cover image The Kenya Pioneers

The Kenya Pioneers

Errol Trzebinski. W. W. Norton & Company, $19.95 (240pp) ISBN 978-0-393-02287-2

The white pioneer phase of Kenya's history spans the years from 1896, when three couples landed on the coast, to 1920, when the protectorate became a crown colony. Hugh Cholmondeley, 3rd Baron Delamere, was the best-known settler, but this book shows that liberated gentlewomen and adventurous Jews were among the more interesting figures in Kenyan historyincluding Cara Buxton, who walked all the way from the North African coast to Nairobi; silver-tongued Ewart Grogan, who outdid her and won his bride by walking from the Cape to Cairo and who by the time he died at 92 had acquired over half a million acres of land; and Vilna-born Abraham Lazarus Block, who in a mule cart delivered milk in old whiskey bottles and despite the rampant anti-Semitism eventually became an industrialist, hotel owner and ""barometer of the financial climate.'' There's little here about Isak Dinesen and Denys Finch Hatton, but enthusiastic viewers of Out of Africa will find parts of this book incidental background reading. Photos. (April 14)