Saturday, January 9, 2010

'Last Chance to See' Review

Publisher: HarperCollins


Length: 320 Pages

Opening Line:
'No one believed me when I said I was going to the Amazon with Stephen Fry.'


To start off the reviews, I'm going to talk about a book that I received as a Christmas seems like a good place to start!

In the 1980's, the Zoologist/Conservationist Mark Carwardine and the late Douglas Adams, the late author of 'The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy' decided to embark on a journey around the world, seeking out some of the most endangered and unusual species of animals and birds that the world has to offer. Their adventures were made into a radio series and subsequentally a bestselling book.

20 years on, Mark Carwardine and the actor, writer and all round clever bloke Stephen Fry undertook a similiar journey, rediscovering some of the same species of animal in the original expedition, plus some new ones. This has resulted in a reinvention of the 'Last Chance to see' book and a programme, which was recently shown on the BBC.

Having seen the programme, I was interested to read the accompaning book and I wasn't disappointed. From seeking the Amazonian Manatees, rescuing Black Rhinos in Kenya, to meeting the Aye-Aye,possibly one of the most bizarre but endearing creatures in Madagascar, Mark takes the reader on a journey to discover these weird and wonderful animals and the people who are trying to save them from extinction.

Using his chatty, approachable style of writing, this book is enjoyable to read, the book also highlights how and why so many of the world's wildlife are being wiped off the face of the planet. A special mention should be given to Sirocco the Kakapo, a large, flightless bird from Codfish Island in New Zealand, who not only thinks that he is human, but has a tendancy to be rather amorous to researchers and unsuspecting writers!

Packed full of facts and information, I found that this was a informative, but entertaining read and it certainly gave me more insight than the programme did. However, I found that it was lacking something that the programme provided. I think that you could enjoy this book as something separate from the television programme, but the programme adds to the enjoyment of the book in my opinion.

Another slight problem that I had with the book was that on occasions, I found that Mark Carwardine gave interesting facts, but he would veer off from what he was initally talking about.However,that's just me being picky!

Overall, 'Last Chance to See' was an enjoyable but sobering insight into wildlfe's fight for survival.

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