From 1914 to 1931, Danish aristocrat Baroness Karen
Blixen owned and operated a coffee plantation in Kenya. After the
plantation failed, she returned to Europe and began to write
under the pen name Isak Dinesen. Out of Africa reads like a
collection of stories in which she adheres to no strict
chronology, gives no explanation of the facts of her life, and
apologizes for nothing. First published in 1937, Out of Africa is
not free of the colonial or racist attitudes of its time; yet,
within that context, Isak Dinesen is an enlightened observer and
participant as she describes the experience of British East
Africa before World War II. She portrays in rich detail the vast
land around her, alive with strange and wonderful human
populations; the thrilling terror of a nocturnal lion hunt; a
shooting accident among the Africans on her farm and its
repercussions; raising and freeing an orphaned antelope fawn;
getting to know the Africans and the colonial adventurers who
found their way into her life. "If I know a song of Africa," she
writes, "of the Giraffe, and the African new moon lying on her
back, of the ploughs in the fields, and the sweaty faces of the
coffee-pickers, does Africa know a song of me?" Out of Africa is
that song. -- For great reviews of books for girls, check out
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review by Lynne Auld
From the Inside Flap
In this book, the author of Seven Gothic Tales gives
a true account of her life on her plantation in Kenya. She tells
with classic simplicity of the ways of the country and the
natives: of the beauty of the Ngong Hills and coffee trees in
blossom: of her guests, from the Prince of Wales to Knudsen, the
old charcoal burner, who visited her: of primitive festivals: of
big game that were her near neighbors--lions, rhinos, elephants,
zebras, buffaloes--and of Lulu, the little gazelle who came to
live with her, unbelievably ladylike and beautiful.
The Random House colophon made its debut in February 1927 on the
cover of a little pamphlet called "Announcement Number One."
Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer, the company's founders, had
acquired the Modern Library from publishers Boni and Liveright
two years earlier. One day, their friend the illustrator Rockwell
Kent stopped by their office. Cerf later recalled, "Rockwell was
sitting at my desk facing Donald, and we were talking about doing
a few books on the side, when suddenly I got an inspiration and
said, 'I've got the name for our publishing house. We just said
we were go-ing to publish a few books on the side at random.
Let's call it Random House.' Donald liked the idea, and Rockwell
Kent said, 'That's a great name. I'll draw your trademark.' So,
sitting at my desk, he took a piece of paper and in five minutes
drew Random House, which has been our colophon ever since."
Throughout the years, the mission of Random House has remained
consistent: to publish books of the highest quality, at random.
We are proud to continue this tradition today.
This edition is set from the first American edition of 1937 and
commemorates the seventy-fifth anniversary of Random House.
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Out of Africa (Modern Library 100 Best Nonfiction Books)