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This Was the Old Chief's Country

Year First Published: 1952
First Published by:Thomas Y. Crowell
Category:Short Stories
This Edition:American first edition

From the book jacket:

In this tightly-knit collection of short stories, Doris Lessing catches the tempo of South African life. Each of her tales deals with a different aspect of life in the veldt. In 'This Was the Old Chief's Country,' from which the collection derives its title, we see Africa through the eyes of a native patriarch who for generations has watched with increasing sadness the changes taking place in his country and whose sovereignty has gradually been usurped. In 'Old John's Place' it is thirteen-year-old Kate whose adolescent outlook gives the reader another side of the African picture. In 'Little Tembi' still another representative speaks - the young African native of to-day. 'Winter in July,' reflecting the attitudes of the settlers in present-day South Africa, climaxes this arresting group of vignettes.

In a style strongly reminiscent of Somerset Maugham, Doris Lessing demonstrates an ability to create a model at once haunting and provocative. As the London Times Literary Supplement states in reviewing This Was the Old Chief's Country: "Miss Lessing's descriptive writing is vivid and unforced, and she is shrewd about social relationships... in short, she is a versatile and talented writer.'

In this Edition:
The Old Chief Mshlanga
A Sunrise on the Veld
No Witchcraft for Sale
The Second Hut
The Nuisance
The De Wets come to Kloof Grange
Little Tembi
Old John's Place
'Leopard' George
Winter in July
Also see:


Not to be confused with the later British volume by the same name, Collected African Stories - Volume One: This Was The Old Chief's Country, which contains these stories and is volume one of the two volume complete British collection of her African stories. These stories later appeared in the American complete collection: African Stories.