Juma the Great


By A. K. Chesterton, Published in 1947



This book describes the hilarious adventures of one Juma, an African gentleman of optimistic temperament,who left his mountain home in the fastnesses of Uganda to drive a lorry for the British Army during its invasion of Abyssinia. Juma had no doubt that it was his intervention in the world conflict which brought such speedy triumph to British arms. His exploits were certainly wonderful, but when the reader has laughed over them, and laid the book aside, it may be he will discover that his laughter was never far removed from more poignant emotions. No “iron curtain” marks the frontier between comedy, even when it comes near to farce, and the domain of tragedy. Juma is thus to be described as a tragi-comic figure, summing up in his own vivid experience something of the destiny of all men. This is not a war book in the accepted sense. The war is but a background against which the personality of Juma burgeons.

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