Peter Hathaway Capstick was a professional hunter and guide in waning days of the African safari hunting era. He was also a fine writer. I first found a book by him on my grandfather’s coffee table. Entitled Death in the Long Grass, it was Mr. Capstick’s first book. It is a collection of stories about guiding hunters on safari and about hunting things that hunt you back. Written in a tongue-in-cheek style like we are sitting all just sitting around a dying campfire with a bottle of whiskey, these tales pull you in. Each chapter a new animal and new set of stories.
I will never hunt in Africa. Time and money alone makes this a fact. But even if money was no object, the world has changed, and the opportunities to hunt like he did are mostly gone. His stories remain, and if you want to catch a glimpse of what it was to take a shotgun into heavy brush to try to root out a wounded leopard, to stand and shoulder a rifle as a cape buffalo charges, or even consider death by hyena, this is the book.
I speak of Africa and golden joys; the joy of wandering through lonely lands; the joy of hunting the mighty and terrible lords of the wilderness, the cunning, the wary, and the grim.