The Man-Eaters of Tsavo
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The Man-Eaters of Tsavo

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  974 ratings  ·  78 reviews
It is with feelings of the greatest diffidence that I place the following pages before the public; but those of my friends who happen to have heard of my rather unique experiences in the wilds have so often urged me to write an account of my adventures, that after much hesitation I at last determined to do so.
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Published June 21st 2009 by Ebookslib (first published 1907)
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Jessica Courter
Of the last 8 books I've read, 6 of them I have given a 5 star rating, therefore when I picked up this book to read, I resolved, whatever it was like, not give it a 5 star rating. If I did, my friends were going to think I have no discernment and simply love everything I last read. . . However, there is no way I can give this book a simple 4 star rating. No, it's five star and deserves every one of them. The Man-Eaters of Tsavo is a beautiful recount of John Patterson's time in East Africa. Begi...more
Joe
After visiting the Field Museum in Chicago and seeing the pelts from the two infamous lions, The Ghost and The Darkness, I was struck by truly how huge these lions must have been. This is not only a record of an apparently unique natural incident of two lions which appeared to deliberately stalk humans and drag them back to their den to devour, but it is also an example of Victorian colonial expansion coming into conflict with the natural world.

The book is out of print and I had some trouble fin...more
Andre
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.
So when I read this book and heard the author's own account of the man-eaters I must say I was pleasantly surprised, and kind of disappointed in the movie. Especially since the lions in the book looked...more
Rlotz
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 lions could acquire a taste for human flesh. One suspects that Patterson could have been exaggerating, but the style of the book is so plain and direct that he comes across as honest, even humble. I...more
Kirsten
An interesting book, particularly when looked at from a historical perspective. The film "The Ghost and the Darkness" is based on this book, in which the author talks about his hunting adventures in 19th century British East Africa. The title is a bit deceptive - only about a third or so of the book is actually spent talking about the infamous man-eating lions; the rest are accounts of the author's hunts in Africa. For anyone who does read this, I urge them to do so with the context of time in m...more
Meaghan
A reasonably good and interesting memoir about hunting wild animals in East Africa. John Henry Patterson became famous for killing the two man-eating lions of Tsavo, who are now on display in the Chicago Field Museum. Only the first half of this book is about the Tsavo lions, though; the second half is about his hunting other animals such as rhinos, etc.

Patterson seemed like a pretty likeable guy to me, modest, and not very racist by late 19th-century British Empire standards. The book made me f...more
Devon
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dave Mansker
I loved this book, it was nice to read from the viewpoint of someone living in the era and not a modern era writer's judgements thereof. The story seems nearly incredible, yet actually happened. Those familiar with the movie "The Ghost and the Darkness" will be familiar with a part of this story, but half the book deals with happenings after the events of that story. This is the book that inspired Theodore Roosevelt to go on African safari after he was out of office.
Azn
Fuk, I love man-eaters books. In this story, John H. Patterson had been ordered to oversee the building of a bridge over Tsavo river. Not long had he arrived that two man-eating lions begin dragging workers out of their camp, despite the bumas (enclosures) being set up to protect them. Patterson then tried to kill the man-eaters by making trap and waiting for them at night. Since Man-eaters of Kumaon is the first, and best man-eaters book I've read, I like to compare every book in the genre with...more
Stuart
Not surprisingly, this books was 100% great white hunter in Africa. Patterson was an engineer helping to build a railroad through British colonial East Africa, so the book naturally dripped with contemporary perceptions. Our protagonist finished off the lions by chapter 5 or so, and continued to kill almost every other creature that he came across, while various and sundry "boys" were maimed and killed by other lions.

While I didn't enjoy the pandering, I did enjoy the descriptions of the landsc...more
Ranadip Sikdar
It is not a work of fiction but plain narration of an incident happened in Tsavo, Africa in 1898. Two lions turned man-eater and who killed around hundreds of local swahili inhabitants and Indians working in railway lines in British East Africa. Even if someone didn't read book, the story is probably known by many.
The situation was such that human shrieks and cry at night was very common and was always followed by roar. The lions feared nothing including drum beating and fire. In some cases the...more
Kay
I've long been fascinated with British East Africa. This episode in colonial history is quite sensational, especially given the author's wealth of detail based on his experiences hunting in Africa. It's a bit stiff-upper-lip/rule Brittania, but it's also riveting stuff.

Briefly, in 1898, Patternson was employed as a chief engineer at a British project to build a railway bridge over the Tsavo River. During that time, two large male lions managed to kill and eat approximately 140 railway workers....more
Allison
I actually did not read this e-book version, I got a reprinted version from Amazon, faithfully reproduced from the original. I had looked forward to finding and reading this book for a long time, and I was not disappointed--thrilling, terrifying, it is all you could hope it to be and more. Patterson details his entire time in East Africa, not just the nine months of the man-eating lions reign. Interspersed with hunting stories that I could personally do without, are tales of other area man-eater...more
Stephanie
This is nonfiction book that the movie "The Ghost and the Darkness" is based on. This is an account of Col. J H Patterson's adventures while living in Africa as an engineer for the British railway project. The most famous adventure is included in the 50 or so pages of the book and depicts his struggle dealing with two Tsalvo lions (a unique breed of lion with no mane) who have started to hunt down the railway workers. I enjoyed reading not only his adventures, but his struggles trying survive wh...more
Tay
Mr. Patterson was a courageous, compassionate engineer who, in order to protect his Indian and East African workers who were falling prey to two brazen cunning man-eating tigers, risked his own life to do his duty to them as their leader/sahib. A most exciting memoir with much action, as well as, understated mirth and humour. This is the book that inspired the woeful & bastardized Hollywood injustice called "The ghost & the darkness." Mr. Patterson's memoir is the correct version of a ge...more
Jenifer Mohammed
Great Story!

This is a really interesting account of lion attacks on railroad workers in Uganda and the man, Colonel Patterson, who hunted them and killed them. The movie The Ghost and the Darkness is based on this story but the book is even better than the movie was.
Tom Armstrong
Great account of a harrowing real life experience, but the writing is a but dry (He says "Savage Brute" a lot!. The first half of the book and the second half have little to do with one another. The man-eaters are pretty much dispatched by the midway point. The rest of the book details Col. Patterson's work on the railroad and his hunting exploits. It's an interesting look at Colonial East Africa near the turn of the centure.
Amy
I liked this book, which I read after seeing The Ghost and the Darkness. The story was well written, and really captured the sense of terror that these people must have faced as they were stalked by these lions.

That said, I could not read this story without my modern sensibilities coming into play. The lions were just doing what lions do. They weren't devils with evil intent. They were animals wisely choosing to not expend precious energy chasing a gazelle when a man made a much easier target.

I...more
Sam
This is the first hand account of the infamour Man-eaters of Tsavo told through the words of the man who hunted them in order to progress the building of the East African railway into the interior of the African Continent. Not only is the story of the lions themselves intriguing and captivating but the insight into colonial life that Patterson's words provide the reader is second to none. While some may find the attitudes taken towards the native tribes and the native wildlife a little off putti...more
Rahul Vaidya
I took up this book after watching the movie "the ghost and the darkness". Although the movie is much more dramatic than the book, the book manages to keep the reader thrilled as long as the hunt for the man eaters proceeds. To my utter surprise the hunt ends mid way in the book. The rest of the book then draws on as narsissitic account of authors bravado. The killing of the wild life feels loke utter waste. In a one way battle between a gun and claw, there is little to keep interest.

I would al...more
Michael
13 years ago I decided to give reading books as a hobby a try. This was the book I chose for my first attempt. i have read everyday since... thanks to this book. What an amazing story! It's a book about a railroad, a man, slave like laborers.... and 2 very big lions. i won't give anything away... but the title says it all. The second half of the book is more about the railroad and exploration or hunting... but it is still interesting to read. This book is over 100 years old... but still remains...more
Fredrick Danysh
In 1898 while the British were building a railroad through Uganda, a pair of lions turned into man-eaters, killing over 130 people. This is the story of that terror and the efforts to hunt down these killers. A good hunting read.
Sharon
The movie "The Ghost and the darkness", 1996, with Val Kilmer and Michael Douglas was such a riveting presentation of this true story, I was inspired to read the first person version. The book is a thin thing, about 110 pp. About the first half covers the story on which the movie was based. The rest of the book still relates the experiences of the author in British East Africa (today about the same territory as Kenya). However, since many of the tales describe the activities of hunting big game,...more
Christine
The story about the lions and was incredibly tragic and gruesome- but that's about all of the story I found interesting. The remainder of the book was just about the other random exploits he experienced in Africa, that I did not find particularly entertaining. The author of the story himself was incredibly unlikable and hard to actually root for- I half hoped he would end up getting eaten by the lions himself after stories of his treatment of his workers and animals.

However, it was a different...more
Kaylene Warne
Thought provoking as to why so many animals are now on the endangered list.
Lauren
Only the first half of the book is about the lions and when he then started going into his 'studies' of the native peoples, I had to stop reading lest my brain implode from all the racial condescension. Yes, I know that this is a historically accurate portrayal of what a white British officer probably felt in the 1890's, but dang... I don't think I really needed to read all about it. I enjoyed the lion part because the man was pretty darn brave and it was kind of cool to read a book printed in 1...more
Jennifer
I really enjoyed this account. It's possibly the oldest non-fiction book I've read (other than a science text) and I found it really interesting. I'm not really into shooting or hunting and I wouldn't read a contemporary 'hunting' book, and yes at times I thought 'really, another lion?!!' But the book certainly held my attention and I enjoyed each anectote. At his time it was still a largely untamed country. Also amusing was the way Patterson thought of and described the natives and workers and...more
Louise  Dunlap
If you're looking for a man with a man who was empathetic toward the native population, this is not the book for you. However, if you can get past that and his other flaws, it's still an interesting read about the legendary lions The Ghost and the Darkness.

This was also made into a film "The Ghost and The Darkness" starring Val Kilmer and Michael Douglas, which was very well done and removed the ugly aspects of the heroes characters.

These lions used to be on display in a museum back East, in C...more
Doug
Not a bad book. Written a hundred years ago, the vernacular is different from today. This makes the book all the more interesting. The author is rather full of himself although he has good reason. More than a book about his hunting exploits, he turns out to be a amateur anthropologist who made some terrific observations about East Africans tribal groups. He had a genuine fondness for them as well as his Indian workers. If you've seen the movie, the book share's one similarity; the name of the he...more
Matt
Pretty good... the author isn't a great story teller... he's writing about about the "Man-eaters of Tsavo," but he has told that tale in the first 1/3 of the book! Then he just talks about a lot of other stuff (mostly shooting other non-man-eating lions and building railroads) and occasionally refers back the Man-eaters in the title. Seems like a little more thought and editing could have put this book in better shape. Oh, well... what are you going to do? The author's been dead since 1947. Stil...more
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5831813
Lieutenant-Colonel John Henry Patterson, DSO, known as J.H. Patterson, was an Anglo-Irish soldier, hunter, author and Zionist, best known for his book The Man-Eaters of Tsavo (1907), which details his experiences while building a railway bridge over the Tsavo river in Kenya in 1898-99.

Although he was himself a Protestant, he became a major figure in Zionism as the commander of both the Zion Mule C...more
More about J.H. Patterson...
With the Zionists in Gallipoli With the Judaeans in the Palestine Campaign Man-eaters of Tsavo In The Grip Of The Nyika; Further Adventures In British East Africa

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