Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, man-eating tigers and leopards ravaged the population of Kumaon, killing villagers in large numbers. For example, the Champawat man-eater had killed over 434 people in six years, and the Panar man-eater over 400. Jim Corbett became a hero for thousands of families in the region when he answered their appeals to end this menace. Born in Nainital and fluent in the local dialects, Corbett trained himself in the local jungles spread across hundreds of square kilometres to become patient beyond endurance, and an excellent shot. He was also an evocative writer on wildlife in India, whose books are still read with delight all over the world, and a conservationist whose legacy is still celebrated.
Duff Hart-Davis threads together the biography of this very private, unassuming individual, who held a day job as a clerk in the Indian Railways. Often, through Corbett's own written word, the author highlights his adventures in sequence and in context, bringing the Hero of Kumaon to life once again.
Duff Hart-Davis joined The Sunday Telegraph on its inception in 1961 and later travelled extensively as a feature reporter in India, Nepal, Turkey, the Caribbean, Norway, South Africa and 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 seventeen 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 published eight novels.
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.