West with the Night Book Summary - West with the Night Book explained in key points

West with the Night summary

Beryl Markham

Brief summary

West with the Night is a captivating memoir by Beryl Markham. Set in Africa, it tells the inspiring story of her adventurous life as a pioneering aviator and horse trainer, showcasing her remarkable courage and passion.

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    West with the Night
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    Beryl Markham's Early Life and Love for Africa

    In West with the Night, Beryl Markham takes us on a journey through her enchanting life experiences in East Africa. Born in England, Beryl moved to Kenya when she was four years old. Her mother returned to England shortly after, but her father stayed, instilling in Beryl a profound love for Africa and its wild landscape. Amid the verdant highlands of Kenya, Beryl developed a fondness for adventure and a deep appreciation for the local people and their customs.

    Following the failing fortunes of their family farm, Beryl, then a teenager, began her career as a racehorse trainer. Despite the societal expectations for women of her time, she penetrated this male-dominated profession with resilience and quickly earned recognition as a successful trainer. Along the way, Beryl encountered various challenges, but her independence and audacity saw her through.

    Becoming an Aviatrix in the Heart of Africa

    While Beryl was established in her horse training career, a chance meeting with Tom, a friend, triggered her interest in flying. She developed a fascination for aircraft, which led to her pivot from training horses racing on the ground to flying planes above the African skies. With Tom's encouragement and support, Beryl became the first female pilot in East Africa, taking on jobs that ranged from delivering mail to spotting game animals.

    In West with the Night, Markham narrates her thrilling adventures as a pilot, including flying over dangerous terrains and dealing with aircraft malfunctions. Beryl handles all crises with unwavering nerve, facing each near-death experience with astounding composure. Yet her deepest affection always remains with the African wilderness and its inhabitants.

    The Historic Transatlantic Flight

    Undeterred by the fatal accidents of several pilots, Beryl decided to undertake a daring flight across the Atlantic. She intended to fly from England to New York, a feat only attempted by a few aviators. Drawing upon her tremendous courage, Beryl embarked on this audacious journey, alone, in her single-engine plane.

    The flight, however, did not proceed as planned. Beryl battled fierce storms, an iced-over windshield, and a failing engine. Despite all odds, she landed in Nova Scotia, thereby becoming the first person to make a transatlantic flight from east to west. Beryl's astounding determination and skill made headlines worldwide, further solidifying her legacy as an exceptional aviatrix.

    Looking Back at an Extraordinary Life

    In West with the Night, Beryl retrospectively narrates her intriguing life experiences, intermingling tales of her flying adventures with recollections of her beloved African bush. Her narrative is endowed with keen observations, capturing the beauty of the lands she traversed and the people she encountered.

    The book concludes by taking us back to Africa, where, despite all her incredible journeys, Beryl feels most at home. Her love for the continent is all-encompassing, embracing not only its mesmerizing landscapes but also its people and their cultures. As Beryl reminiscences about the past, it becomes evident that her pioneering spirit was nurtured and spurred on by her deep connection with the extensive, untamed expanses of Africa.

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    What is West with the Night about?

    West with the Night is an incredible memoir by Beryl Markham where she chronicles her amazing adventures as a female aviator in the early 20th century. From her childhood in Kenya to her record-breaking solo flight across the Atlantic, Markham paints a vivid picture of her life filled with courage, independence, and a deep love for the African landscape. It's an inspiring and beautifully written book that will captivate readers from start to finish.

    Who should read West with the Night?

    • Adventure enthusiasts and travel lovers
    • Those interested in inspirational stories of incredible women
    • Readers seeking beautifully written memoirs with vivid descriptions of Africa

    About the Author

    Beryl Markham was a British-born adventurer, aviator, and author. She is best known for her memoir, 'West with the Night', which chronicles her remarkable life in Kenya. Markham made history as the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic from east to west. Her writing captures the spirit of adventure and showcases her love for Africa. In addition to 'West with the Night', Markham also wrote articles for various magazines and contributed to the collective memoir, 'Nobody Said Not to Go: The Life, Loves, and Adventures of Emily Hahn'.

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