William B Seabrook. Jungle Ways. 1931. Harcourt, Brace and Co., New York. 1st Edition. Very Good condition. Limited Edition, including 8 extra illustrations. Number 110 of 315 signed copies of which 274 are for sale. Large paper copy. Uncut. 328 pages with 4 photographs in the body of the book, protected by tissue guard, one photo, similarly protected, opposite the title page. 32 striking photographs of anthropological interest at the back together with map of Western Africa showing the territory covered by the author.
William B. Seabrook (1884-1945) was an an American occultist, explorer, traveller, cannibal and journalist. After serving in the 1st World War he became a journalist travelling to exotic corners of Africa and pursuing his interest in the occult and the more sensational practices of the native African tribes. He seemed to have been inspired by his meeting with Aleister Crowley to pursue the diabolical practices Crowley was notorious for. Jungle Ways is in 4 parts; Forest People, in which he describes the magic of the Yafouba in the Ivory Coast area; Cannibals, which lives up to its sensational title; an interlude in Timbuctoo and Mountain People, a visit to the Habbé cliff- dwellers. Seabrook was not only a vivid writer but, as this book's illustrations well indicate, a fine photographer. A contemporary review does admit that the value of the book lies in its vivid descriptions rather than scientific knowledge. Biographies entitled The Abominable Mr Seabrook and The Strange World of Willie Seabrook indicate this to be the case.