TITLE: Hunting Trips In The Land Of The Dragon: Anglo & American Sportsmen Afield In Old China, 1870-1940
AUTHOR: by Dr. Kenneth P. Czech
PUBLISHER: Safari Press Inc.
DISTRIBUTOR: Safari Press Inc.
Hunting Trips In The Land Of The Dragon: Anglo & American Sportsmen Afield In Old China, 1870-1940CONTACT:
Safari Press Inc.
15621 Chemical Lane
Building B
Huntington Beach, CA 92649-1500

WEBSITE: Sarfari Press, Inc.
PHONE: Phone (7-4) 894-9080
COST $34.95 + S/H; Hardcover, dust jacket, 227 pages, black-white photos and drawings; Safari Press titles are available only from the publisher

The author of this book is noteworthy for many reasons. He is a very great bibliographer, an historian and a man deeply in love with old books, primarily hunting books.

This book, a collection of stories previously written by a wide variety of authors, covers early hunting trips to China over a 70-year period (1870-1940) when superb sport could be found in this vast country. Twenty-seven chapters, and a brief bibliography of titles written by the authors, rounds out this book. It is accompanied by old photos and modern drawings by Clive Kay.

The authors, some well known and others who will appear unknown to all but dedicated bibliophiles, cover the wealth of talent through this remote country, especially in the 19th Century. Authors include

William Spencer Percival
Ernest Henry Wilson
Henling Thomas Wade,
Christopher Cradock
Thomas R. Jernigan
Arthur de Carle Sowerby
Joseph Clark Grew
Harry Caldwell
A. E. Leatham
W. N. Fergusson
Samuel J. Stone
Roy Chapmen Andrews
H. Frank Wallace
J. Wong-Quincey
Earl of Ronaldshay
Percy W. Church
Harry Caldwell
Frederick (Gillett)
St. George Littledale
J. N. Price Wood
K. Pigot
J. H. Miller and
Kermit and Theodore Roosevelt

The animals and birds taken by these hunters, many of whom were British civil servants, offered a vast wealth of dangerous and non-dangerous game from that area. Animals hunted and written about include

blue sheep
brown bear
Ovis poli
panda bear
water deer
yak and
other wild game

Much of the hunting that takes place in this book is from a far different and earlier era, one where much of the game taken fed the hunters and support personnel to the hunt. Some of the animals were taken on scientific expeditions, and much of it was later mounted to museum standards.

It should be stated that hunts in those days, when there were no bag limits, mean a great deal of killing. The shooting of game — lots of game — was something that took place in that era, and the author chronicles the hunts as the authors wrote of them. In some cases the killing in those days, if judged by today’s standards, would have been excessive.

Ken Czech is a fine editor and writer, and above all, he is a wonderful historian about sporting books of an earlier era. This is proven by the three-page bibliography at the rear of the book which covers 48 titles written by the original authors.

A sample chapter from each book is provided by Czech, and the language is also that of an earlier time. It’s wise to remember that most of such early safaris were conducted by wealthy sportsmen or civil servants who hunted during their vacation periods.

Hanker for a written taste of what hunting in remote areas of China was like back in those days, than this is a great place to start. These areas, for the most part, were difficult and time consuming to reach under some of the harshest conditions, often in trackless terrain.

It is a well researched book by Dr. Czech, and it will make a welcome addition to any hunter’s library.

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Written on July 14th, 2008 , Book Reviews Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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