Catalogue - Reprints (Africana General)

The Chronicles of a Contractor
by George Pauling

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Books of Zimbabwe,
Faci repro. first (1926) edit. with new material; 264 pp. inc. new Appendices (contemporary letters, minutes, previously unpublished account of interview with Joseph Chamberlain, obituary, etc.); illus. 69 photos, sketches, cafloons & told-out full colour map; dust jacket features posterised portrait of author; new Publishers' lntro.
ISBNs 0 86920 006 2 (standard) and 0 86920 007 0 (de luxe).


AN OUTSTANDING autobiography by a colourful and dynamic late-Victorian engineer who won international repute for his accomplishments, not least of which was the building of many of southern Africa's major railway links.

Big George Pauling came to South Africa from Britain at the age of 20, founded Pauling & Co. in 1877 with his brother, and completed his first construction job in 1881 the 65 mile Port Alfred Railway. Thereafter, contracts came thick and fast: Sterkstroom to Aliwal North, Orange River to Kimberley, Springs to Krugersdorp, Johannesburg to Pretoria and, the most herculean project of all, the first stage of the line between Beira, on the Mocambique coast, to Umtali in the highlands of eastern Rhodesia. On this undertaking he lost 60 per cent of his labour force in each of the first three years through malaria, blackwater fever and the depredations of marauding animals.

Meanwhile the company had broadened its scope of activity to include railway construction in the Middle East, public works, dam, harbour and bridge building in Greece, Angola, China, the Argentine and India. Cecil Rhodes commissioned Pauling to complete the first stage of his ambitious Cape-to-Cairo line.

Only 800 copies of the original The Chronicles of a Contractor are believed to have been published, for private circulation, in 1926.


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