Horn of the Hunter: The Story of an African Safari

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Hardcover, 310 pages. 

“The hunter’s horn sounds early for some, later for others. For some unfortunates, poisoned by city sidewalks and sentenced to a cement jungle more horrifying than anything to be found in Tanganyika, the horn of the hunter never winds at all.  But deep in the gut of most men is buried the involuntary response to the hunter’s horn, a prickle of the nape hairs, an acceleration of the pulse, an atavistic memory of their forefathers, who killed first with stone, and then with club, and then with spear, and then with bow, and then with gun, and finally with formulae.”

The horn of the hunter sounded early for for Robert Ruark, and its clean, stirring note finally drew him to the land every hunter longs to see—Africa. There, in the jungles and on the endless plains, Ruark came to know the self-imposed discipline of mile after mile of man-killing treks, the ferocity of the wounded buffalo, and the acid sweat of fear.

Robert Ruark's safari started in Nairobi, where he and his wife, Virginia, hired Harry Selby, one of the best professional hunters in the business. With him came a group of native runners and bearers, a jeep, and a broken-down lorry. Their first campsite was on a grassy knoll overlooking the Grumeti River, where they pitched their tents beneath big thorn acacias, and it was there that Ruark was to meet and conquer his first two lions and his record-breaking buffalo. It was there, too, that Ruark came to love and understand the hideously grinning, carrion-eating hyenas—fisi, the natives laughingly called them. As they laughed, the natives remembered the times fasi had attackted them, asleep, and tried to eat their faces. Ruark came also to know and understand the land in which they hunted. Everywhere they looked there was life... and wherever there was life there was the threat of death.

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