The Ivory Raiders.London: William Heinemann, Ltd., 1923 Stock Code: 143153
First edition, first impression, of this surprisingly scarce and colourful memoir of service in "that wild district to the north-west of Kenya Colony bordering on the western shores of Lake Rudolf, and separated from Abyssinia (on the map) by a strip of Soudan territory" (introduction). Importantly, it gives the British view of the campaign against the Turkana people of Kenya.
At the end of the 19th century Swahili and Arab traders pressed into Turkana country seeking ivory. King Menelik of Abyssinia also wished to bring the Turkana into his domain. "As Abyssinian influence expanded and the interruption caused by intertribal raiding intensified the British began to worry about the effect that the insecurity in the north would have on the settled areas of the south" (McCabe, p. 201). The British took punitive action in 1905 and again in 1915, concluding in 1918 when the British launched the Labur Patrol, the object of which "was to directly confront the Turkana-Abyssinian military forces and defeat them in battle The British patrol was much larger than any previously assembed" (ibid.). The result was the breaking of the Abyssinian- Turkana alliance.
The author, Harry Rayne (1879-1950), was a New Zealander who had served with the Mounted Rifles in the Boer War and then with the King's African Rifles, before joining the British East Africa Police at Mombasa, at one time serving as admin officer in Jubaland, southern Somalia. It has been suggested by one author that in Kenya Rayne was involved in "illicit elephant hunting" (C. S. Nicholls, Red Strangers: The White Tribe of Kenya, 2005, p. 66).
Provenance: pencil ownership inscription to front free endpaper of James J. Davidson, Orkney, a member of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland; bookplate (overlying an earlier) and neat ownership stamp of Alexander de Fe (d. 1998), a prominent figure in the diving community and former vice-president of CMAS ; and, although unmarked as such, from the library of John Kingsley-Heath (d. 2011), who ran African safaris for more than half a century and was the author of Hunting the Dangerous Game of Africa (1998); see The Telegraph obituary 17 June 2011.
Octavo. Original red cloth, spine and front cover lettered and decorated in yellow.
Frontispiece, 27 half-tone plates from photographs and folding sketch map at p. 98.
Spine cocked and sunned, touch of foxing to edges of book block. A very good copy.
J. Terence McCabe, "The Failure to Encapsulate: Resistance to the Penetration of Capitalism by the Turkana of Kenya", in Chang & Koster (eds.), Pastoralists at the Periphery: Herders in a Capitalist World (1994).
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