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The Lives of Beryl Markham
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The Lives of Beryl Markham

3.69  ·  Rating Details ·  137 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
Drawing on her own long association with Markham, as well as diaries, letters, and interviews, Errol Trzebinski unravels the complexities of one of the century's great personalities.

Markham's memoir, West with the Night, was rediscovered in 1983 and became an instant bestseller, though shadowed by rumors that Markham was not the actual author. Trzebinski here puts the ques
Paperback, 448 pages
Published March 17th 1995 by W. W. Norton & Company
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Community Reviews

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Sep 07, 2015 Dianne rated it liked it
After I read Paula McLain's "Circling the Sun," a work of historical fiction based on the early life of Beryl Markham, I immediately wanted to know more about Beryl. Since McLain's version was fictionalized, I wanted something closer to a true biography. "The Lives of Beryl Markham" was the first book in from the library, so I jumped right into it, eager to see how McLain's version dovetailed with a more factual version.

It was very interesting to see the choices McLain made in sticking to the fa
Feb 11, 2008 Kay rated it liked it
Those who have a romanticized image of Beryl Markham after reading West with the Night and want to keep that image would do well to keep away from this book. It's a tell-all -- and there is much to tell -- as Markham was apparently rather promiscuous and at times rather callous and self-serving.

Still, I have to say I'm glad I read the book, for it casts light on a very complex person. Once again, here's an object lesson in how the very driven can also be, in many ways, rather unlikeable. Howeve
Mar 05, 2012 Julie rated it liked it
I can not understand why we do not know more about this women , she was one of the first women aviators and in the same class as Amy Johnson and Amelia Earhart,was an adventurer and did indead live an extrodinary life. She was the fly in the ointment in the love afair between Karen Blixon and Denys finch Hatton , (out of Africa ) and persued him for 8 years until finally having an affair with him, this shows the determination and mind set of the woman.Unfortunately she does not come across as a ...more
May 23, 2008 Andrew rated it liked it
I purchased and read this book after reading West with the Night, a story written by Bery Markham (or so I thought) that chronicles her time as a bush pilot in British East Africa. I was so taken by the book that I wanted to learn more about this amazing woman. However...for those who have read West with the Night I say be warned. The Lives of Beryl Markham paints a much less flattering picture of the woman and even makes a strong case that Markham didn't write West with the Night. Prepare to ha ...more
Linda Doyle
May 13, 2016 Linda Doyle rated it liked it
Beryl Markham was an accomplished aviator and race horse trainer. It's too bad too much of this book concentrates instead on Markham's innumerable love affairs and rampant promiscuity. She's portrayed as a selfish, difficult person, and the author gives the impression she doesn't like her subject. Trzebinski even puts forth the idea (with some good evidence) that Markham's third husband, a writer, is the real author of her best selling memoir, West with the Night.

I struggled to read some sectio
Linda Lipko
Nov 12, 2015 Linda Lipko rated it liked it
Beryl Markham led quite a life, one of hedonism, selfishness, ruthlessness without a thought of how her actions impacted on those in her circle. Today she would be categorized as a sociopath. This is a tale of her life, including her many male conquests.

Abandoned in Africa by her mother, from an early age, she was loosely raised by her father. Working with him to train superb race horses, she acquired a reputation of doing men's work.

With little social skills, and a dire lack of education, she
Connie Kronlokken
Beryl Markham is a fascinating person. Never well off, she grew up with Kenyan children, learning as they did to be fearless and ignore pain. Her father also trained her to work with his horses, and she developed an amazing rapport and understanding of horses. Moving among the British aristocrats who came out to Kenya in the early part of the 20th century, Beryl and her father trained winners. Beryl was beautiful and promiscuous, leaving a trail of lovers behind her. For ten years, she flew earl ...more
Jul 08, 2015 Judy rated it it was ok
West With the Night is one of my favorite books ever. So now I know Beryl Markham didn't really write it. Does that matter? Yes and no. It's still a beautifully written story, with a strong sense of place, about an amazing woman. And yes, now some of the bloom is off the rose for me. I got tired of reading about her sexual exploits and competitive nature. Truth be told, I didn't finish the book. I just got bored and gave up.
Jan C
I really did enjoy this book but I felt like it was too long. I'm not sure what I would have asked her to keep out but it just seemed to drag on.

Now, of course, Beryl Markham did a lot of stuff. Most of her friends were not women. Frequently they were royalty.

And I was so disappointed when Trzebinksi presented pretty arguments against her having written the good parts of West with the Night. I had previously come to the conclusion that only a pilot could have written some parts of it and that he
Aug 25, 2010 Ann rated it really liked it
I gave this book 4 stars not because it was particularly well written, but because it was so fascinating. This woman was amazing. She lived like a man in the first half of the 20th century, and made many enemies because she had to audicity to do so. Love her or hate her she did incredible things. Although it doesn't make the book any less wonderful, it was a disappointment to find out she did not write "West With The Night," but that her 3rd husband ghost wrote it for her. Still, the experiences ...more
Mar 01, 2015 Anne rated it liked it
Really interesting biography of a fascinating woman. This author feels, without a doubt, that Markham did not write West With the Night. This does not in any way take away from the book (WWTN) or the woman (Markham).
Sep 08, 2015 Beckie rated it liked it
3 stars.
Mar 20, 2008 Ebookwormy rated it it was ok
Shelves: biography
This book was well written, but by the end of it, i was so sick of Beryl Markham. What a bitter, despairing, end to a life invested so poorly. It was good for understanding the history of Markham, the Kenya colony and the times in general, but not an enjoyable to be re-read book.
Rachel Katz
Jan 31, 2011 Rachel Katz rated it it was ok
definitely should have read her book before reading the biography...she had quite a life. Sad really.
Wendy Hollister
Sep 01, 2009 Wendy Hollister rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beryl was a tough and fascinating woman especially during the times that she lived.
May 29, 2010 Stacye rated it did not like it
The author didn't seem to have very much admiration or respect for his subject. I just kept thinking that if she had been a man he would have been slapping her on the bag and giving her a wink and a nudge over the indiscretions that he portrays as overshadowing her incredible accomplishments. I'm certainly not saying that she was all good. No human is, but I wouldn't recommend this book because it is in my opinion it is a rather misogynist view of a complex and remarkable woman.
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