Ocotillo Road


the Internet home of Chris Gosnell and family

At the moment the web site concentrates on Chris's family history...

Crawl around amongst my ancestors in our family tree.

I also want to give a plug to two books written by Gosnell family members. 

Big Bend  was written by my brother Peter Gosnell on the history of the Lowveld in Swaziland. This is where we grew up, and the book is a fascinating expose of one particular instance of the transformation of Africa, detailing the effects of colonisation and the pitfalls on the way to a modern independent economy.

" From the days when the Swazi kings gave land to the Voortrekkers to form a barrier against Zulu raids, to modern day agri-businesses, this book charts the events, struggles and personalities behind the turbulent history of the of the Swaziland Bushveld. The pioneers battled malaria, wildebeest migrations, wild dogs, locusts, tsetse fly, floods and droughts in their isolated corner of Africa. The history of Big Bend is unique in many ways. Its isolation and the rigours of existence developed a breed of tough, often eccentric farmers and traders. The book charts the lives and lifestyles of these men, and the crimes and passions which shaped the district, set against the backdrop of the unique story of Swaziland itself. Most of the book is based on original research; it is a valuable addition to Swaziland's pre-colonial, colonial and post independence history."

Review (Sunday Times)
Buy Online (Africa Book Centre Ltd)

Gallic Thunderbolt is the story of René Leclezio and Lonrho Sugar. It is a collection of reminiscences written by the people who were close to René and the story of the group he created, told by the men and women who were there and complied by my father.

"Lonrho Sugar Corporation, one of Africa's most successful sugar companies, was the creation of one man, René Leclézio, Lonrho's "Gallic Thunderbolt". From its beginning in Malawi in 1965 he made it an international force in the sugar world by the time he retired in 1994.

Lonrho Sugar was that rarest of animals, a multinational operating exclusively in Africa which always made profits; survived floods, droughts and coups and established a reputation for long term commitment to the communities in which it worked."

Review (L'Express, Mauritius: The Life and Times of a Sugar Daddy - review by Nicholas Rainer; March 6 2004 )

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