Michael R A Hotton
(Tanganyika 1954-58, Kenya 1958-83)
Gordon Mumford relates in the first two books of his trilogy the story of five men
"Mac's Boys" who braved dangers and hardships to pioneer the first VHP system,
the Marconi-48 channel at a power of 10 watts, which was to be the backbone of the
Trunk and Teleprinter Network which served the then, three territories of East Africa.
This system would also open up faster and better communications to the outside world.
The stories cover the period from 1949 to 1958. Living under canvas in remote areas,
their survey took them on safaris ranging from the deserts of the Northern Frontier district to
the heavy seasonal rains, heat, red dust and cold of East Africa's game plains and highest
mountains. They faced weather extremes, wild animals and armed terrorists as well.
The stories are well written "personal accounts" in the style of Edward Rodwell of
Mombasa Coast Causerie fame. Gordon has paid strict attention to geographical detail,
solid technical research and a vivid imagination, coupled with the creative use of Swahili
in his dialogue, making the two books very African and honest; they tell of things the
way they were. Gordon or "little Jim" is a very talented writer. I recommend these
reasonably priced books to any lover of East Africa who would like to add to his
knowledge of Africa and VHP communications.