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

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  1,294 Ratings  ·  83 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)
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Zach Matthews
Dec 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
Phil
Feb 25, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Preston Fleming
Sep 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Anthony Whitt
Feb 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Heart pounding action straight from the true experiences of the author. Not for the squeamish. In his line of business the loss of innocent lives is common place and the details are brutal.
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
Allan
Jun 03, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  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
Chris Hamburger
Nov 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mike Disalvo
Aug 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Katy Rudie
Jan 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Riveting and intense. This book has all the excitement of an action movie yet it's REAL! I think he's an amazing narrative writer.
Jacob
Jan 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How could I not love a book about hunting? Mahana, I'm going to Africa.
Samantha Artuso
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
With imagery so fantastic you have to read it to believe it, Capstick paints a picture of Africa so real you'll find yourself pining for your Disney movies, clutching them for dear life and praying that they were the reality instead of what is.
Normally I have a problem understanding writing that is read out loud to me but when my husband read to me the Leopards chapter, images of what was happening played in mind like I was watching a movie. His writing style leaves nothing to be desired.
Chapst
...more
Jake Jeffries
May 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Normally this is not the type of book that I would read but it came highly recommended from my brother and I was curious about it due to the fact that the movie The Ghost in the Darkness is loosely based The Man-eaters of Tsavo which is referenced a few times in the book. In addition to being curious about it for that reason, learning about the dangers of certain animals is also of interest to me. Peter Capstick is a great writer and does a superb job of keeping you engaged in what is happening. ...more
Leah Alvord
Written with a good deal of purple prose, and a lot of information in the form of anecdotes and facts not commonly dispersed. Overall, informative but not really entertaining. It was just okay for me.
Eric Heisner
Aug 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic read for anyone wanting to experience the danger and adventure of hunting in Africa. Mr. Capstick's style of writing had me laughing and highly entertained in the way he can turn a phrase. A must read for anyone who yearns for the old days of the Great Hunters.
Nathanmcarroll
Aug 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Classic Africa hunting read.
AlexpLauer
Apr 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My uncle gifted me this book after he returned from his own hunting trip in South Africa. Since then I've read Death in the Long Grass more times than I can count. It's an absolutely incredible glimpse into a hunting culture which is slowly disappearing.
Peter Hathaway Capstick was an American professional hunting guide who has embarked on dangerous jaguar hunts in the Amazon to pursuing hulking elephants on the African plains. His writing style is accessible to any reader, yet the descriptive n
...more
patrick barber
Jan 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book. Gets your attention from page one. One of my favorite authors.
Ross
Feb 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Few things have made me regret living in the era I currently live in as much as reading this collection of stories. I'm glad poeple have lived it, it's great that humans have the capacity for this kind of adventure, but dammit.... I want some, too. Too late for that, though.
David Lucero
Aug 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Chris
Jul 30, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Kurt Cox
May 25, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
DocHolidavid
Dec 06, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
Ryan
Oct 06, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nature
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
Arun Divakar
Oct 14, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-books, myreviews
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
Nick
Jan 11, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Adam Wiggins
Aug 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picture the author of this book as a blend of Don Draper, Teddy Roosevelt, and Ernest Hemingway. He's eloquent, macho, and has a wonderful flare for the dramatic and plenty of folksy charm. His writing is fantastic and absorbing.

Like most city-dwellers I find sport hunting at best a confusing idea, and at worst barbaric and grossly unnecessary. But this book offers interesting perspective on the topic from someone who spent most of the 1960s working in Africa as a professional hunter.

Warning:
...more
Nelson
Mar 14, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Lisa Houlihan
Apr 07, 2012 marked it as abandoned-notforme  ·  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
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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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