Books and Reading Suggestions
I got a bit carried away, buying over a dozen books in preparation for this trip.
Background and Logistics
We took the Kenya Rough Guide (Amazon, Amazon UK) with us, but because we were on an organised tour most of that wasn't so useful. Camilla used it for some background history, etc. and we used the Nairobi information for our last day.
There are a bucketload of different guidebooks for Kenya, Tanzania, and East Africa.
We also had the Rough Guide map of Kenya and Northern Tanzania (Amazon, Amazon UK). This was handy, and robust, but we visited a very small part of the area that covers and a narrower but more detailed map would have been more useful.
Two useful books I read before the trip were The Biology of African Savannahs, a formal ecology text, and Portraits in the Wild: Animal Behavior in East Africa, a chatty account of early work on the large mammals. I also read half a dozen papers on ant-acacia associations.
We took with us the Audubon Field Guide to African Wildlife and Estes Safari Companion, but foolishly left the two bird guides behind.
History and Culture
Most of my knowledge of East Africa comes from general histories of Africa. Specifically on Kenya, I think I'd only read Ngugi wa Thiong'o's Matigari and several chapters of Anderson's Histories of the Hanged, about the Mau Mau insurrection and its repression.
I read half of Being Maasai, a collection of essays on different aspects of Maasai identity, and parts of Facing Mount Kenya, Kenyatta's classic study of Kikuyu.
Other books that look interesting:
- Kenya: A History Since Independence (Charles Hornsby) - not yet released (Amazon, Amazon UK)
- Kenya: A Country in the Making 1880-1940 (Nigel Pavitt) (Amazon, Amazon UK)
- The Iraqw of Tanzania: Negotiating Rural Development (Snyder) (Amazon, Amazon UK)
- No Man's Land: An Investigative Journey Through Kenya and Tanzania (George Monbiot) (Amazon, Amazon UK)
- Contesting the Commons: Privatizing Pastoral Lands in Kenya (Amazon, Amazon UK)
- It's Our Turn to Eat: The Story of a Kenyan Whistleblower (Amazon, Amazon UK)
- Religion and Politics in Kenya: Essays in Honor of a Meddlesome Priest (Amazon, Amazon UK)