Hero of Kumaon

by Duff Hart-Davis

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Jim Corbett became the hero of thousands of impoverished local families in the remote Indian region of Kumaon when, throughout the 1920s and 30s, he answered their pleas to rid them of the man-eating tigers and leopards which were ravaging their populations. Man-eaters roamed a region of hundreds of square miles over several years, killing the defenceless villagers at will: for example the Champawat man-eater had killed over 434 people in six years, the Panar maneater over 400.


Jim, one of 15 children, was born in 1875 to the local post-master in Nainital, and taught himself as a barefoot boy in his local jungle to become, in his spare time one, of the most skilled trackers of his day, fluent in the local dialects, patient beyond endurance and an excellent shot.


Duff Hart Davis’ biography threads together the life of this very private, unassuming Indian railway clerk. Often through Jim’s own written words, Duff sets out the highlights of Jim’s adventures in sequence and in context, thus thowing light on Jim’s remarkable character.





The Field

A spellbinding tale about an extraordinary conservationist. This study is an outstanding tribute, engulfing the reader in a world of nature, danger, courage and skill.

Vintage Guns Journal 

A new biography of Jim Corbett, by Duff Hart-Davis, has just been published by Merlin Unwin books and makes a superb job of un-packing and commenting on the important episodes in the life of one of our sport’s most enduring heroes. I just treated myself to a copy and I’d recommend it to anyone, familiar or unfamiliar with his exploits, as a refreshing re-boot, making clear an often muddied history.

BASC magazine

If you’re after arresting, adrenaline-spiking adventure, look no further.





Sep 02, 2021


About the Author:

Duff Hart-Davis joined the Sunday Telegraph on its inception in 1961 and later travelled extensively as a feature reporter in India, Nepal, Turkey, Caribbean, Norway, South Africa, Ascension Island. Shooting trips took him to Siberia, Poland and Hungary. Duff wrote the Country Matters column in the Independent 1986-2001. A distinguished biographer, naturalist and journalist, he is author of 17 non-fiction books on subjects ranging from Hitler's Olympics, the adventurer Peter Fleming, to a history of the mid-Atlantic island of Ascension. He has also had eight novels published. Duff was brought up on a farm in Oxfordshire. He did his National Service in Germany and read Classics at Oxford. He is married with two children and now lives on a farm in the Cotswolds.

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