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Stuart Cloete Biography

(1897–1976), Turning Wheels, Watch for the Dawn, Rags of Glory, The Soldier's Peach

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South African novelist and short-story writer, born in Paris, and educated in England. He served in the First World War, and remained in the British Army until 1925, subsequently taking up farming in South Africa. A prolific writer, he is best known for his trilogy of realistic historical novels about the Afrikaners: Turning Wheels (1937), which was banned in South Africa; Watch for the Dawn (1939), about the Great Trek; and Rags of Glory (1963), about their defeat in the Anglo-Boer War (18991902). Many of his novels, such as The Soldier's Peach (1959) and The Looking Glass (1963), are adventure stories set in bush or veld, and have been compared with the works of Rider Haggard. Mamba (1955) and Gazella (1958) are set in the Congo and Mozambique respectively. In The Thousand and One Nights of Jean Macaque (1965) the eponymous hero is an old man nostalgically looking back on his past as a young rake in fin de siècle Paris. Other novels include The Curve and the Tusk (1953), on elephants and their poachers, and The Abductors (1970), which deals with the white slave traffic. The Silver Trumpet and Other African Stories (1961) contains some of his finest short stories. A Victorian Son (1971) and The Gambler (1973) are autobiographies.

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