The British Empire Library

A Zoo Without Bars: Life in the East African Bush 1927-1932

by T A M Nash

Courtesy of OSPA

Review by Anthony Kirk-Greene (N Nigeria 1950-66)
This is a fine, friendly autobiographical account of the six years that the acclaimed trypanosomiasis authority. Dr. T. A. M. Nash, spent in pre-war Tanganyika Territory (1927-1932). "Solo and Safari" , "Visitors and Other Happenings", "A Small Wife in a Small Station", all the pain and pleasure of a Colonial Service career in inter-war Africa is here, perceptive, authentic, evocative and, in the hands of such a good writer, just made for a good read. It amply fulfils the author's aim of being a book for the reader "who is interested in the living conditions, the wildlife, the peasant and the European characters who gave him so much to laugh at". Honestly, Nash admits that in the 1930s none of those Europeans dreamed of independence in their time. There is an immaculate index of place and personal names.

Along with Noel Vicars-Harris, Nash was the last survivor of C. F. M. Swynnerton's remarkable four-man research team: Swynnerton himself, who had been head of the Game Preservation Department and Tsetse Fly Control, died in an air crash near Dodoma in June 1938, tragically en route to Dar es Salaam to receive his C.M.G. In a real sense, this memoir serves as a memorial to Swynnerton (and to Nash's domestic servants, Musa Chilwa and Saidi Abdullah). Those who knew T. A. M. Nash during his following twenty-six years in Nigeria may feel envious that he has given his East African reminiscences priority over his West African ones, but his strict sense of chronology could let him do no other... and he has thoughtfully deposited his Nigerian diaries and papers with the Colonial Service archive in Rhodes House Library, Oxford.

British Empire Book
T A M Nash
Wayte Binding


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