Richard Jenkins came honestly by his wanderlust. His father was in the RAF during WWII, then leased a farm and moved his family there. Son Richard joined the Royal Naval Air Service after secondary school. Stationed in Malta, he fell in love with the sunshine. His service complete, he saw an ad for "a retired officer's scheme for retiring to Rhodesia." He and his new wife Sally were judged fit and prepared themselves for the challenges of a farmer's life in then Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).
They wound up with raw land in the remote African countryside. Richard began learning the complexities of tobacco farming; Sally took various jobs; they had two children; and they all learned more about snakes than they wanted to know. Change was sweeping through Africa, and the Jenkins family experienced break-ins, thefts, and worker strikes. For as long as possible they hung on, but at last the wars, sanctions and other distresses took their toll, and with their children's education in mind, they left Africa. Jenkins obtained a commercial pilot's license in the UK and later they moved to Cyprus, still warm but closer to their English roots.
Jenkins tells his tale with intelligence, sensitivity, and charm. He and Sally always seemed to take life as it came at them and finish with a positive attitude. This memoir will be a reminder to anyone who has ever lived in Africa, regarding its peculiar problems and small joys, while perhaps inciting a different generation to travel to exotic climes. A piece of world history embedded in a family saga, Shadows of Flight is a robust look at the life of English settlers who risked their lives and fortunes abroad.
RECOMMENDED by the US Review