Tommy Goes Home
The epic journey and their lion from Germany through war-torn Angola to freedom.
Author: Peter Stiff
252pp; size 242 X 168-mm
16 pp of b/w pics
Hardback; ISBN/bar code: 978-919854-48-9; non-fiction.
Take Manfred Forster, his wife Karen, their teenage sons Frank and Uwe and their eight-year-old daughter Gabriella and load them together with dogs, parrots, assorted livestock and a half-grown lion called Tommy into a Land-Rover with 100 000 km on the clock and convoy it with a beaten up old Volksie. Send them overland from Germany, through Belgium, is being wrenched apart by tribal and Marxist private armies scrambling for the spoils of their late Colonial masters you then have the essence of Peter Stiff's fantastic book.
The Forsters battled with aching muscles, blocks and tackles, power saws and faltering vehicles about to give up the ghost, through swamp, forest, savannah grasslands and endless bushveld. They were beset by near starvation, fever and the threat of sudden and horrible death at the hands of instant black soldiers C some as young as 12 or 13.They were dressed in rags, but armed with modern Soviet and Red Chinese weaponry which they were eager to blood. The intense tropical heat was such that even Tommy nearly died. On one occasion Manfred spurned the offer of a King's ransom in diamonds to stay and fight as a mercenary commander C but no amount of diamonds was worth the lives of his family.
Throughout their amazing journey one incredible continuous thread is apparent. Without Tommy the lion as their constant companion, friend and guardian none of the Forster family would have survived to tell this story C but survive they did. This is not just another animal story. It is an incredible and remarkable animal story and of a family's love for a lion and it is also a family story full of love, laughter and pathos. It tells a story of a civil war and pulls back a corner of the communist blanket which eventually covered the bushveld, towns and villages of Angola. This was to show the agony of ordinary people when they are drawn willy-nilly into the maelstrom of civil war and beset by the wolves of anarchy.
What is written in this book is true. It all happened.
Lion stories are an integral part of the folklore of Africa. What makes this book so different from the usual run is that it is a pure adventure story of a family set in the midst of contemporary African history and amazingly is quite true.
Sunday Mail — Salisbury, Rhodesia
Nothing less than an amazing trek across Africa.
Sunday Times — Johannesburg
Grit, determination, flattery, sometimes downright luck and once or twice the formidable presence of their lion, Tommy, saved the Forster family from being massacred.
To the Point — Johannesburg
An enchanting story that will appeal to both young and old.
Rhodesia Herald — Salisbury, Rhodesia.
The story, handled lightly and skilfully, makes pleasant weekend reading and leaves one with a lasting admiration for the fortitude of Manfred Forster and his family.
A gripping and readable story for all ages.
Financial Gazette — Salisbury, Rhodesia