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Alexa: Life and Death of a 1937 Austin 7 in Africa by [Milton, Brian]

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Alexa: Life and Death of a 1937 Austin 7 in Africa Kindle Edition


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Length: 189 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled Language: English
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Product description

Product Description

Alexa was compiled from diaries written more than half a century ago by young fledgling journalist and adventurer, Brian Milton, as he drove his 1937 Austin 7 Ruby, called Alexa, from London across Africa. This was in the late 1960s and the very early days of the post-colonial era. Brian was making a deeply romantic gesture, aiming to present the car to his wife-to-be in Johannesburg in South Africa. However, Alexa soon began falling to pieces as she was driven over rough tracks in remote areas. Brian had few mechanical skills and little access to parts. Along the journey, Brian encountered colourful characters and experienced madcap adventures, often risking life and limb. Accompanying Brian throughout the trip was Brunhilde, his trusty but cumbersome Olympia 9 typewriter, made in Germany in 1948.
Crossing the Sahara, Brian crashed once and twice ran out of water. He drove 2,000 miles on 3 pistons, 900 miles of that without brakes, lights, shock absorbers, starter-motor or starter handle. For five weeks he had no money. He drove through Nigeria while it was wracked by civil war, the Central African Republic (CAR) when the president was eating children and the Congo not long after a brutal rebellion had left thousands dead. Brian attended the consecration of a Congolese bishop and had to ‘drink for England’ and remain standing. He eventually reached Johannesburg, although Alexa didn’t make it, finally giving up the ghost in the Congo.
Brian and his fiancée, Fiona Campbell, had intended to get married in South Africa, at that time under racially segregated Apartheid rule. Every year, an average of six journalists and six priests would be ejected from the country. Stories Brian had written criticizing the regime meant that he was thrown out of South Africa just as the couple were sending out invitations to their wedding. The event was postponed and took place in London in June 1970.
Rather than giving a sanitised view reflecting current sensibilities, this book is a history of a very different time in Africa, when the European empires were ending and newly independent countries came into being. The author shows the period exactly as it was. Raw, politically incorrect, and at times absurdly funny, Brian captures the mores, values and spirit of the era in this rollicking, page-turning story.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 13295 KB
  • Print Length: 189 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0849XZ7QZ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars 1 reviews
George Kaplan
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read by the campfire
1 September 2017 - Published on Amazon.com