David Read

author, guide, farmer, soldier, father, grandfather and gentleman



Beating About the Bush is an autobiographical novel, charting the remarkable life of David Read between 1936 and 1952, in Tanganyika, as it was then known, in East Africa.  It is intended as a direct follow-on from his earlier novel, Barefoot Over The Serengeti, published in 1979.

Beating about the Bush picks up David’s story where “Barefoot” left off, with his parents moving to the Lupa Goldfields to try to salvage their livelihoods after a catastrophic series of events that left them almost destitute, reliant on David’s hunting skills and the help of their Masai friends.  

As the book moves from Mission School life to veterinary training, active service in Abyssinia, Madagascar and Burma, to the Parsee burial grounds of India, meetings with the King and Queen to privileged encounters with the Ndorobo people, there is a sense that it is the people rather than the events that have been the most important thing in a quite fantastic life.


“I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed Beating About the Bush; parts (KAR days) made me laugh until the tears ran down my cheeks.  I tried to read parts out loud to my wife but gave up for laughing.  She’ll have to read if for herself!”                                                                                                            C. Child, 2002

Available in East Africa:

Arusha from Trade Routes,

TFA Shoprite Centre

Dar es Salaam from A Novel Idea. www.anovelideatanzania.com

Nairobi from text Book Centre. http://textbookcentre.com

e-mail: customerservice@tbc.co.ke