Red Strangers by Elspeth Huxley 1st / 1st 1939

Red Strangers by Elspeth Huxley 1st / 1st 1939


First UK edition and first print published by Chatto & Windus in 1939. This is a very good copy. The wrapper has some minor loss to the top edge of the front panel and there is some wear to the corners and spine ends. It is in a reasonably complete condition and a better example than is usually found. It is not price clipped. The boards of the book are very clean and there is very little foxing at all. A previous owner has put a cross through a bookplate of another previous owner and written his name on the front free end paper. Otherwise the pages are very clean, as are the plates. Overall a very good copy.


pic in its scale, Red Strangers spans four generations of a Kikuyu family in Africa and their relationship with European settlers, who were nicknamed "red" strangers due to their sunburns. The book, by describing a Kenyan tribe and their way of life, with its rituals, its beliefs, its codes and its morality, shows European customs in stark, unflattering contrast with Kikuyu traditions. The differences in cultural attitudes to war, methods of cultivation, the administering of justice, and the use of money are played out in this semi-fictional view of the damaging forces of colonisation.


In 1998 the British biologist Richard Dawkins wrote an article of appreciation for the novel in the Financial Times, challenging "any reputable publisher to bring out a copy of their own." Penguin Books subsequently published the novel in February 1999, with Dawkins' article as the foreword. His article was reprinted in A Devil's Chaplain (2003).


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