As a young man, Warwick Cairns met the then elderly explorer Wilfred Thesiger and the two men struck up an unlikely friendship. Invited to visit him at his African home, Cairns decides to make a bit of an adventure of it and do some of the journey on foot.When he himself was a young man, Thesiger led an expedition to explore the course of the Awash river in Ethiopia. Every westerner that had gone before him had been killed by local tribesmen. Needless to say, he survived.Alternating chapters chart Warwick’s journey with that of Thesiger creating a captivating dual narrative that is part travel book, part biography, part autobiography, part history with fair doses of philosophy and humour thrown in for good measure.In Praise of Savagery is a highly original book that defies classification but is always effortlessly readable.
Warwick Cairns was born in Dagenham in 1962. He studied English at Yale under Harold Bloom, has travelled in the deserts of Northern Kenya with Wilfred Thesiger and has worked drilling wells on a Sioux reservation in South Dakota. He now lives in Windsor with his wife and two daughters.