Official Review: The Slope of Kongwa Hill

Please use this sub-forum to discuss any non-fiction books such as autobiographies or political commentary books.
Forum rules
Authors and publishers are not able to post replies in the review topics.
User avatar
e-tasana-williams
Posts: 347
Joined: 13 May 2016, 18:50
2018 Reading Goal: 52
2017 Reading Goal: 120
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 16
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 141
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-e-tasana-williams.html
Latest Review: Island Games by Caleb J. Boyer
Reading Device: B00JG8GOWU

Official Review: The Slope of Kongwa Hill

Post by e-tasana-williams » 18 Dec 2016, 19:36

[Following is the official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Slope of Kongwa Hill" by Anthony R. Edwards.]
Book Cover
4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review


The Slope of Kongwa Hil - A Boy's Tale of Africa is the autobiographical novel by Anthony Edwards. The year is 1948, and Mr. Edwards' family are expats from Britain who relocate to Tanganyika (now Tanzania) in East Africa. The book is divided into three parts: "The Foreigner", "One of the Boys" and "Growing Up". Each part details significant stages of Mr. Edwards' boarding school years at Kongwa School from age 9 to 14.

As a boy Mr. Edwards has a cool relationship with his parents, only seeing them on school holidays. Without including spoilers, Mr. Edwards' boarding school experience includes taking daily malaria prophylaxis, having Boy Scout adventures and being in constant fear of getting beaten with the kiboko (a thick, cane-like whip made from hippo skin). There is a Lord of the Flies element to the story, in that boarders have a great amount of independence, they develop their own societal hierarchy in a school with no physical boundary, and wildlife and boys wander freely.

Told in the first person from the author's perspective, this is an engaging story. The reader is drawn in immediately and held captive until the end of the book. It is reminiscent of Isak Dinesen's Out of Africa, but written from the perspective of a young boy instead of a woman. The writing is descriptive and concise at the same time, and it is easy to get lost in the East African countryside where Mr. Anthony spends his childhood.

When reading this book you will need to suspend any conflicting views you may have about colonialism, to appreciate the excellent writing. For example, adult servants are referred to as "boys" or "her Africans". Another example is the description of the Mau Mau rebels in Kenya. They fight against British rule, but instead of being called rebels or freedom fighters in the book, they are called terrorists. If you keep in mind that the tale is about the author's life in the midst of British colonial Africa, and that the author is a product of that history, you can truly enjoy this coming-of-age novel.

Although there is a glossary of terms at the end of the book, one thing I would like to see is a translation of Swahili phrases and conversations within the context in which they are said. There is one part where Tony's friend Hazel translates her conversation with the Masai for those present, but more translations would add to the enjoyment of the book.

Having said that, I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. The writing is engaging and illustrative, the voice is authentic and the work appears to be professionally edited. Readers who enjoy autobiographies, especially those set in rural areas, should take a look at The Slope of Kongwa Hill: A Boy's Tale of Africa.

******
The Slope of Kongwa Hill
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon

Like e-tasana-williams's review? Post a comment saying so!
Once you learn to read, you will be forever free ~ Frederick Douglas

User avatar
Kdonegan91
Posts: 443
Joined: 17 Sep 2016, 14:04
2018 Reading Goal: 10
Favorite Author: Wanda E. Brunstetter
Favorite Book: <a href="http://forums.onlinebookclub.org/shelve ... 202">Never Cry Again</a>
Currently Reading: Ironbark Hill
Bookshelf Size: 75
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-kdonegan91.html
Latest Review: "A Matter of Faith" by Duke Woodrick
Reading Device: 1400699169
fav_author_id: 19883

Post by Kdonegan91 » 24 Dec 2016, 12:23

This sounds like an interesting and unique book. Does the lack of translation in certain areas take away from the flow or make the book hard to understand? I love reading books about true events but I have not read a book based in Africa. I might have to give this one a try. Great review!
When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. - Wayne Dyer
Latest Review: "A Matter of Faith" by Duke Woodrick

User avatar
gali
Site Admin
Posts: 40205
Joined: 22 Oct 2013, 07:12
2019 Reading Goal: 100
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 76
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 100
2017 Reading Goal: 100
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 100
Favorite Author: Agatha Christie
Currently Reading: The Cat Who Blew the Whistle
Bookshelf Size: 1956
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-gali.html
Reading Device: B00I15SB16
fav_author_id: 2484

Post by gali » 28 Mar 2017, 06:26

Sounds like an interesting coming-of-age tale, and real at that! I like it when one is drawn in immediately and held captive until the end of the book. Thank you for the review!
In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." (Mortimer J. Adler)

User avatar
CatInTheHat
Bookshelves Moderator
Posts: 2709
Joined: 31 May 2016, 11:53
2019 Reading Goal: 75
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 32
Favorite Book: Cry the Beloved Country
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 502
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-catinthehat.html
Latest Review: Two Wrongs by Anthony L. Baker
Reading Device: B00JG8GOWU
Publishing Contest Votes: 0

Post by CatInTheHat » 28 Mar 2017, 06:35

I absolutely love learning about the culture in this time period in different parts of Africa. I will add this to my reading list!
Life without a good book is something the CatInTheHat cannot imagine.

User avatar
hsimone
Lilimaster of Bookshelves
Posts: 5869
Joined: 17 Jul 2015, 20:19
2019 Reading Goal: 52
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 36
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 100
2017 Reading Goal: 100
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 100
Currently Reading: Before the Devil Breaks You
Bookshelf Size: 445
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-hsimone.html
Latest Review: Solar Coaster by Yi Ou
Publishing Contest Votes: 27

Post by hsimone » 28 Mar 2017, 06:45

Thank you for the thoughtful review! I can't even imagine half the things the author, as a young boy, goes through. It sounds like an exciting autobiography, for sure. I do wonder, without the translations, if this read would get a bit frustrating. But, it looks like you have enjoyed the read. Congratulations to the author for receiving such a positive review and thank you for sharing his story!
"Love is patient, love is kind." -1 Corinthians 13:4
Latest Review: Solar Coaster by Yi Ou

User avatar
kandscreeley
Special Discussion Leader
Posts: 9129
Joined: 31 Dec 2016, 20:31
2019 Reading Goal: 95
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 72
Currently Reading: Sunshine at the Academy
Bookshelf Size: 303
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-kandscreeley.html
Latest Review: The E&N Escape by P.N.Holland

Post by kandscreeley » 28 Mar 2017, 07:22

This does sound like an interesting and intriguing book. It would be interesting to see the author growing up in Africa. I can't even imagine what that would be like. Thanks for the review.
Good books, like good friends, are few and chosen; the more select, the more enjoyable.
-Louisa May Alcott

User avatar
greenstripedgiraffe
Previous Member of the Month
Posts: 827
Joined: 22 Oct 2015, 10:47
Currently Reading: Heart of anger
Bookshelf Size: 263
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-greenstripedgiraffe.html
Latest Review: Cyber Dead or Alive by RL Blaisdell

Post by greenstripedgiraffe » 28 Mar 2017, 08:11

I know next to nothing about the British subjugation of various colonies around the world (Except USA, or course HA!) This sounds like the perfect book to gain some knowledge about this time period from a more personal type account. Thank you for the review!
"no one down here" --- Up the Down Staircase

User avatar
James Craft
Posts: 371
Joined: 14 Sep 2016, 11:41
Favorite Author: Lincoln Cole
Currently Reading: Carnivore
Bookshelf Size: 51
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-james-craft.html
Latest Review: "Perdido Bay Blues" by Jacqueline Lane
fav_author_id: 26410

Post by James Craft » 28 Mar 2017, 08:36

This sounds like a very interesting read. Thank you for sharing this and congratulations.
Latest Review: "Perdido Bay Blues" by Jacqueline Lane

User avatar
Lincoln
Posts: 259
Joined: 25 Nov 2015, 11:49
2017 Reading Goal: 0
Favorite Author: Stephen King
Currently Reading: The Very Loving Caterpillar
Bookshelf Size: 48
Publishing Contest Votes: 9
fav_author_id: 2376

Post by Lincoln » 28 Mar 2017, 08:38

This has got to be one of the more intriguing books up here I have seen in a while. Thank you for sharing this!
Lincoln's book, Raven's Peak is the OnlineBookClub.org April 2017 Book of the Month.

View Raven's Peak on Lincoln's website.

View Raven's Peak on Bookshelves

User avatar
Amagine
Posts: 5441
Joined: 04 Mar 2017, 19:27
2017 Reading Goal: 400
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 45
Favorite Author: James Patterson
Bookshelf Size: 721
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-amagine.html
Latest Review: "Salome and Gogo visit Soweto" by Cora Groenewald
Reading Device: B00IKPYKWG
fav_author_id: 3251

Post by Amagine » 28 Mar 2017, 08:57

This story sounds really interesting. I'm especially interested in the fact you stated it reminded you of Lord of the Flies. I'm interested I'm reading about the author's story and his stay at an all boys school where they made their own rules. I'm going to have to check this one out later.
"Piglet noticed that even though he had a very small heart, it could hold a rather large amount of gratitude." -A.A Milne

"I am grateful for all the books that sparked my imagination." -Unknown
Latest Review: "Salome and Gogo visit Soweto" by Cora Groenewald

User avatar
cherrykarl
Posts: 89
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 03:45
2018 Reading Goal: 50
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 8
2017 Reading Goal: 30
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 113
Favorite Book: <a href="http://forums.onlinebookclub.org/shelve ... 39">Broken Prince</a>
Currently Reading: Since We Last Spoke
Bookshelf Size: 665
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-cherrykarl.html

Post by cherrykarl » 28 Mar 2017, 09:01

Based on the author's life events. Can't wait to read the sample. I would really like to know more about Africa – the life, the people. This book will surely educate the readers.
Peculiar. Unique. Extraordinairé | Philippians 4:13

hailvilla18
Posts: 99
Joined: 19 Dec 2016, 03:50
Bookshelf Size: 30
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-hailvilla18.html
Latest Review: "Loving Marie" by Dawn Reno Langley

Post by hailvilla18 » 28 Mar 2017, 09:20

I think this is a very interesting autobiography. Readers will also gain knowledge for the author is a product of history and he narrates his experiences during the colonial period of British in Africa. Great review! To the author, congrats for this excellent work.
Latest Review: "Loving Marie" by Dawn Reno Langley

skalicia
Posts: 44
Joined: 10 Mar 2017, 10:17
2017 Reading Goal: 65
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 26
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 445
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-skalicia.html
Reading Device: B00KC6I06S

Post by skalicia » 28 Mar 2017, 09:34

This sounds like a really interesting book. Does the translation issues (looking up in the back) take away from the flow of the book?

User avatar
Christina O Phillips
Posts: 358
Joined: 06 Feb 2017, 10:20
2019 Reading Goal: 60
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 11
2017 Reading Goal: 52
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 125
Currently Reading: I'll Be Gone in the Dark
Bookshelf Size: 1315
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-christina-o-phillips.html
Latest Review: states of unitedness by J.C. Salazar
Reading Device: B00JG8GOWU

Post by Christina O Phillips » 28 Mar 2017, 09:44

I don't normally read a lot of nonfiction, but this story sounds interesting. I appreciate the warning about the language use ('boys,' 'her Africans'). I actually took a class in Swahili, so having that language in there makes me want to read this more.

User avatar
mindyg123
Posts: 439
Joined: 07 Feb 2016, 19:36
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 18
2017 Reading Goal: 100
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 47
Currently Reading: Lycan Fallout
Bookshelf Size: 558
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-mindyg123.html

Post by mindyg123 » 28 Mar 2017, 09:56

Great review. An autobiography about a boy growing up in Africa sounds interesting and informative. The challenges that he faces let's you know what it's like to be an outsider in a foreign country. Congrats on being BOTD.
Mindyg123 :techie-studyingbrown:

Post Reply

Return to “Non-Fiction Books”