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Death in the Long Grass: A Big Game Hunter's Adventures in the African Bush

4.35 of 5 stars 4.35  ·  rating details  ·  896 ratings  ·  64 reviews
Few men can say they have known Africa as Peter Hathaway Capstick has know it-- leading safaris through lion country; tracking man-eating leopards along tangled jungle paths; running for cover as fear-maddened elephants stampede in all directions. And of the few who have known this dangerous way of life, fewer still can recount their adventures with the flair of this forme ...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published January 15th 1978 by St. Martin's Press (first published January 1st 1977)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,567)
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Zach Matthews
Overwritten, with prose purple in the extreme, by an author of questionable moral character as a hunter and someone who was at best a serial exaggerator and possibly an outright plagiarist. All that said, this is one hell of a book. I haven't picked it up in years and I can still remember the opening line: "In four hot, still hours dawn will hemorrhage like a fresh wound in the sky over the eastern Muchingas..."

Capstick was a New York bond trader who left it all behind to become a "professional
...more
Preston Fleming
What most people don't understand about big-game hunting in Africa is that the animals have a much better chance against the hunter than one might expect. The late Peter Hathaway Capstick was born in New Jersey but realized his boyhood dream of becoming a big-game hunter and safari guide in Africa. Each chapter in DEATH IN THE LONG GRASS examines a different big-game animal by explaining why it is dangerous and telling stories about contests that the animals won. Once you've read Capstick's firs ...more
K.M. Weiland
I'm not a hunter, and although I'm not squeamish about killing animals when necessary, I don't find sport hunting appealing in the least. That said, this book is a riveting account of some of the scariest animals on the plant. Capstick shares stories gleaned from his own experiences on safari in Africa in the 1970s and seasons them with a rousing wit and a lot of fun.
Phil
Peter Capstick was a big game hunter in Africa during the 70's, and probably longer, but the stories in this memoir cover mostly the 70s.

This book feels like a collection of campfire stories, each tall tale as exciting as the last. One tends to believe most of the tales that Capstick tells, but only because he sounds straightforward, honest, and pragmatic. Even so, one could easily get the idea that Capstick was among the best hunters ever (as told by Capstick). How seriously you take the storie
...more
Greg
Death in the Long Grass is an outstandingly written account of the author's real-life adventures and experiences in Africa guiding big game hunters on safari. His stories are categorized by the different types of the most dangerous game of the African bush -- the lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, crocodile, hippo, and the Cape buffalo, which many consider to be the most dangerous of all.

Capstick's colorful descriptions make their way smoothly into the stories and he takes the reader deep into the
...more
Chris Hamburger
Loved it! Capstick is a master story teller and a model hunter. He weaves the suspense of waiting for the perfect moment to strike the deadliest game in the most unforgiving terrain of Africa, with the facts of the hunter, target, and culture of hunting. he truly knows his craft. He takes you on first hand accounts of tracking tigers, leopards, lions, elephants, anything one might hunt in africa. He writes about trailing a man-eating crocodile that was reported at 15 feet in length. He was sleep ...more
Allan
Jun 03, 2008 Allan rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People interested in plagiarism.
Peter Hathaway Capstick wrote books about big game hunting in Africa and I wish he hadn't. I've always been a fan of hunter/writers and had hoped Capstick would be a worthy successor to the long line of great hunting ones...J. A. Hunter, Karamojo Bell, Robert Ruark, Ernest Hemingway, Nash Buckingham and the greatest of all, Jim Corbett. I was shocked by the work Capstick foisted upon us. It's been several years since I read this book and I'm surprised I kept it in my library. I'll remedy that si ...more
Mike Disalvo
Capstick invokes the feeling of sitting around the campfire listening to stories. He tells a story the way way Monet painted, full of color and brilliance. His stories make you feel the sun beating down on you,and hear the tiny rustle of the long grass that means a charge. When you read his book(s) your not going to feel like you reading, you'll feel like your there. No one has ever written better on hunting in Africa, not Ruark or Hemingway, I know I have a 250 volume collection of African hunt ...more
Kurt Cox
There were things I liked, and things I didn't.

I liked that he documented an era of African hunting(1970's) that in some ways has changed forever. I think every generation of hunters needs chroniclers, because hunting methods/ethics/regulations keep changing. And he did it in an entertaining way. His descriptions make vivid images, and I enjoyed learning about the relationships between the PH, his crew, and his clients.

I didn't like that he chose to make it a work of fiction rather than non-fict
...more
Heretic
A very interesting look at a recent Big Game Hunter in Africa, finding the man eating monsters and the dangerous lunging herbivores in a Continent that most people completely ignore. It almost convinced me to buy a 375 for a someday trip to big game country, but I eventually relented to owning a barrel in 338-06, the smallest Bear and Elk Country round, which is enough like being kicked by a mule to satisfy my curiosity. I am content to let others experience this kind of life, and read their sto ...more
Rich
I gave this 4 stars because it gives you a very different perspective on Africa from many books I have read. Also I have been to Kenya/Tanzania and Botswana and South Africa in the last 7 years. Primarily safari trips in private reserve areas. I almost always felt very safe (the night of the hippos being an exception). This book is from a hunters perspective in the 50-70's. A very different perspective of the dangers of Africa (both in camp and while hunting).

So if you would like a very differe
...more
Ryan
This was probably a classic when it was first published, but I think overrated. For readers new to such writing about safaris or African wildlife back in the 80s (before the proliferation of animal documentaries on tv) this would've been exciting and sensational writing. Some of which comes across as a tad fanciful, allowance for the author's creative license in adding more drama into his supposed real life accounts, a lot of which are from hearsay and not directly experienced. There are better ...more
DocHolidavid
Is Death in the Long Grass fact or fiction? Well… ah who cares. It’s a helluva read.

But it could be difficult to appreciate if you’ve never lived with the gnawing annoying bloodlust that creeps into the souls of hunter types eating at'em like a heroin craving ‘til nothin’ will quell the urge but something large roaming gnarly terrain.

A guy has to admire, or at the very least pity, a guy who measures the quality of his hunt by the number of matches required for his post-hunt cigarette.

Captick was
...more
Chris
This was an interesting book to read after having been to Africa. I'm not sure if things have changed drastically in the 30 or so years of publishing this book or if I experienced something completely different. There was far more danger in this book than on the safaris that we went on. Capstick tells stories of his life as a Great White Hunter all over Africa. He hunted everything you could hunt and would tell how each of the animals could kill you. There were man-eating lions and leopards as w ...more
David Lucero
I selected Peter Capstick's book as research for my own next book. I needed to learn about what life is like in Africa during the golden age of African safaris. This book does more than tell me about lifestyles, it leaves the reader feeling as though they were right there trudging along through the tall grass with Peter and gunbearers.

Capstick writes with uncanny humor about the dangers of safaris, as well as the challenges that draw persons to the Dark Continent to hunt. He describes the cunnin
...more
Arun Divakar
I have been a fan of the hunting tales for quite sometime now. Somehow the idea of man taking on an animal in the animal's terrain and on the animal's terms armed with nothing but a rifle is an appealing and at the same time dangerously satisfying one for me.

The Africa of the old when animals rules the continent and humans were but intrusions onto the land makes the stage for the story. Most of the tales are tied onto the pole of sport hunting. Africa's deadly dozen are expolred in more detail t
...more
John Bascom
An iconic book on Africa big-game hunting, Peter Capstick describes the continent, the animals and the hunting experience is first-person detail. Capstick, an American, made his living for many years as a professional hunter in Africa. His recounting of his experiences are riveting, although his predilection for long strings of adjectives and adverbs to enhance his writing seems overdone and amateurish at times, detracting from his otherwise uniquely vivid and engaging prose. My only other objec ...more
Dallan Andrus
If you like hunting, you have to read this book. Capstick draws on his years of experience hunting in Africa, and his great story-telling prowess, to put together this masterpiece. The chapters are organized by game animal, so you read all the best stories about hunting Lions, then Elephants, then Rhinos - you get the picture.
Nick
OK, so this Peter Capstick is an incredible writer. He can write a scene of a man being eaten by a lion like no one else. You feel every crunch of the powerful jaws of the man-eating monster....But his attitude is so Victorian -- all about faithful helpers with names like Silent from the indigenous population, the fatalism of the African, and the importance of a stiff drink at the end of the day when you're ready to recall all the animals you've slaughtered -- in loving detail. Had this book bee ...more
James
Capstick is a swaggering, swilling, British hack. And I love him for it.
Nelson
my collection couldn't be complete without this book. i still remember my sixth grade teacher, mr estilow, letting me borrow this book. i devoured it's tales from big game hunter, tracker, and guide capstick. the stories are often humorous but always compelling, harrowing, and blood curdling. they describe capstick's time in africa hunting lion, leopard, cape buffalo, elephants, rhino, and so on and often times the animals hunted are being hunted because they're man eaters he's been hired to kil ...more
Paula Rothman
This would have garnered a 5 had it not been for the hunting aspect. Witty, mostly well written. Gun enthusiasts and hunters would enjoy this two-fisted, belly up to the bar style of writing; I was put off by the killing, sometimes of endangered species. A very exciting book, however.
Andy Ringbloom
Fucking Violent!!!
This book will make you shit your pants!
I dont have time to read a book more than once but if I got my hands on this one I would certianly read it again and again...you dont even know how many people died (with lots of blood here and oh look there another piece of him over there...is that a finger?) just so their stories could be told here....there is nothing more fastinating than a true story and facts are much stranger than fiction!

I recommend this book above any other th
...more
Lisa Houlihan
May 07, 2013 Lisa Houlihan marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
Because Rich said this was more about Africa than many of the Kilimanjaro books we've read recently, I started this. Capstick starts with a justification about big-game hunting and he lost me with it. You can't equate hunting elephants with hunting white-tailed deer because deer aren't endangered. Plus you eat the deer. I can't read it holding my nose as I can just read Hemingway, because even Hemingway knew the animal populations were plummeting and Capstick is 40 years later on and also not He ...more
Skigirl
I kind of hate this author. He seems to be a responsible hunter and a conservationist, however he also seems kind of full of himself. Initially, it seems self deprecating, but then eventually it's just annoying. The stories are interesting though (if you can get past the bullet and killing talk). A view of what for me is the 'other side' of the African tourism coin...and to be fair it is also the part that in some countries has a large (postive) impact on the preservation of wilderness and wildl ...more
Todd
I have read 80 percent of this book and found it very well written, capstick was a writer to begin with. His descriptions of encounters with dangerous big game such as lions and crocodiles is realistic and adventurous. He's been there and done that, Peter Hathaway Capstick, that is. He describes how violently hunters die if mistakes are made or buy just being there in the first place is enough to get a person killed by dangerous game. This book is a fast read and I enjoyed every page of it.
Thomas Edward micka
Capstick

I haven't found a capstick book I did not like. his story telling is superb,riveting ,realistic accounts of the way it was in his day.I know all who love adventure will enjoy it.
Caroline
While not a particularly well-written book overall, the first few chapters are riveting. I remember while I was reading the lion chapter I woke up one night and got out of bed, stepping on a suede-like slipper. I JUMPED back into bed and woke Andy up thinking I had just stepped on a lion's paw, and that we were surrounded by a pack of lions.

The last couple of chapters were weak, but after hearing years of Africa stories from family members it was a fun read.
Katie Tatton
Josh read this out loud to me, and we both really liked it. It's the story of a white hunter and his adventures and close calls with deadly animals in the African bush. The writing is chock full of hilarious metaphors and similies. The book is broken into several sections, one for each deadly animal, and focuses mostly on hunting down maneaters in each species. A little gory, and I'm sure Josh edited a bit for me, but I really enjoyed it.
Lehho
I couldn't be more surprised that I not only didn't love this, but disliked it. While I respect his experience and expertise, I disagree with the author's specious reasoning about trophy hunting, and find his storytelling somewhat monotonous in its florid overwroughtness. Squeezed all I could out of it about the animals and their lethality, and that was great. Before I read this, I thought I'd be reading his other books. I doubt I'd enjoy them.
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Peter Hathaway Capstick was an American hunter and author. Born in New Jersey and educated at (although did not graduate from) the University of Virginia, he walked away from a successful Wall Street career shortly before his thirtieth birthday to become a professional hunter, first in Central and South America and later (and most famously) in Africa. Capstick spent much of his life in Africa, a l ...more
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