Customer Reviews (9)
Love this book
Gorgeous and informative...can't go with with this book!I read it before I went to Africa the first time and learned so much.I've been back twice and this book is a wonderful review and brings back memories!!
When I first saw the Maasai book I thought to myself, "Oh great another huge boring book I have to read." However when I opened to the first page the magnificent photographs of the book captured me. I was amazed at the quality of them as well as moved by many of the pictures. This book takes you through the journey of the life of a Maasai. It all starts out with an introduction of the Masaai, then talks about youth, circumcision, warriors, elders, and then wraps it all up with a personal reflection by the author on the Masaai. The book was both informative and interesting at the same time.
Previously I had studied the Masaai in school and thought I learned everything. However when I picked up this book I found out that there was much to learn. Some of the interesting facts I learned included the back-story on how the Masaai originated, how they transition from warrior to adulthood, and the importance of elders in the Masaai society.The author's personal reflection about the Masaai talked about how the modern world is affecting the Maasai today. The book began talking about simple Masaai childhood. Childhood was brief and explained what the kids did around the village. Some of the games they engaged in however surprised me because of the danger factor involved in them. It then slowly transitioned to the awkward teenage stage, which is probably the hardest for the people in the society to go through. In the society it is the stage right before circumcision. The book really gave me an inside view of what it's like to be a preteen in that society. It did such a good job that I was able to understand why kids would want to get circumcised in the first place. After that it transitions to the actual process of circumcision, which after reading the book seems pretty scary if you ask me. That was the only part I actually had learned in class. However it also talked about the many processes, which occur after circumcision. The process of this is both physically and mentally challenging but according to the book pays off in the end. This was definitely one of the most interesting parts of the book because I could sort of relate to them in a way, since I am a teen myself.
After finishing the that chapter and looking at many great photos, the book starts to talk about the intense process of warriorhood. I was surprised how much the Maasai value certain things in warrior hood such as their hair. After warrior hood the book briefly talks about lives of the elders then it moves onto the personal reflection. It began with the quote, "From the farm, the tragic fate of the disappearing Maasai tribe on the other side of the river could be followed from year to year. They were fighters who had stopped fighting a dying lion with his claws clipped, a castrated nation. Their spears have been taken from them, their big dashing shields even, and in the Game Reserve the lions followed their herds of cattle." That quote came from the author Isak Dinesen who wrote the book Out of Africa.
The author then began talking about his personal reflection of the Maasai today and explained how modern civilization was enclosing on the Maasai fast. He, being a Maasai himself talked about how the Maasai must adjust to society for their own protection. According to the author since civilization is advancing so quickly the Maasai cannot fight against it and as the old expression goes, "Can't beat them, join them." Unfortunately the Maasai are defenseless to civilization and must take up the basic aspects of it such as education, land, and resources. At the second page of the personal reflection the author talks about the conflict the Maasai have faced with regarding land. Ever since 1901 the Maasai have had conflict with the Europeans. In 1910 their land was taken over for colonization. According to the Author by now the government has taken over the Maasai land and has taken away a lot ever since the Europeans invaded in the first place. In the end he wrote down suggestions for what the government should do to better improve life for the Maasai. He finally ends on the note that although the Maasai are facing difficult obstacles right now, they will still pull through in the end. So if you like books with information, great photography, and a nice smell this book is definitely for you.
In one word . . . Amazing!
Having just spent a month in Africa working in orpahages while also being able to take a tour of a Maasia Village in Kenya, this book reminded me exactly of my experiences there.
The Maasia are incredible people and this book shows those of you who have not had the chance to meet them how amazing their culture is.
The pictures are breathtaking. I felt as if I was back in their homeland.
Great literature as well.
This book made me travel to Tanzania and Kenia, in my thoughts.
Very good pictures and very real too. It's a book that shows us another culture and ways of living. Worth reading.
One of the "prized" books of my library
This book is beautiful. It has beautiful photography, and beautiful text by a man who is of the Masai tribe. I was sad, however, to read that the author of the text (Tepilit Ole Saitoti) says that the Masai way of life is destined for extinction. Though this is inevitable for most indigenous peoples.
Tepilit Ole Saitoti's commentary and insight into his people really make the photographs come to life (the cover photograph is of the author's brother). This is not so much a book as it is an experience, aided by its "over-sized" coffee table format book that gives you the feeling of "stepping" into the beautiful Kenyan landscape. Reading this beautiful book is the next best thing to being able to visit this beautiful land and see these fascinating people in person (which is something I hope to do at some point in my life). What a beautiful land the Masai live in!
Anyone interested in this book would probably find OF WATER AND THE SPIRIT interesting as well. OF WATER AND THE SPIRIT is written by Malidoma Some of the Dagara tribe from Burkina Faso, in West Africa. It is the story of Malidoma's escape from a missionary school (he had been kidnapped), journey back to his village as a teenager, and initiation into the Dagara tribe.
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