January 14th, 2015:


My connections to the continent of Africa have created some of my favorite adventures—both in person and with books I either edited or wrote. I wrote about my own years as a teenage military brat in Tripoli, Libya, in An Army Brat in Libya available on Amazon. When I first began editing books some years ago, I edited Dick Griffith’s book, In the Hearts of Famous Hunters, which told of the exploits of famous fellows like Roy Rogers, astronaut Wally Schirra, test pilot Chuck Yeager, and LA Times publisher Otis Chandler on African hunting expeditions.


More recently, I edited Dick Mawson’s book The Gods Who Fell From the Sky, also available on Amazon and doing marvelously well with sales. Shortly after WWII, as Dick tells the story, his English parents decided to make a fresh start in life and flew to Africa with their very young sons in a small twin-engine plane. After a non-fatal but heart-stopping crash into the bush not far from their destination, the family was rescued by native African villagers. Luckily, one of the villagers spoke English and sent word by runner to Ft. Jameson, fifty miles away. Nine days later the English chief of police in Rhodesia had assembled some trucks for the rescue, and the Mawsons eventually made their home in the capital of Salisbury.

Crashing into the southern part of Africa as a child was just the beginning of Dick’s amazing saga of overcoming adversity during an exciting and heartbreaking life. At the age of eleven, he lost a lower leg in a farming accident, and at sixteen, as a daring boat racer, seriously damaged his good leg, among other injuries. He managed to overcome both hurdles to achieve consistent winning status in car racing in Africa, Europe and England. He’s over 70 now, and living in southern England, but he’s still racing cars and building them as well.

Along the way, Dick was happily married to his lovely Penny (he’ll tackle those challenges and her death in his second book), had children and now is the grandfather of five. Despite all his racing wins and business successes, he says his family is his greatest achievement. Dick Mawson shown below with two granddaughters.


Editing Dick’s book was an adventure for me. After the basic facts, I wanted to know more about the wildlife, the bugs, the plants and the people. Dick had many tales to tell and together we flushed out the important and entertaining parts of his story. As an energetic, “never say die” man, he had many hilarious incidents to relate about his life. He even found humor in the really tough parts—handling his injuries during several accidents and once having his false leg slip off, which terrified a woman in a London subway tunnel so badly she fainted.

According to Dick Mawson, “It’s pointless looking at what one can’t achieve in life when there is just so much that one can achieve. There is nothing that I have found to be impossible. There are always ways of reaching your goal and the biggest thing along the way is to have fun doing it.”

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