Allan Quatermain

H. Rider Haggard wrote many stories, mostly about Africa. The Allan Quatermain stories are the ones I enjoy the most. They are pure escape adventures in east Africa. I like older novels because there is none of the gratuitous sex and graphic violence in modern novels.

The one downside of his work is the obvious view of other ethnicities as being second class. Blacks and Arabs are fundamentally assumed to be wicked and/of lazy and unteachable. It is interesting, however, that despite this second class view the protagonist repeatedly finds respect and capability in those same people. Haggard is almost mocking the prejudices of his day by repeatedly having his hero surprised by unexpected qualities and abilities in black people. It feels a little bit like Mark Twain. “They” are not supposed to be as good as experience regularly shows us “they” are.

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