The Lives of Beryl Markham: Out of Africa's Hidden Heroine: Denys Finch Hatton's Last Great Love

Errol Trzebinski, Author, Errol Trezebinski, Author W. W. Norton & Company $27.5 (0p) ISBN 978-0-393-03556-8
Svelte, tall, glamorous, vain, nervy pilot Beryl Markham (1902-1986) won fame with her transatlantic solo flight in 1936. In a magnificent, enthralling biography, Trzebinski peels away the layers of myth in Markham's popular memoir, West with the Night , to reveal a sexually insatiable woman whose charisma concealed a selfish, ruthless, insecure self-doubter. Trzebinski knew Markham for many years in Kenya, where the future ace pilot, racehorse trainer and royal courtesan to Edward, Prince of Wales and to the Duke of Gloucester was raised by her English father, a rampant colonialist, and by Masai servants. Beryl's mother abandoned her at age four, instilling a lifelong mistrust of women. The gutsy aviator's obsessive affair with rakish pilot/safari hunter Denys Finch Hatton, whose other mistress was Danish Baroness Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen), is fully disclosed here. (Trzebinski charted the Hatton/Blixen romance in Silence Will Speak. ) Also presented is compelling evidence that West with the Night was written by Markham's third husband, Hollywood ghostwriter Raoul Schumacher, a contention that could trigger a lively literary controversy because, in her 1987 Markham biography, Straight on Till Morning , Mary S. Lovell vehemently disputes this. Photos. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/02/1993
Release date: 08/01/1993
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 448 pages - 978-0-393-31252-2
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