The Sheltering Desert

The Sheltering Desert Threatened with Internment for the duration of World War II two young German geologists Henno Martin and Hermann Korn sought refuge in the Namib Desert and lived a Robinson Crusoe existence for two

  • Title: The Sheltering Desert
  • Author: Henno Martin
  • ISBN: 9780868521503
  • Page: 307
  • Format: Paperback
  • Threatened with Internment for the duration of World War II, two young German geologists, Henno Martin and Hermann Korn, sought refuge in the Namib Desert and lived a Robinson Crusoe existence for two and a half years How they mastered their situation, what they did, thought and observed are the subject of The Sheltering Desert In it lies the vastness of the landscape, tThreatened with Internment for the duration of World War II, two young German geologists, Henno Martin and Hermann Korn, sought refuge in the Namib Desert and lived a Robinson Crusoe existence for two and a half years How they mastered their situation, what they did, thought and observed are the subject of The Sheltering Desert In it lies the vastness of the landscape, the clear skies, nature s silence in the joy or suffering of her creatures, and the stillness in which the reader, too, may take refuge from the wrongs of civilization.

    • The Sheltering Desert By Henno Martin
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      Published :2019-06-11T07:42:12+00:00

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  • This was one of my absolute favourite reads of 2011. I discovered it while researching a trip to Namibia, and I don’t know how I missed this important travel classic.It’s the story of two German geologists in Namibia at the start of World War Two: Henno Martin, Hermann Korn, and their dog Otto. They watched from a distance as a self-destructive madness engulfed Europe. And they knew they didn’t want any part of it. If they stayed in Windhoek they would no doubt be sent to an internment cam [...]


  • Oh, this was beautiful. I started it on my flight out to Namibia and finished it on the flight back. It acted as a fantastic introduction to what I was going to see, and then my own experiences added a whole extra joy to reading the second half. Part survival story, part naturalist's reflections, Martin recounts his experiences with his good friend and colleague as they hid in the Namib desert to avoid being swept up in WWII. There are some odd meandering philosophical ramblings, especially towa [...]


  • What a tough couple of blokes! Two and a half years in the Namib desert, living off the land, through droughts, sandstorms, and extreme hunger. I was impressed by their tenacity, but I was also aware that there was no way I could live such a savage and primitive life. I did find the philosophical discussions a little heavy going, but perhaps that is a reflection of the author being a scientist, and also the translation from German. The latter may also have resulted in the high number of typos, w [...]


  • This is one of the best books i have read on the Natural History of Southern Africa. Poetry at times is simply beautiful.


  • This is the true story of two German geologists who hid from the Nazis in the Namibian desert during World War II. I read this book after a trip to Namibia. On a drive from Sossusvlei to Swapkomund, our guide from Tracking Namibia Safaris showed us a cave where the two geologists lived. (From the description in the book, I'm pretty sure it was the first cave.)In spite of the problems with scanning the book to an ebook, resulting in some of the words turning to gibberish and even a page or two co [...]


  • There are two distinct sides to this book. First, it's a tale of the logistics of survival - how to plant a garden in the desert, skin a gemsbok, deter a hyena, avoid capture by the authorities, and always, always look for water - but also a meditation on the true nature of mankind and whether humanity can be redeemed.Sound heavy? It sort of is. I wouldn't say this book was an action-packed page-turner, but every so often, a description would be so beautiful, or a philosophical argument would ac [...]


  • "Everything is evil which tends to rob man of his capacity to judge and to compel him to any kind of uniform instinctive behavior, and such a tendency must inevitably lead to his extinction as shown by all the other extinct forms of life. And isn’t it crystal dear that mass propaganda, cunning advertisement, mass parades and mass meetings are specifically the influences which tend to push man in that direction?"


  • very repetitivehow old were they?not much about their family beforehand,Henno Martin's memories of living in the Namib desert in Southern Africa with his friend Hermann and the dog Otto from 1939 to 1942.They, being German origin, decide to escape a possible internation by the British Colonial Power in Namibia after Germany had started the 2nd World War in 1939. They hope not to get involved into anything about that war and therefore decide to hide somewhere in the vast Namib Desert not to be fo [...]


  • Henno Martin and his scientific sidekick Hermann Korn and their dog Otto, German nationals unsym-pathetic to the Nazi cause, decide to spend the duration of World War II in the Namib Desert to escape being drafted into the German army. (Otto was given his name because as a puppy, he looked the same coming and going!) They lasted just over two years, when Hermann got sick and they had to turn themselves in. Their observations about the desert and the wildlife there are fascinating to read. They l [...]


  • An interesting, readable account of two German scientists who survive for over two years hiding out in the Namibian desert. Another selection from the WWII wilderness survival literature genre that I enjoy. Like many autobiographical accounts, it could be made better by a good non-fiction writer. It may be better in the original German or with a better translation. The copy had strange errors such as German articles like "die" where an English "the" should be.The book is available as a free down [...]


  • A wonderful book about two geologists who faced internment during WW II in Namibia as they were German citizens (in what was then a South African/British territory.) They chose to hide in the desert before turning themselves in after two years. They knew the desert well as geologists who had spent a great deal of time studying local conditions. The book as some drama as they hide from the police but more of the drama is about the hunt for game and water as the seasons and conditions change. Mart [...]


  • I had a hard time tracking this memoir down after reading an oblique reference to it in Robert Ruark's Horn of the Hunter. It's a story that embodies the sentiment of "so strange it must be true", following the real life struggle of two German geologists trying to survive in the Namib desert after the outbreak of World War II. Martin's scientific background is at the forefront throughout; given the harsh environment it is remarkable how detailed his observations remained. The subject matter is b [...]


  • Henno Martin and his friend Hermann Korn were Germans living in South West Africa (Namibia) and working as geologists at the start of WWII. They didn't agree with the war and decided to try to hide out in the Namib Desert, along with Hermann's dog Otto, for the duration. For a couple of years it worked as they learned to live off the land and hunt game. Illness of Hermann finally forced them to give it up. Enjoyed this, admittedly, in part because of it being Namibia. I've got to admire some of [...]


  • For many people this book will not be very gripping, and I feel you have to have actually been to the Namib Desert to understand and appreciate it. Two German geologists living in Africa, take there dog (Otto) to go and hide in the Namib Desert during the terrors of World War Two. The book shows their struggles, achievements and how they survived in the desert. There are few shocking moments; like when Otto gets speared by a horn.I thought the ending was very good, it was sad that they had to gi [...]


  • Two German geologists and their dog decide to evade WWII by living in the African desert for 2.5 years. This books was written by the one geologist. It's a book about survival in the wild with a radio being their only connection to the happenings in the world.Interspersed is a little about geology, but more interesting is the inclusions of the discussions the two men had about society and evolution. I'd been looking for a good definition of evil since the more you know about psychology and behav [...]


  • This book is one of the best books that I've ever read. Why this book isn't more well known? I don't know. For me, it's in the pantheon. It's a fascinating story of moral courage, animal behavior, evolution, survivalism, and much more. It was written in the context of WW2, from the perspective of two Germans scientists, trying to understand how humans had come to the conclusion that mass destruction was a valuable use of our time and effort. From one uncertain era to another, the lessons from th [...]


  • Martin offers a compelling perspective on the so-called stone-age soul of man. Martin and his friend Hermann chose the harsh freedom of a life wrung from the desolate crevasses of the Kuiseb valley in western South Africa over the threat of internment in a prison camp during the Second World War. The men become enmeshed in the uncompromising patterns of life dictated by he movement of water, forage, and game. Their ingenuity, their failures, and their successes explore the history an morality of [...]


  • A fantastic story of survival in the Namib Desert. The two men approach their adventure and self-imposed exile with open minds and a willing spirit, studying the animals and plants who share the desert with them, learning to make foods like blood sausage on the fly and building relatively comfortable homes in the middle of the desert. The men spend a great deal of time considering biology, philosophy, the ethics of war, and, ultimately, what has contributed to man's and society's development ove [...]


  • Story of survival in one of the harshest environments on Earth - the Namib. Even with a lorry with some basic supplies to start with, a radio and firearms, lasting for 2 yrs is still no mean feat for the two German geologists on the run from internment during WW2. Detailed observations and insights into the surprisingly abundant wildlife, mixed in with philosophical ponderings over human evolution while going through the nitty gritty of everyday survival techniques make for an unsusual but absor [...]


  • Memoir of the author and co-worker/friend who took shelter in the African Desert during WWII as German expatriates in their attempt to escape horrors of the War. The pair were anthropologists and geologists. They spent time (other than meeting survival needs) studying and photographing the flora and fauna. The pair travelled/lived with their dog, Otto.They were eventually caught (turned themselves in) and were fined.


  • This book is awesome - an incredible story of survival.July 2016 I went on a horse safari across the Namib Desert: africanhorsesafaris/tour/n - you actually pass the caves where the men stayed! If anyone goes on this ride or visits Namibia - this is a must read!!


  • I thoroughly enjoyed this book. One reason is that I read it while touring through parts of the Namib desert. The landscape around me came alive through Martin's descriptions and stories. But more importantly, because of this book my Namibia trip became a spiritual journey as well. For me it was the right book at the right time, at the right place.


  • When World War 2 breaks out these 2 German Geologists become Robinson Crusoe's of the Namib desert in West Africa in order to escape internment by the British. Part Survival tale, nature travelogue and philosophical musings, this is a pleasant and informative read. It was one of my Grandfather's favorites.


  • I remember the Bay Area pundit Malcolm Margolin asserting that modern humans can't begin to share or even to imagine the life experience of preliterate peoples, in his acclaimed book "The Ohlone Way."He apparently had never heard of Henno Martin and Hermann Korn.I recommend this as a must-read for anyone who can read.Out of print in the U.S but available for download at archive.


  • A friend who loves Africa recommended this book which I would never have read. Interesting true story but some of it seemed exaggerated especially when they finally found food or water just in time. Maybe the telling is a bit like childbirth, one forgets the worst. Interesting how he includes their philosophy on life and trying to understand the evil in man.


  • Die großartige Landschaft Namibias und das harte Überleben in der Natur sind wunderbar beschrieben. Mir haben auch die philosophischen Gedanken zu den Tieren und Menschen und der Evolution im Allgemeinen gut gefallen.


  • Quite a heavy going book but worth a read all the same, particularly if you have visited or are going to visit Namibia. I would have given up far earlier - this is story of exceptional human endurance.


  • I originally said I wasn't going to finish - but I manned up and finished. Such an interesting story - writing about what you would expect from a geologist. Not for the faint of heart (especially vegetarians).


  • Sorry. Found this hard work and dreary. Couldn't finish it so usual for me as I usually finish every book I start



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