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Jock of the Bushveld

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  727 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews
Jock of the Bushveld, published in 1907, has been read and enjoyed by millions of children and is now a classic among animal stories. It remains as fresh and exciting as it was when it was first written and is dedicated by Fitzpatrick to '...those keenest and kindest of critics, best of friends and most delightful of comrades the likkle people!'

Jock's owner was a young tra
Published July 31st 2002 by Ad Donker Publishers (first published 1907)
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Dirk Grobbelaar
What we have here is a bona fide local classic. The tale of Jock of the Bushveld is as proudly South African as biltong and beskuit. Or perhaps not as proudly: the original version (which I obtained from the Gutenberg project) is absolutely rife with racial slurs. Here’s the thing: even though apartheid is an Afrikaans word, it was never an Afrikaans invention, as this book (which was written at about turn of the century) unflinchingly illustrates. The colonials at the time, and especially, it s ...more
Apr 18, 2016 Clint rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
For sure one of the best books I've ever read. Jock of the Bushveld is a true story written by the South African writer Percy FitzPatrick. FitzPatrick during the time the book takes place was a transporter, guys who basically ran groups of oxen and natives transporting goods back and forth across the wilderness of South Africa a hundred-something years ago. I didn't know a lot about South Africa when I went into this, but basically they have their own version of the American wild west, with warr ...more
Feb 03, 2013 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I normally avoid animal books as a genre and I'd never even heard of this book until being prompted by a South African workmate who had heard it as a boy and had fond memories of it.

I'm glad I read it. Its an enjoyable story. Clearly it was written in very different times to today. They really had a very tough life. I doubt I would have prospered under the same conditions.

It took a bit of getting used to the names they called the natives but I understand that those terms haven't always been dis
Sep 12, 2011 Mpscahill rated it liked it
I read this for geographic and historical perspective on the pioneer days of South Africa.
Katharine Peddie
Sep 21, 2013 Katharine Peddie rated it it was amazing
Jock of the Bushveld is a beautiful story that not many children read and definitely not here in Australia. This is a book about a dog called Jock in South Africa around the 1880's. I recommend this book because it based on true life events and can be classified as a non-fictional narrative. (Gamble and Yates 2008) I believe this is true literature at its best, children will be intrigued by the story of a man and his best friend. This story has recently been released as an animated film. This wi ...more
Aug 03, 2010 Sylvester rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: animals
Fair warning: This book may be about a dog, but it's more about hunting with him than anything else. Which has it's good side, in that it gives you a good feel for the countryside and the amazing animals with their incredible capability to fade into the background - but once you've been given such an appreciation for them, it is hard to take the terrible gore of the actual killing. It's a very beautiful book, in a lot of ways, but it has this way of putting two opposite views so closely together ...more
The author's experiences from his years of living in the bush and the hunting dog that he had from the time it was a puppy.
This kept showing up as a Goodreads recommendation. I was unable to find it anywhere here in the States so when I had opportunity to find it during a layover in Johannesburg, I decided to buy it. I'd had the idea it was fiction, but in reading the preface discovered it was book form of stories he'd told numerous times from his experiences - the ol' "you need to put these t
Oh Jock...
Jun 24, 2014 Ryan rated it liked it
Shelves: colonial, fiction, nature
I can see why this would be a hit with children, being about a boy and his loyal dog companion's exploits in the African bushveldt. While vividly describing the untamed wilderness and it's many inhabitants, the book is also about courage, being literally the underdog and overcoming that to rise above everyone else - surely a positive role model for kids! The extent to which Jock goes to tackle quarry many times his size, seemingly heedless to danger is exciting to behold, his tenacity legendary. ...more
Dwayne Bailey
My mother read this to me when we spent a holiday in the Eastern Transvaal (now Mpumalanga), South Africa. I'm pretty sure we read the abridged version. Ever since then I've wanted to read this again. This time though I made sure I read the unabridged version of Jock.

The tale is that of a young transport rider. Moving goods from the coast to the gold fields of Johannesburg. The South African bush was rough and unforgiving and a place where the riders hunted game for food. Enter Jock a mongrel pu
John Mountford
Oct 17, 2013 John Mountford rated it liked it
I think this story should have been left as FitzPatrick first created it: a series of bedtime short stories for his children. It's strength lies in the descriptive detail of each episode, and not in its combined effect as a novel. The ending is abrupt and unsatisfactory, demonstrating that the author possessed neither the skill nor the inclination to weave the truth into a satisfying work of fiction, allowing it to totter somewhere between the two. What a pity, as a hero with the potential for g ...more
Apr 06, 2010 Billy rated it really liked it
Shelves: dogs
Enjoyable tale about a plucky bull terrier in the bushveld. While it may have been a boy's tale back in the day, it's probably a little too gritty for today's pampered weenies.

The next to last chapter where Jock's owner tries to get his wagon train to market is one of the best of the best Man vs. Nature stories I've ever read. Brutal and unsentimental.

The drawings are numerous and excellent.

The volume itself is not well edited and is full of typos.
Jan 13, 2008 Jill rated it really liked it
It's a dog book, it's about South Africa, it's about a travelling trader/hunter... it's everything I ever wanted in a book!

Won't break your heart a la "Old Yeller", but a touching book about a dog indeed. And full of good South African history/vocabulary.

Apr 29, 2011 Emma rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jeugboeke
Groot jeug favourite. Verbaas my 'n bietjie nou maar toe was dit geweldig en ook nog vertaal in Afrikaans.
Grant Hayward
Jan 04, 2017 Grant Hayward rated it it was amazing
A highly enjoyable book, and particularly as a South African, I'm glad to have read it. Having been to the bushveld many times growing up, and as an adult, its easy for me to picture the man and his dog roaming around, gun over his shoulder, looking for their next hunt. As my friend pointed out to me before I read it, its not really so much of a doggy book, but more of a hunting book with the main characters being a man and his dog.
Its very insightful into the minds of those people, and it shows
Anthony Ambruso
Dec 25, 2016 Anthony Ambruso rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Didn't get it

I love animals, especially dogs. But the archaic nature of this writing didn't do it for me. Sometimes the writing style reminded me of one hand clapping, trying to sound so well-bred over nothing. It was a book about nothing. However, I'm sure there was a good punchline coming; I never got that far.
Eloise Coetzee
Dec 29, 2014 Eloise Coetzee rated it really liked it
I go through moments with this book. At times I find the constant tales over & over of what are essentially stories of a man's experiences hunting with his very cherished dog, a little monotonous. At other times I am so enamoured of this man's love & respect for his companion, Jock. The dog-lover in me loves this book. The South African in me loves the descriptions of the bushveld & how life during the treks across our early country have been so vividly brought to life. Were I not a ...more
Mar 10, 2012 Kenneth rated it it was amazing
I normally don't like animal stories but this is much more than that. It's the story of a scion of an English noble house going out to the South African gold fields and damn near starving to death. He manages to save himself and a puppy at the same time. He turns his hand to hauling freight over the Drakensberg mountains and if you don't know how to handle ox teams this book will tell you. Fascinating. Don't look for false sentimentality here. This is a real book about a man and his dog facing r ...more
The Book
I chose Jock because I heard (or more likely, read) somewhere that it was a classic of South African literature. I thought it would be fictional, not a biographical account. I enjoyed the story, but the writing took some getting used to and I did struggle with getting into the author's way of writing. However, there are some very memorable events in this account of a bush dog's life, and I have no doubt I will never forget Jock. The author writes about him with a lot of love and I will remember ...more
Jean Du
Aug 08, 2014 Jean Du rated it liked it
Having read the unabridged version a number of times as a young girl, I was so disappointed in this 'sanitized for your protection' edition. Yes, I understand that there is a belief amongst publishers that today's sensibilities can't quite handle the reality of different times, but this is condescending and patronising to readers. Neveretheless, the fantastic bushveld stories still shine through here. If you can get your hands on the original edition rather, you'll find yourself reading a five-s ...more
Jan 08, 2015 Devilish rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography-memoir
This was published in 1907 and reflects the prevailing opinions and word usage of the times. Having said that, Fitzpatrick's basic respect for humanity overrides the outmoded words that he uses. It vividly portrays another time. This strongly reminds me of A. B. Facey's "A Fortunate Life" - same era, same story of movement, journey(s) through rough country that has since changed enormously.

And then there is Jock. While the story is somewhat disjointed, mostly it is about Jock, his courage and h
Aug 13, 2012 Dev rated it really liked it
I have a deep and discomfortable connection with this book, which I read when I was eight years old, before I went to live in Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia) for a year. The story of the relationship between an English settler in South Africa and his hunting dog, was powerful and evocatively written. The tone had resonances of the noble savage when talking of the Zulu characters, no doubt I would find it somewhat racist today, but a powerful read nonetheless
Feb 07, 2016 Tyera rated it it was ok
Shelves: africa
I did not expect this book to be so entirely about hunting.
While there were some interesting bits about man's relationship with dog, dog's ability to learn, and the experience of the wild bush, I wearied of the many passages to the effect of: "Oh, look, what a beautiful antelope, with a fine glossy coat, perfectly evolved to camouflage with the landscape... Let's kill it!" What a tiresome attitude.
Milton Glenn Rankin
Jul 30, 2009 Milton Glenn Rankin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dave
This was the first book I read from cover to cover — I never forgot it — before I had become a teenager, I think. A truly South African story. I remember that it made me cry — the ending was so sad. Years later, I would look for the sites that Jock and his master had visited — they are still marked, to this day.
Steve Mayberry
Dec 27, 2015 Steve Mayberry rated it liked it
Lots of frontiersmen talking lovingly about dogs, which they proceed to beat, shoot, and allow to tear each other to shreds (even as pups). Not nearly as smug and unbearable as "the Outspan: Tales of South Africa," but still, this guy is a bona fide jackass (seems to be typical of Brit adventurers of this era)
Riana Snyders
May 31, 2012 Riana Snyders rated it it was ok
It had it's ups and downs. I am a big nature and animal lover but I did not enjoy this book as much as I thought I would. There was interesting parts that I did like but it took me fore ever to finish this book. I allso watched the movie which I loved so that might be why I didn't like the book that much.
Apr 12, 2015 Mike rated it really liked it
I have wanted to read this book for many years since I fell in love with the stories of Africa. Finally I have and what a joy it is. The descriptions of the life and trials of a trekker are well told. Who could not fail to fall to the delights of Jock.
Oct 08, 2014 Noirfifre rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone seeking a man and his dog's adventure out in the wild
Although I felt like that the novel read like a collection of short stories and not as a flowing plot, I did enjoy the journey of Jock and his owner. Jock has so much spirit in his bones, his countless hunting trips makes this novel adventurous.
Apr 27, 2015 Thorsten rated it it was amazing
this is just a great African adventure based on the facts of Percy Fitzpatrick's real life experiences in the lowveld. Fabulous reading, especially if you live in South Africa, the way it was, that is.
Rachel Page
Mar 17, 2014 Rachel Page rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-what-i-own
I didn't think I'd like this after the first chapter, that was a slog. But it really picked up and I really enjoyed it. There wasn't really a plot, it was just hunting stories, but it was surprisingly intriguing.
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Sir James Percy FitzPatrick, KCMG, known as Percy FitzPatrick, was a South African author, politician, mining financier and pioneer of the fruit industry. He authored the classic children's book, Jock of the Bushveld (1907).

The Percy Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology at the University of Cape Town was named in his honour.

Motor trails in the eastern part of South Africa follow the trail
More about Percy FitzPatrick...

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“... fortune holds some gifts in store for those who try” 5 likes
“... fortune is not in time or place or things; but, good or bad, in the man’s own self for him alone to find and prove.” 1 likes
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