Richer Than All His Tribe by Nicholas Monsarrat

Richer Than All His Tribe by Nicholas Monsarrat lands on the shelves of my shop, where it will be found in my Fiction Author: M section.

London: Cassell, 1968, Hardback in dust wrapper.

From the cover: The island of Pharamaul, off the south-west coast of Africa, had been a British Protectorate for more than a century. In 1956 Nicholas Monsarrat related, in what many consider his finest novel, The Tribe That Lost Its Head, the terrible story of revolt in Pharamaul.

This new major novel opens with the celebrations of the islands Independence Day. Former Paramount Chief Dinamaula, once exiled by the British, is now Prime Minister; next to him sits David Bracken, the Chief Secretary, who has worked for this day for many years, first as District Officer, then as Resident Commissioner, with nothing in his heart but the well-being of the people of Pharamaul. After the inanities of the new Governor-Generals speech comes Dinamaulas finest moment. As he lifts his arm for silence the vast throng rise to a deep-throated roar, stamping on the ground, deafening the sky with their clamour, screaming in adulation. This is the voice of Pharamaul, and this is Pharamauls great day.

From such a beginning Mr. Monsarrat traces the story of the islands development; it is devastating in its portrayal of the evolution of an emergent African nation. His portrait of Dinamaula, first Prime Minister and later President of the Republic, is a highly perceptive if cuttingly sardonic study of a man of high principles betrayed by the delights of power, his idealism swamped in the flood of credit offered by every great nation, his ambitions for his peoples welfare diverted to the gaudy joys of materialism.

The section devoted to New York and the United Nations, with the Pharamaul delegation succumbing to the gross flatteries and dubious manoeuvres of the Afro-Asian block, will stir certain memories and jab a few sensitive nerves as well. Indeed, the steady drift of this young nation towards bankruptcy, chaos, and murderous tribal warfare reflects much of the pattern of Africa today.

Nicholas Monsarrat, firmly taking sides with those who see such new countries as the victims of Too much, too soon, has given us a masterly picture of high hope betrayed into squalid failure.

Good+ in Good+ Dust Wrapper. A little rubbing to the edges of the dust wrapper which is somewhat faded, more heavily at the spine. Edges of the text block lightly tanned. Text complete, clean and tight.

Brown boards with Gilt titling to the Spine. 369 pages. 8½” x 5½”.

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