West with the Night
The publisher calls this a "classic, engrossing memoir—a triumph of the pioneer spirit and an adventure-charged chronicle of a life lived to the fullest." Beryl Markham was an amazing woman, and one of the first people to successfully cross the Atlantic by plane. Yet she's not nearly as well known as others who share her arial accomplishments. In her autobiography, she preserves the moments that meant the most to her—from her childhood, spent in Africa with her British colonial family, to her adult years, when she became the first professional pilot in Africa and successfully crossed the Atlantic, alone. The title refers to the fact that when she flew, she was mostly in the dark.
The classic memoir of Africa, aviation, and adventure—the inspiration for Paula McLain’s Circling the Sun and “a bloody wonderful book” (Ernest Hemingway). Beryl Markham’s life story is a true epic. Not only did she set records and break barriers as a pilot, she shattered societal expectations, threw herself into torrid love affairs, survived desperate crash landings—and chronicled everything.
A contemporary of Karen Blixen (better known as Isak Dinesen, the author of Out of Africa), Markham left an enduring memoir that soars with astounding candor and shimmering insights. A rebel from a young age, the British-born Markham was raised in Kenya’s unforgiving farmlands. She trained as a bush pilot at a time when most Africans had never seen a plane. In 1936, she accepted the ultimate challenge: to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean from east to west, a feat that fellow female aviator Amelia Earhart had completed in reverse just a few years before. Markham’s successes and her failures—and her deep, lifelong love of the “soul of Africa”—are all told here with wrenching honesty and agile wit.
Hailed as “one of the greatest adventure books of all time” by Newsweek and “the sort of book that makes you think human beings can do anything” by the New York Times, West with the Night remains a powerful testament to one of the iconic lives of the twentieth century.