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Beryl Markham – West With the Night

Beryl Markham was born in England in 1902 but grew up in Kenya with her father, playing with the local children. She became an accomplished racehorse trainer as her father was, then became a bush pilot in the 1920s. In 1937 she became the first woman to complete a solo flight west across the Atlantic (west is harder because the winds tend to blow east).

This is her memoir, of which Ernest Hemingway wrote:

“Did you read Beryl Markham’s book, West with the Night? …She has written so well, and marvelously well, that I was completely ashamed of myself as a writer. I felt that I was simply a carpenter with words, picking up whatever was furnished on the job and nailing them together and sometimes making an okay pig pen. But this girl, who is to my knowledge very unpleasant and we might even say a high-grade bitch, can write rings around all of us who consider ourselves as writers … it really is a bloody wonderful book.”

Her stories are amazing, even more so in the way Markham tells them. This is a great book to read at leisure, and a great gift to give to the readers in your life.

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