Between 1929 and 1935 Evelyn Waugh travelled widely and wrote four books about his experiences. In this collection he writes, with his customary wit and perception, about a cruise around the Mediterranean; a train trip from Djibouti to Abyssinia to attend Emperor Haile Selassie's coronation in 1930; his travels in Aden, Zanzibar, Kenya and the Congo, coping with unbearable heat and plagued by mosquitoes; a journey to Guyana and Brazil; and his return to Addis Ababa in 1935 to report on the war between Abyssinia and Italy. Waugh's adventures on his travels gave him the ideas for such classic novels as Scoop and Black Mischief.
Evelyn Waugh was born in Hampstead in 1903, second son of Arthur Waugh, publisher and literary critic, and brother of Alec Waugh, the popular novelist. He was educated at Lancing and Hertford College, Oxford, where he read Modern History. In 1928 he published his first work, a life of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and his first novel, Decline and Fall, which was soon followed by Vile Bodies (1930), Black Mischief (1932), A Handful of Dust (1934) and Scoop (1938). Waugh travelled extensively and also wrote several travel books, as well as a biography of Edmund Campion and Ronald Knox. Other famous works include his Sword of Honour trilogy, and Brideshead Revisited (1945).