A wonderful book; meticulously researched, yet compulsively readable.
Brings you from Victorian England to the jungles of the Africa in search of Europe's first glimpse at the gorilla. An absolutely true story of an adventure that demonstrates the biting world of science in the Victorian era. Sound boring? Not even a little: included in this adventure are Queen Victoria, Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens, the wild uncharted land of the Africa, wildlife never seen before, many native African tribes and even a large group of "cannibals".
I loved this story, and it inspired me to read Darwin's work again and other writings of the time. It seems that being a great scientist in Victorian times could make you as famous as being a Hollywood actor during the golden age of film. Unfortunately it was just as cut throat and competitive and FULL OF CONTROVERSY.
The story of the young French Explorer, Paul Du Chaillou and all he accomplished is truly extraordinary.
If you believe in creationism vs evolution, this might not be the book for you. Though it does deal with the struggle for many that age, including prominent scientists, to find god in the many archeological and biological findings of the time that completely contradicts the biblical belief of creation.
This is an outstanding story!! It has a magic quality that I can't put my finger on, but I loved it so much that I went and bought other books by the author when I was only 1/2 way through!!
This adventure is actually born of tragedy in the author's life. William Least Heat-Moon was separated from his wife when he lost his teaching job. With no prospects for the near future, Moon decides to travel the country using back roads and sleeping in his truck, which he converted it into a sort of make-shift RV. Along the way, he meets many interesting, compelling and charming people. He travels to a variety of fascinating destinations, some unknown and some famous, and some with really strange names! He delves into all kinds of issues with the people he meets. Some issues are serious and important, and some are just strange and humorous. The result of it all is the adventure of a lifetime. A true JOY to read!
Im pretty sure Blue Highways was first published in 1983. Fortunately, I didn't know that when I started listening. I might have skipped the book, considering it too dated to be of interest for me. In fact, Least Heat-Moon began his drive through the U.S. in 1978, the year I was born. After only a few chapters though, I was hooked. This book is anything but dated!! Don't get me wrong, some of his experiences don't reflect the the current state of things; for example, his encounters with racism in the Deep South were shocking to me and far worse in 1978 than in 2013. But this is incredibly relevant. It feels really good to see how far we've come as a country. It gives hope that the positive changes will continue. Moon also discusses the changes in the cities he visits. Exploring the histories with the people who live there and love their city.
For me, the most touching aspect of the story involves issues that are timeless, issues that involve the complexities of human nature. The search for spiritual balance, the contrast of the religious and the secular, the desire to be isolated or to be social, the fundamental need to connect and understand people of different cultures, ages, and backgrounds...
I was really blown away by Moon's beautiful writing style. It's very human, thought provoking, and quite clever! As an audiobook, this was a sheer joy!
Everest is the muse to many thrilling and tragic stories. This is a fascinating account of the first complete ascent (and descent) of the world's highest mountain peak. I was surprised that the mountain was not successfully climbed until the mid 50's. The book follows the insane competition among countries and individual climbers to be the first to the top. Along with the rivalries, the strong bonds that team members formed and the sheer exhilaration of their success made for a fantastic human interest story. I definitely recommend the book.
I was a bit surprised and sometimes irritated by the special voices and accents the narrator used for specific quotations. The use of "character" voices and accents in nonfiction like this is unnecessary and sounds forced. However, the general narrative was well-performed and I became used to the voices after a little while. Not an impediment to enjoying the story.