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Kenya Cowboy: A Police Officer's Account of the Mau Mau Emergency

ISBN: 9781920143237
Publisher: 30 Degrees South Publishers
Edition: 2nd Edition
Publication Date: 2008-04-01
Number of pages: 368
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“This is an interesting book written by an objective observer who has witnessed the gradual decline of a country that showed so much promise”
― Dries Brunt, Citizen

Originally published in 1999, Kenya Cowboy has been updated and re-released with a new analytical postscript. This is a stylish, first-hand account of Britain’s futile and often tragic struggle to retain its rich stake in East Africa in the face of the relentless Mau Mau uprising. Previous to the social unrest that began in December 2007, which has blighted its apparent democracy, Kenya was hailed as a mature and stable post-colonial independent state. However, after 40 years of rigged elections, underlying problems have finally manifested themselves with thousands of aggrieved citizens taking to the streets. Unlike many of its neighbors during the period of transition from colony to independent state, Kenya did not collapse into a state of anarchy. But the Mau Mau uprising hangs like a dark cloud over this evolution. Their savage and brutal brand of terrorism was unknown to many―with the insurgents themselves hailed as heroes and celebrated with pride on Kenyatta Day every year since. Here, Peter Hewitt, a former police officer at the time of the uprising, offers another side to the story. He gives a balanced assessment of the implications of Mau Mau as well as vivid and shocking reconstruction of events that took place. He seeks both to give a human perspective and to shed light on the darker areas of the time. It is a book that is filled with revelations, many damning.

Peter Hewitt was born in Windsor with the Great Depression looming. At age 18, following an MoD engineering apprenticeship, he was conscripted and served for eight years in the Fleet Air Arm. Upon release he entered Colonial Police Service, a career change that took him first to Kenya, followed by tours in Cyprus and Nyasaland. His police career concluded with a nine-year spell in the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary. Retuning to England in 1972 he took up an appointment with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, where a succession of postings took him to diplomatic missions in Sierra Leone, East Berlin (GDR), Guyana and Lisbon―until a surfeit of ‘foreign parts’ prompted him and his wife to settle in north London.

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