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.
I was thrilled with this book. Jeremy Wade makes it look Very Easy on TV... Here's the real story!!!
River Monsters is a fantastic tv show about World-Class Angler Jeremy Wade and the completely bizarre monstrous creature he catches around the world. This book brings a true inside look at what happens behind the scenes.
Jeremy Wade is not only an amazing angler, but he also possesses a compelling screen presence that makes the show addictive. Similarly Jeremy is a fantastic narrator! I listened to the book twice in a row.
I've always been curious about his life and how became such talented angler. The book gives us glimpses into his early life. He also gives fabulous insight into his near obsession and years of dedication to find certain fish.
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.
Once again, I've ventured out of the sci-fi/fantasy genre...again with a book I never would have picked up on my own. I am not a diver, I know almost nothing about...the WWII related stuff...It sounds vaguely interesting, but the kind of thing I might watch on a Saturday afternoon on discovery...if I was sick...and nothing else was on.
But...this book...was really, really good. It's billed as a "True Adventure", and I'm sure it's as "based on a true story" as much of written history is... I only mean that some of the characters are so good, it seems like they can't be 100% real...I'm sure liberties were taken...but once I remembered that I usually read ONLY fiction, I didn't think about it again.
The whole thing is very well written...presented like a fast-paced action/adventure movie (that may not make sense, but it's the only way I can think of to describe it). They give exactly the right amount of information about diving and the dangers of deep wreck diving, backed up with horrifying real accounts. They give exactly the right amount of background on the main characters...no boring crap - really interesting and action packed stories... By the time they got to the diving...I couldn't put this book down...I was on the edge of my seat...
Now that all lasted for about 3/4 of the book - which is about the point any sane human being would have just "let it go", but Chatterton was obsessed. There are some more tense and exciting parts...but there is also entirely too much time devoted descriptions of the lives of non-characters... Don't let any of that stop you from getting the book though - even if you care nothing about diving or WWII history (beyond what you learned in school) - just get this one - seriously.