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January 06 , 2011

A Very Different Land

Memories of Empire from the Farmlands of Kenya


Kenya was a ‘very different land’ for the young officers who went out to Africa to use their technical and professional skills in the early twentieth century. Many such officers were destined for the Colonial Agricultural Service where Hilary Sunman’s father, Owen, served from 1928-1950. In this book, Sunman considers the day-to-day experience of ‘colonial service’, and its many challenges, as she weaves together a human and family story, with special emphasis on her father and his work, combined with her own experiences as a development economist. All the elements - political and developmental - in late colonial policy are present, from the problems of the ‘White Highlands’ and race to the varying quality of colonial leadership and the rise of the Mau Mau. This book provides a unique and moving account of a country in transition and the pivotal roles played by those on the ground in the final years of empire.

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