Where the Wild Things Were stands up as a solid collection of pieces from diverse sources -- most originally published in the Guardian, Telegraph, Times and Independent, but there are some odd sources such as Open Democracy Russia website and Harper's Bazaar. Stanley Johnson is a good writer, a sharp observer, a witty raconteur, and always authoritative. He gives the reader the feeling of being right there. As such, this is an entertaining read, blending adventure missives, travel memoirs and environmental dispatches from the frontline. The locations include eco-pilgrimages to the Galápagos, Antarctica, Kenya and Mt Kilimanjaro, as well as the jungles of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Kamchatka in Russia. In typical Stanley style, rather than moaning about the long trek up Kilimanjaro, Johnson declares it a fairly easy hike, brings a tent, and celebrates the final nocturnal push to the ascent with a well-earned nap.
Besides adventure travel journalism, Stanley Johnson wears additional hats as Ambassador for the UN Environment Programme's Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and as Chairman of the Gorilla Organization. As such he seeks to improve the lot for animals and ecosystems. It would be valuable to have a follow-up volume in a few years, to see how we're doing in these various places. Hopefully the original title might seem inappropriate and partly through Johnson's efforts it could then be called: Where the Wild Things Yet Thrive.
-- Erich Hoyt, Research Fellow, Whale and Dolphin Conservation; author of Orca The Whale Called Killer; The Earth Dwellers; Insect Lives, Weird Sea Creatures and other books