Book Reviews

Kenzie the Wild Goose Man

Book Title: 'Kenzie, the Wild Goose Man'

Author: Colin Willock

Publisher: Deutsch

ISBN: 0 233 96343 X

'Kenzie, The Wild Goose Man'

I found Colin Willock's biography of Mackenzie Thorpe to be an absolutely absorbing read for anyone who has the remotest interest in Wildfowling.

'Kenzie' as he was always known, was a fascinating man, a real Fenman, born of Romany stock and in truth, something of a rogue. A very strong-willed character as a youngster, Kenzie soon gained a criminal record for his poaching activities and he even spent time in jail as a result. The author knew Kenzie well and has captured the rough countryman's s character perfectly. Think of a one-time professional boxer with a record of more than 50 wins and a habit of finishing many opponents with a devastating right cross, the absolute master of wildfowling on the remote Fenland marshes, an accomplished wildlife photographer, a talented artist and an acknowledged authority on Pinkfoot Geese. Kenzie Thorpe was all of these and I am very pleased to have had the good fortune to have met him when I was an impressionable youngster in the late 1960's. From the Fosdyke Wash down to Wingland Marsh, Kenzie called and shot Geese, Hares, Rabbit, Duck, Pheasant and Partridge for sport in numbers mere mortals can only dream of, but more than that, he was happy to share his secrets to earn a crust. Kenzie was always ready to act as guide for those who were prepared to 'cross his palm with silver.'

One time employee of one of my great heroes, the artist and naturalist Sir Peter Scott, Kenzie could hold his own with the great man and anyone else for that matter. He quite often overstepped the mark because of his unshakeable belief in his own abilities. I could go on and on, but suffice to say this is a must read for any Fenman, any Wildfowler, or anyone remotely interested in the life of those hardy characters who scraped a living out of the unforgiving, but nonetheless beautiful wilderness of the marshes around the Wash.

Colin Willock paints a picture in words that perfectly captures the middle years of the twentieth century in the flat East Anglian Fens that have bred many a character and few of whom have been stronger or more compelling than Kenzie Thorpe.

John Abbott

Top stuff Honourable, I'll look out a copy