Although his work is not widely read today, Gerald Durrell (1925-1995) was among the world's most popular naturalists in the 1950s and early 60s. He travelled to then-remote places such as Siberia, Cameroon, Tierra del Fuego and Mauritius in search of odd zoological specimens and reported his travels in books like The Whispering Land
and My Family and Other Animals
. In the first full-length biography devoted to Durrell, Douglas Botting writes of his passage from gifted child amateur to scientifically trained professional. That passage was inspired in part by Gerald's older (and more famous) brother, the novelist and memoirist Lawrence Durrell, who gave Gerald a copy of Jean-Henri Fabre's classic Insect Life: Souvenirs of a Naturalist
and encouraged his younger brother to follow his dream of living and working in the wild. Gerald Durrell, as Botting shows, went on to make signal contributions as a conservationist who founded the Jersey Zoo and other organisations devoted to protecting endangered species by breeding them in captivity and then reintroducing them into their native habitats. (Among those species were the Siberian ferret, highland gorilla, snow leopard, bespectacled bear and golden lion tamarin.) Botting's well-written biography will be of interest not only to admirers of Durrell's work but also to students of the environmentalist and conservationist movements. --Gregory McNamee, Amazon.com
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Back Cover
When Gerald Durrell died in 1995, at the age of seventy, he left behind an extraordinary legacy. As a pioneer animal conservationist, television personality and much-loved writer who inspired generations of readers with books like 'My Family and Other Animals', 'The Bafut Beagles', 'A Zoo in My Luggage' and 'The Amateur Naturalist', he packed a dozen lives into a single lifetime. A charismatic, passionate and above all dedicated to his crusade on behalf of animals and endangered species, he was founder of the world's leading zoos and of the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust, now renamed the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust in his honour.
"Douglas Botting is to be congratulated on 'Gerald Durrell'. He has done a magnificent job in telling the complex story of a complex person, wrinkles and all."
DAVID BELLAMY 'Literary Review'
"Douglas Botting's biography is as large in spirit as the subject himself and opens the mind to many crucial concerns."
DAVID HUGHES, 'Sunday telegraph'
"A monumental biography … Douglas Botting is sympathetic, perfectly qualified. His book does Durrell's memory as much justice as the Jersey sanctuary where his ideals live on."
ANTHONY HOLDEN, 'Sunday Express'