Sunday, July 20, 2014

Handbook to British East Africa and Uganda

Anyone planning an African expedition in the classic era will enjoy the Handbook to British East Africa and Uganda.  Although it dates to 1912 it's filled with the kind of color that really brings something like Masks of Nyarlathotep alive.  That includes a helpful list of supplies for a three year expedition, recommendations for clothing, the intricacies of tribal relations, and two traveler's dictionaries for the local languages.

You'll also find a heaping dose of the casual racism of the colonial period, including multiple instances of the natives being referred to as "niggers", so be forewarned.  What makes it even more surreal is that the author seems to have a genuine appreciation for the people and cultures of the region.  One section includes a telling comparison of the supplies needed by Europeans with the minimal requirements of the locals. 


CoastConFan said...

That’s a great score, thanks Propnomicon! The Internet Archive is a superb source for books, articles and documents. I’m sorry I don’t go there as often as I should when looking for items.

Speaking of British East Africa, let’s don’t forget German East Africa (Tanganyika) as a source of game scenarios and props. The book and movie The African Queen, involves British citizens fighting a German gunboat on Lake Tanganyika in WWI (note the book and the film varies in the ending). It’s a heck of a setting for a scenario.

Ministry Minion said...

Old guides tend to be very quaint when it comes to insulting Johnny Foreigner.
I recently acquired a French Tourist's Guide to England.
"English food is not varied. Our pot-au-feu is mostly unknown. The three or four soups that one may occasionally find at rare intervals during dinner, resemble thick and strongly spiced sauces in which float some grilled croûtons. Roast beef is nearly always accompanied by horseradish, sometimes "suet dumplings" [in English in the text] large dough balls, heavy and difficult to digest. To eat with beef steak and chops, there is on the table an assortment of more or less exotic sauces, in bottles; for all dishes and in all colours. Their taste is generally acrid and spicy, with an unappetizing varnish smell."
And that's barely half of that paragraph.

Markus said...

Such old books are really great resources. I´ve also found some very interesting books about expeditions to Africa from around 1900, both in English and German. I am especially interested in such things due to my personal interest in zoology and ethnology. I read for example a book by Hans Schomburgk, who discovered the pygmy hippo, and another one from Otto Schulz-Kampfhenkel who organized in 1931 at the age of just 21 years an expedition to Liberia to catch rare animals for zoos and collections. This book is particularly interesting, because he wrote in detail about all the problems with equipment, food and other stuff, like health problems due to the wet climate and such things.