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A brilliant new biography by the acclaimed author of CHERRY and TERRA INCOGNITA.

Conservationist, scholar, soldier, white hunter and fabled lover – Denys Finch Hatton was an aristocrat of leonine nonchalance. After a dazzling career at Eton and Oxford, he sailed in 1910 for British East Africa. There he first had an affair with the glamorous aviatrix Beryl Markham, and then – famously – with Karen Blixen, a romance immortalised in her memoir Out of Africa. 'No one who ever met him,’ his Times obituary concluded, ‘whether man or woman, old or young, white or black, failed to come under his spell.’
TOO CLOSE TO THE SUN is a story of big guns and small planes, princes from England and sultans from Zanzibar, marauding lions, syphilis, self-destruction and the tragedy of the human heart. Sara Wheeler tracks her quarry from a dreamlike Edwardian childhood in a Lincolnshire mansion through to the battlefields of the East African campaign – one of the last remaining untold stories of the First World War. An elusive hero in the mythic story of the British settlers in East Africa, Finch Hatton was the open road made flesh, and Wheeler uses his biography to illuminate a generation.

Reviews

A good story... a fitting memorial

Observer

A fascinating story of a man trying to outrun the social upheavals of the twentieth century

Herald

Wheeler has made excellent use of the sources at hand... Moreover, Wheeler writes well, and has a gift - shared by only very few - for pinning down the smells and atmosphere of the African landscape

Literary Review

She dazzles the reader with an evocation of time and place.. her description of the east Africa Campaign is detailed and enthralling

Keith Dovkants, Scotsman

She writes beautifully, with a vivid turn of phrase, a sound grasp of history and an impish humour

Andrew Lycett, Sunday Times

A richly, indeed sensually atmospheric book... Wheeler writes in headily evocative style

Sunday Telegraph

An engrossing book

Hilary Spurling, Daily Telegraph

Wheeler has a sharp eye for lustrous detail, and her comic touch is sure

Henry Hitchens, Times Literary Supplement

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780099450276

    May 1, 2007

    Vintage

    304 pages

    RRP $24.99

    Online retailers

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    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9781407052786

    July 1, 2010

    Vintage Digital

    304 pages

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