Wednesday, December 29, 2010

WILBUR SMITH--Collectable South African Author.

These days Wilbur Smith appears to be the byword in all current books Southern African and as time goes by his books ,particularly the Heinemann published series dating back to 1964,become more and more sought after,particularly but not necessarily only the 'first' editions.
His first book, under the full name of Wilbur A Smith,was  'When the Lion Feeds' an epic based in Natal and then the 'Goldfields', covering the last quarter of the nineteenth century and featured the Garrick family and their activities.Books like this and others that succeeded it,such as 'Dark as the Sun' and 'The Sound of Thunder' and many others,all published by Heinemann in London,are getting harder to find particularly 'first editions' and in good condition.
A word about 'first editions'.In some cases when advance publicity increases inital demand above expectation,a second print run takes place 'before publication' and the books concerned  bear the statement 're-printed before publication'.This is true of  'When the Lion Feeds' and whilst the purists may not agree in my opinion these books should be regarded as 'First Editions'.Any other reprints do not qualify although there are a number which are reprinted in the same month after publication ! Again people collect what they want to collect but it does have a bearing on the price.
Of course MacMillan took over publication later and many of these books are collectable.
Apart from the collection aspect Wilbur Smith's stories are very readable whether in hard or soft cover !

On my web site "' you will find a specific  category "Wilbur Smith" where currently 27 of his titles are listed.If I can assist you at all in finding any titles not listed please complete the 'book finding' section on my web site.It is free of charge.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

BENJAMIN BENNETT----South Africa's Greatest True Crime Reporter/Author

During his 25years as a crime reporter with the Cape Argus, Benjamin Bennett wrote many books on serious crime, particularly murder, and was acknowledged as the leading author in this genre,at the time,
so much so it is generally understood that he was consulted by the police when investigating some complicated and mysterious crimes.
His many books,some of which are listed below,reflect his close involvement ,both at the crime scene and also in the courtroom where he was regularly seen with pen and notebook in hand !
His books are a jolly good and fascinating read.

Book List:-

They Crossed my Path
Too late For Tears
The Clues Condemn
The Evil That Men Do
Murder is My Business
Why Did They Do It ?
And Your Verdict?
Destiny Comes Too Soon
Freedom--Or The Gallows
Murder Will Speak
The Amazing Case of the Baron von Schauroth.
The Cohen Case.

2nd List To Follow Shortly

ERIC ROSENTHAL------List of Publications----Part 1

Memories and Sketches
From Drury Lane to Mecca
Old Time Survivals in South Africa
Stars and Stripes in Africa
The Fall of East Africa
Fortress on Sand
General Dan Pienaar
Japan's Bid for Africa
General de Wet
Gold Bricks and Mortar
African Switzerland
The South African Saturday Book
Homes of the Golden City
They Walk in the Night
South African Jews in World War 2
Here are Diamonds
The Hinges Creaked
Shelter from the Spray
Shells to Shillings
Other Men's Millions
Cutlass and Yardarm
Today's News Today
The Changing Years
River of Diamonds.

Part 2 ---To follow shortly

Sunday, October 3, 2010


A great chronicler of the history of South African industry is C.P.Cartwright , possibly better known for his biographies and company histories.For example his excellent biography of Sir Percy Fitzpatrick,who although is naturally known for his "Jock of the Bushveld",virtually everybody's favourite book !,had a very interesting and varied life that A P Cartwright  illustrated in a very well written biography'
His books on gold and diamond mining and the production of dynamite are classics of the genre.
A list of his books will also be published shortly.


I mentioned in an earlier post the name of Eric Rosenthal who most of us will remember  from his broadcasting days but on closer examination of his life I discovered that he was probably South Africa's most prolific author of non-fiction on a very varied selection of subjects. Here was a writer on such different subjects which include the history of broadcasting,the production and consumption of beer,the story of the old Carlton Hotel and a biography of General de Wet and many others,mostly relative to South Africa.I plan to publish a complete of his 49 books shortly.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Taking a short break recently I was able to get my nose into a copy of ,what is considered the greatest  of T.V.Bulpin's stories, "The Ivory Trail" and what a story it is !.Bvekenya the Shanganes called him-'The one who swaggers as he walks'.Just reading the 'Prelude' was enough to enthrall me and,no doubt many others before me.He was a legend of the bush and no yarn could be told about the bush without Bvekenya's name cropping up.His real name was Cecil Barnard but he always added 'better known as Bvekenya !' Born in 1886 in  the small village of Knysna he soon became  familiar with the local elephants , a passion that he enjoyed all his life.
The book in 18 chapters takes the reader through his many adventures at a time when the elephant roamed the bush and was of course hunted for his tusks.Illustrated throughout by the attractively graphic and much admired C T Astley Maberly ,Bvekenya's many adventures along the "Ivory Trail' are brilliantly told.

Find a copy . you will enjoy it !

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

T.V.Bulpin 1918-1999

Thomas Victor Bulpin can truly be described as a great South African writer,one who travelled the length and breadth of the country in search of history, places and peoples,whether they were black, white,coloured or Bushmen yellow.Essentially Bulpin was a travel writer but he really was more than that.Like his contemporary Lawrence Green, he revelled in making  friends,discovering new flowers and plants,enjoying the various foods he found as well as the sounds and melodies of Africa,new and old.Whilst his books are well known with enticing titles like 'Shaka's Country','The Ivory Trail','The Hunter is Death' and so on, he also wrote more than 2000 booklets, leaflets and magazine features.He also published books.He was rightly described as the "Doyen "of  African travel  writers.
I shall concentrate on his books and below you will find a list which I am told is incomplete.I will welcome any additions.
I hope from time to time to enlarge on the subject of some of the titles which might be helpful in identifying a particular genre.

T.V.BULPIN.......PUBLISHED BOOK LIST.(Probably incomplete)


nb. any questions or information or availability of books can be addressed to:- doug.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

COMING NEXT----All about T.V.Bulpin !

Lawrence Green--Lords of the Last Frontier

Lawrence Green's, "The Last Frontier" is probably the only modern non-political work in English covering the whole story of South West Africa.The author spent 30 years gathering the material for this fascinating narrative.
Here are all the people.White and Black and the little yellow Bushmen.You see the desert coast ,the great cattle and karakul ranches and pleasant towns. Here was the adventure that lingered on the last frontier under the South African flag.
It is a book full of vivid characters,the tough men and fearless women who made the country.It tells the story of what was South West Africa magnificently.
Full of many original illustrations.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Lawrence Green---Eight Bells at Salamander

"Eight Bells at Salamander" was written in 1960 and, as a South African seafaring book is unusual in that it does not rely on recounting the famous wrecks, such as  the Grosvenor, the Birkenhead and the Waratah ,which have been exhaustedly covered in many other books but includes a great deal of material  which will probably be new to most readers.The author made voyages to remote places along the South African coast to sites where many other wrecks had taken place He then conducted research in the files of the British Admiralty and  the British Museum libraries  and the Greenwich Nautical Museum as well as visiting South America to obtain the material on which this fascinating book has been based.
This authentic book includes, many mysteries,prison ships,stolen ships,lost and abandoned ships along the South African coast as well the untold story of the ocean voyage of the Africaaners who set up the their colony in the Argentine.
Immensly readable as all Lawrence Green's stories are.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Lawrence Green----Karoo

Probably Lawrence Green's most popular story was and still appears to be today,at least in my experience,  is "Karoo ",written in 1955, and reprinted almost 20 years later.
It tells the story of all the karoo regions of South Africa, the Great Karoo, Little Karoo and the far corners of the North West Cape and Namaqualand. He describes vividly these great spaces which exert such a peculiar spell over many who pass through them and which create impressions which strike answering chords in the hearts of all South Africans. He brings the empty spaces of the Karoo to life with tales of the Bushmen and the baboons,the springbok,  jackals and sheep; karoo mountains and rivers  and the people and great characters living in karoo solitudes.,
Lawrence Green had an international reputation,and as the London "Times" stated,'Affection for the out-of-the-way places is the secret of Mr.Green's success'

A list of available Lawrence Green titles is available at then click on Africana-Lawrence Green.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Some Information About Lawrence G Green

I will not attempt to write a biography of Lawrence Green as this has already been very well done by  John Yates Benyon in his " Memories of a Friendship" but by way of an introduction I will set an outline of the man and his many books that will I hope assist the reader.
Born at the turn of the 19th Century he saw service in both World Wars,the latter of which created a gap of 6 years in his writing which commenced in 1933 with his first book "The Coast of Treasure" and resumed in 1945 with"Where Men Still Dream".His last book "When the Journey is Over" was published in 1972,shortly before his death. It has been said that no writer captured the atmosphere of the past and present of South Africa over these years as Lawrence Green.He travelled widely throughout Southern Africa and overseas in his capacity as travel writer and journalist, researching and recording his subjects writing virtually a book every year.His books were acclaimed world-wide and to this day are still sought after and collected, particularly the pre-war books, most of which have now been reprinted.
To assist you I am listing in chronological order the 33 books he wrote together with the two which were translated into Afrikaans.
Over the next few weeks I will try and detail each book with a brief summary of the main topic,although many of them appear in my web site,with some under Africana- Lawrence Green.

1.1933. The Coast of Treasure
2,1935. Great African Mysteries
3.1936. Secret Africa
4.1937. The Coast of Diamonds
5.1938. Strange Africa
6.1940. Old Africa Untamed
7.1945. Where Men Still Dream
8.1946. So Few Are Free
9.1947. Tavern of the Seas
10.1948.To the Rivers End
11.1949.In the Land of Afternoon
12.1950.At Daybreak for the Isles
13.1951.Grow Lovely,Growing Old
14.1953.Lords of the Last Frontier
15.1954.Under a Sky Like Flame
17.1956.There's a Secret Hid Away
18.1957.Beyond the City Lights
19.1958.South African Beachcomber
20.1959.These Wonders to Behold
21.1960.Eight Bells at Salamander
22.1961.Great North Road
23.1962.Something Rich and Strange
24.1963.A Decent Fellow Doesn't Work
25.1964.I Heard the Old Men Say
26.1965.Almost Forgotten,Never Told
27.1966.Thunder on the Blaauberg
28.1967.On Wings of Fire
29.1968.Full Many a Glorious Morning
30.1969.Harbours of Memory
31.1970.A Giant in Hiding
32.1971.A Taste of the South Easter
33.1972.When the Journey is Over

In Afrikaans
34.Min Mense is Vry

About Lawrence Green
John Yates-Benyon.....Memories of a Friendship 
Scott Haigh, editor......The Best of Lawrence Green

Friday, August 6, 2010

Welcome to my Blog ! Let's talk about books !

I would like to talk about particular what we now refer to as "Africana" in other words any type of book concerning Southern Africa. Books about all aspects of Southern African life, it's history, peoples and places from it's earliest days.

This is a great country and whether you are at home or far away I shall try and make this blog as interesting, informative and as helpful as possible.

You are welcome to contribute or comment.This blog is connected directly to my web site.... and for direct access to the individual 'categories' such as "Africana-History" and , after perhaps browsing, should you wish to order by following the clear instructions it is simple and straightforward.

There is also a  'Book Finding Service' which is free.Or a simple 'e 'mail to will suffice.
Whilst "Africana "is clearly the main topic, many other 'genre' are featured.

Through the medium of my web site I have been asked many questions about the various authors whose books are featured and indeed about some who were not and who I have since added. Those who are popular and whom I shall feature invidually are :-

                     Lawrence G Green
                     T V Bulpin
                     A P Cartwright
                     H V Morton
                     Eric Rosenthal
                     Hedley A Chilvers
                     and many others.

I also aim to provide for as many authors as possible a list of their published titles .
Please let me know if there is any other information I can supply.