By Brian Smith
The Horn of the Hunter is one of my favorite pieces of safari literature by one of my favorite authors, Robert C. Ruark. This book tells of a safari that Ruark and his wife Virginia embarked upon in the early 1950s. They were guided by Harry Selby who began his career under the tutelage of the legendary hunter, Philip Percival, regarded by many as the Dean of African Hunters. Percival was part of Theodore Roosevelt’s famed 1909-1910 safari, as well as guiding for Baron Rothschild and Ernest Hemingway on African hunts.
I have been to Africa on several safaris and hunted dangerous game. In my opinion, Horn of the Hunter captures the spirit and the romance of the African safari as well as any book I have read on the subject. There’s an understanding here that hunting is more than killing. The dialogue is interesting and Ruark is witty and talented. His descriptions of the animals and the country are superb. The book is also illustrated by Ruark, and the drawings are quite good. In the text, you will discover fear, anxiety, restlessness, pride, triumph, and in the end, respect and joy.