Hardcover, 271 Pages.
Well into the 19th century, most of the interior of tropical Africa was terra incognitae. Aptly styled the “Dark Continent,” wildest Africa was unknown, unexplored and unhunted. With the dawning of the Victorian era, however, all that changed. Driven by the allure of incredible hunting opportunities and the opportunity to win lasting fame through geographical discovery, intrepid individuals sought fame and fortune in the vast area where ancient maps carried notations such as “here be dragons.”
The era of pioneering adventurers in Africa roughly coincided with the reigns of Queen Victoria and her son, King Edward VII, and most of these intrepid individuals were drawn to the continent by mixed motivations, including the thrill of the chase, opportunities for geographical discoveries such as locating the source of the Nile, riches and the lure of the unknown. The result was an era spanning roughly three generations, when Africa was “opened up” and European powers established their imperial presence. It was also a time of sporting grandeur the likes of which the world has never known. Hunting virgin lands and trekking unknown terrain, a daring and incredibly hardy breed of men shared the wonders of what they experienced with enthralled audiences back home in Britain and elsewhere.
This account looks at some of the mightiest and most mesmerizing of these Nimrods, chronicling their careers while highlighting their eccentricities, delving into the factors that drove them, and sharing their achievements. Each profile is accompanied by a selection from published accounts by these pioneers of African sport, and dozens of vintage photographs and captivating pieces of art that offer a striking visual accompaniment to this saga of splendid sport.
Great editors do not earn the respect of their peers by simply putting the commas in all the right places. Or tracking down prose gremlins such as dangling participles. Great editors find things.
Jim Casada has long ago qualified as a great editor. When you thought you had used up all the Robert Ruark books and stories, Jim found more Robert Ruark treasures, unpublished in books. He pulled off the same feat with Archibald Rutledge and others. And while sharing unpublished works as a publisher himself, many of the classic titles in outdoor literature have been made available through Jim’s efforts.
Jim Casada’s prose reads with homespun freshness, whether the text is about his favorite pursuits, turkey or quail, or revealing the latest discoveries gleaned from his vast reading experiences. As a columnist and feature writer for Sporting Classics magazine and author of many books, including his touching autobiography, A Smoky Mountain Boyhood, Jim’s byline has always been a familiar and welcome sight.
Lords of the Veldt & Vlei: Africa’s Pioneer Hunters is published by Sporting Classics and Live Oak Press. Its focus through 17 chapters, including gut-wrenching illustrations and old photographs, takes us back to the years 1837-1910, when the first English and European hunters were going into Africa. With Jim as guide, we follow now-legendary hunters into Africa’s greatest gamefields, where their adventures tested their survival as much as hunting skills. As an authority on African hunting and the authors who have published books on the subject, Jim has no peers. And, by the way, in the new book, the commas are in the right places.
— Lamar Underwood is the former editor of Sports Afield and Outdoor Life and the editor and compiler of 18 anthologies with subjects ranging from hunting and fishing to survival, flying and other topics. He is also the author of a well-received novel, On Dangerous Ground.
At last, a scholarly opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the most colorful characters in Africa’s rich history of dangerous game hunting! In Lords of the Veldt & Vlei: Africa’s Pioneer Hunters, author Jim Casada exercises his able research and writing skills to bring to life many of the early hunting icons who dared to enter the dark world of mostly unexplored Africa in search of exploration fame, adventure and fortune. Casada does not disappoint the serious student of the early history of African hunting. From William Cornwallis Harris to Theodore Roosevelt, each selected hunter is given a biography, bibliographical notes and a story, written by the hunter himself, of one of his adventures.
Lords of the Veldt and Vlei: Africa’s Pioneering Hunters brings the glory days of African hunting to the reader in an entertaining style and can be a springboard into deeper understanding of some of the most interesting and daring hunters in history.
— J. Wayne Fears, author of Hunting North America’s Big Bear, The Complete Book of Outdoor Survival, and Hunting Whitetails Successfully.
About the Author
Jim Casada is a son of the North Carolina Smokies who says “a corner of my soul still belongs to the high country.” His formal education includes a B. A. in history from King University, M. A. in British history from Virginia Tech and Ph. D. in British imperial history from Vanderbilt University. In many senses this book is an outgrowth of his doctoral dissertation, which focused on 19th century British explorers in Africa. He taught at Winthrop University from 1971-1996 before taking early retirement to write fulltime on the outdoors. He has been a Fellow at the University of Edinburgh’s Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities along with holding research grants from the American Philosophical Society, National Sporting Library and Museum and other organizations.
A full-time freelancer for the last quarter of a century, Casada has won upwards of 200 craft awards from regional and national organizations for his writing and photography. He writes a weekly newspaper column and holds or has held masthead positions with a number of magazines. The Editor-at-Large and Book Columnist for Sporting Classics, Casada has been connected with the magazine virtually from its inception. This is his 16th original book and he has edited and compiled numerous others. His articles number more than 5,000 in all, and over the course of his career his byline has appeared in virtually every major outdoor-related magazine.
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