Peter Capstick...who knows the truth?

Discussion in 'Hunting Africa' started by longbow, Jun 19, 2012.

  1. longbow

    longbow New Member

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    Hey guys,

    I'm new to the forum and planning my first trip to Africa, which a number of people on this forum have been very helpful with. I recently had an article sent to me by a friend who knows of my fascination with Africa. The article clearly states that Peter H. Capstick, the famous author and I assumed PH, was just a bartender and never really a pro hunter. This is somewhat dis-heartening to a guy like me who owns his whole library ... and bought a whole bunch of other African novels he recommends in his stories. I spent many an hour while guiding whitewater trips across the western United States reading his novels around the campfire, which inspired me to not only travel to Africa someday to hunt, but also to write a novel based on my own (somewhat less dangerous) experiences as a guide. I have always guessed that his stories were a bit embellished, the better to sell novels with, but the idea that he could be a complete fraud is just not sitting right with me. I have a hunch that this topic may have been covered too many times, but I would like to know the truth...if anyone knows it.
    -Longbow
  2. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    I dont know the details of his life but I do know that if you go on 1/10th the safaris he has you will beat us all.
  3. BryceM

    BryceM AH Veteran

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    I'm not a Capstick expert, but I suspect his earliest works may have been a touch polished. If you goal is to sell books, such stuff makes for interested readers. Many of his later works like Sands of Africa are more down-to-earth and recount a day-to-day safari replete with actual names, associates, places, witnesses, etc, making it much harder to be a fish story. I doubt very much that he was nothing more than a windbag bartender.
  4. longbow

    longbow New Member

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    Thanks for the info guys. Beats me why someone would go to enough trouble to write an article like that just to smear Capstick's name, but I guess there are bottom-feeders no matter where you go.
  5. Fritz Rabe

    Fritz Rabe AH Veteran

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    His wife Fiona attends a lot of our association (PHASA) meetings etc. I know her and have spoken to her many times. Shy is a very upstanding lady and I have total respect for her.
    She has told me many stories that was never printed. Yes, Peter did polish a lot of his work so as to read better and to make the stories interesting and enjoyable. Imagine how boring it would be if he only copied his diary and published it as it was.
    Many people find fault with most writers for some or other reason. I would like to see how they write a story and how successful they will be.
  6. James.Grage

    James.Grage GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    If you read his books and pay attention and then when you are in the bush. The two do not always match.

    So i think like the rest of you that the books were enriched to sell the product.
  7. Buff-Buster

    Buff-Buster GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Interesting topic and responses. My opinion only, I owe a lot of my facination with Africa to Mr. Capstick. Growing up in less than ideal conditions, Edgar Rice Burroughs allowed me to escape my screwed up upbringing thru his series of books "Tarzan". Once I got older, the likes of Jack O'Conner and Elmer Keith took me to far away places with their writings. Then I picked up "Death in the Long Grass" by Mr. Capstick. He could make me "live" in his moments, true or not. I didn't and don't care. His style of writing has the ability to take you on a journey and be there as if you were there in person. Did he embelish his stories to make them "better"? Probably. Did Jack and Elmer do the same? Probably. 100% truth or not these men entertained me and thousands more. I actually owe it to Mr. Capstick, for fueling my desire to experience Africa. I have spent many a night around a campfire listening (and telling) hunting stories/memories. Were any of those emblished?? Damn straight.

    Fritz - You are 100% right about Fiona. I met here at the Houston Safari Club Convention a few years ago. Very fine lady.

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