Jungle Man - Autobiography of Maj. P.J. Pretorius
by Maj. P. J. Pretorius
(Ross Murphy - Oklahoma, USA)
This is a book I bought on a hunch hoping that it was better than the title. How true it is - "do not judge a book by its cover". This is one of the better written and most entertaining books written in the late 1890's to 1920's era of elephant hunting.
Major P. J. Pretorius was the guide that led the British to the German warship Konigsberg that was hidden in the Rufigi River delta area. He had hunted the area extensively and led Gen. Smuts men to the area and the ship was destroyed. He lived with cannibals, pygmies and a host of other African tribes gaining their confidence which later saved him as he escaped from the Germans after being shot in both legs.
He knew Selous and in truth, Selous replaced him on the mission where Selous was killed. He crossed paths with the elephant hunters in the Lado Enclave. Pretoria in South Africa was named after his grandfather. His story is amazing - escapes from natives, from the Germans in WWI, encounters with elephants and his overall wonderlust for adventure.
If you enjoyed Selous' book or the John Boyes book (King of the Wa-Kikuyu) or the Ivory Trail by Bulpin - you will love this book. He tells his story very matter of factly and in an easy to read style.
I highly recommend this book for it's originality and exciting tales of a time we have missed.
I rate this a solid 9.5 out of 10 on the dogcat scale and hope you can get a copy.
PS - I found a cheap copy on Abebooks.com . Mike Resnick put together a series of Africana books that has been reprinted (not very well however) and are easy to find for a reasonable price. I do not collect rare books, so I am always looking for a "deal". The copy I have is cheaply bound but ok. I wish Safari Press had reprinted this book in their usual excellent manner.