY FACE by Charles Chenevix Trench


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Uhuru and other large issues are splendidly absent from this personal account of the author's years as a district commissioner in Northern Kenya. In the three districts he administered on separate occasions (Turkana, Moyale, Samburu) the mainstay of life was nomadic grazing of cattle, sheep and goats. Trench was called upon to settle legal differences among the tribesmen, hunt rustlers and murderers, and if possible improve the water supply; Also, he went on endless safaris to keep face for the Crown and let tribesmen see that there was a law in the land. More often than not, his decisions and pronouncements to the natives had to be fashioned out of existing situations rather than from statutes...The author seldom settles on any subject for more than a few pages, which gives his book a flowing, random quality full of thumbnail portraits of British officials and native tribesmen. His style is richly ironic, replete with euphemistic understatement concerning Britishers, travelers, and the intimate sanitary problems of Northern Kenyans. At times, the reader feels he is Jogging along with Richard Burton while, with light sarcasm and winning mockery, he dilates upon the wayside vignettes.

Publisher: Morrow