BLIGHT OF THE HUNTER
Peter Beard’s photographs record the heyday of the African safari
The End of the Game:
The Last Word from Paradise
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The focus of Peter Beard’s unforgettably illustrated The End of the Game is the damage done by big-game hunting and the incursion of railways to wildlife and indigenous culture in early-twentieth-century Kenya. “The deeper [the white man] went into Africa,” Beard writes, “the faster the life flowed out of it, off the plains and out of the bush and into the cities, vanishing in acres of trophies and hides and carcasses.” This is very well put, but Beard’s chosen generation of white settlers was not wholly responsible, instead merely accelerating a process that had started centuries earlier, when Europeans and Arabs first brought guns to Africa.
The history of this destruction actually stretches back to around 1700, when the Dutch were selling twenty thousand tons of gunpowder annually along the West African coast.
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