Drawing on her own long association with Markham, as well as diaries, letters, and interviews, Errol Trzebinski unravels the complexities of one of the century's great personalities.Markham's memoir, West with the Night, was rediscovered in 1983 and became an instant bestseller, though shadowed by rumors that Markham was not the actual author. Trzebinski here puts the question of authorship to rest, as she answers many other questions about Markham in this riveting true story of courage, rivalry, sexual intrigue, and revenge.
Abandoned in Africa by her mother, from an early age, she was loosely raised by her father. Working with him to train superb race horses, she acquired a reputation of doing men's work.
With little social skills, and a dire lack of education, she was able to use enough people to scratch and fight her way to the top of inner circles. Dennys Finch Hatton, Bjor Blixen, Karen Blixen, aka Isak Dinesen, and Barkley Cole were but a few of those she claimed as "friends."
Basically, to put it crudely, she slept her way through East Africa, drawing men like moths to a dangerous flame, she cared very little for her reputation, or the emotional turmoil she left behind..
She learned to fly a plane, and to her credit, her book West With the Night outlines her major accomplishment of being the first female to travel cross ocean. However, there is doubt that she actually wrote that book, and instead her former husband most likely penned it for her.
I did enjoy the depiction of East Africa and the ruggedness of that continent at the time of the great white hunters. Beryl Markham was indeed an interesting woman. Tall, beautiful and sensual, she deserves credit for her accomplishments.