Africa commands the attention, curiosity, and primal emotions of most human beings. Mark Ross says that people who come to Africa to go on safari with him almost always report that for as long as they can remember they have had a deep yearning for Africa, to see the animals roaming the Serengeti as they have been doing for millions of years, and to FEEL the place where human life first emerged. The book is elegantly written -- Ross describes settings and events beautifully and meticulously but makes/allows the reader to fill in the emotional content. He recreates a perfect-pitch Africa for those of us who have been there (I once spent three weeks in Kenya and Tanzania) and also, I feel certain, for those who have never been. Ross is a trained biologist, and it shows. He delivers a deep experience of Africa's animals, geography, people, and politics -- that alone would make for a satisfying book. But the chilling beauty of this one is that, while we're immersed in our on-the-ground experience of the place, Ross also forces us to confront another question that lurks within us all: "What would it be like to experience a sudden emergency -- and how would I, personally, react?" Ross' account of the tragedy in the rain forest is riveting and sickening -- I would recommend reading that part of the book (the last 70-some pages) early in the day, not before bedtime. But its pages are hard to resist. By the end I felt like I had stalked lions in the bush (and like I knew their thoughts) and also felt personally violated, as though I'd stared down the barrel of a gun held by someone else, and then seen that someone else casually murder people I was very close with. Like the safaris he leads, Ross' book is first-class in every way. You put it down knowing that you've just spent twenty years and 322 pages with a remarkable individual. And you've learned quite a bit. If it cost $..., it would be more than worth it.