Cerebral Shangrila

Monday, February 20, 2006

Last Chance to see by Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine -- Book review

They say "comedy is serious business" . Most writers would agree to that. Writing humor is a very difficult business ( Though certain gentlemen like P.G.Wodehouse & Crazy Mohan would disagree !) . Try telling that to Douglas Adams. He would guffaw.

Humor on a serious topic is all the more difficult. But Adams has mastered that difficult art. The "Last chance to see" is a book on some rare wildlife ( severly endangered species) that Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine ( BBC Zoologist) visit in some of the most exotic locations around the world. The strength of Adams' is in lacing humor on such a serious topic as wildlife conservation. Some of the amazing animals that they visit include the dangerous Komodo Dragon in Indonesian jungle, silverback gorilla in Zaire, White Rhinos in Africa, Kakapo (The only flightless parrot in the world) in New Zealand, Baiji Dolphin in the Yangtze River in China, fruit eating bats in Mauritius.

The book drips with humor in every word and Adams' satire on the vagaries and selfishness of mankind is hard to ignore.

Sample this :

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.

The great thing about being the only species that makes a distinction between right and wrong is that we can make up the rules for ourselves as we go along.

If you are either a nature lover or like wonderful humor, beg/borrow/steal and read this book. I just wish Adams had written more about Wildlife ( He died at a young age of 49 , a few years ago). This book is funny,moving and thought-provoking.

P.S : Douglas Adams' most famous book is the " Hitch-hiker's guide to the galaxy" , another must read.


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