Clive Spinage first went to Kenya, Africa in 1953 but did not become a professional wildlife ecologist until 1964 when he conducted antelope research in Uganda. Since then he has worked in Rwanda, Tanzania, the Central African Republic, Upper Volta and Botswana. He has been described as one of the world’s leading authorities on African mammals.
Author of many scientific papers, his best known books are Animals of East Africa, The Book of the Giraffe, The Natural History of the Antelope and Elephants. This partial autobiography is a light-hearted account of his attempts to gain a degree in zoology and then deals with his adventures as an ecologist, weaving together anecdote and history particularly of some of the lesser known African countries. His wide experience ranges from helping Uganda dictator Idi Amin to take off at night in his private aircraft, the doubtful honour of attending Emperor Bocassa’s coronation banquet at which it was rumoured human flesh was served.
The author’s dry sense of humour aptly describes his experiences and the colourful characters he met; at the same time he treats us to an authoritative political history of Central Africa during “the wind of change” which so affected the continent.