If you are searching for a last-minute Christmas gift or just dreaming about being able to afford to buy something a bit different this year, go to the Blackwell’s Rare Books. This year, in Catalogue B197, the historic Oxford bookshop is featuring a section on Africa and included in a range of unusual publications is a first edition of Barbara Greene’s reminiscences of her perilous trek through Liberia with her cousin Graham in 1935. Unfortunately she gave the book what Richard Greene calls the ‘cringe-inducing’ title Land Benighted which is a misquoted phrase lifted from the Liberian National Anthem. She revised this to Too Late to Turn Back in later editions.
Those who attended the 2007 Graham Greene International Festival might recall that Barbara’s son Rupert Graf Strachwitz gave a talk about his mother and her remarkable life. The description of the book in the catalogue gives an excellent summary of its content and the background to its writing and is recommended reading for that reason alone.