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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly enjoyable
I bought "Tarzan of the Apes" while I was on an adventure novel kick and, like the other reviewers, I was amazed by how good it was. The storyline is quite clever and very interesting - even though I knew many of the things that were going to happen (Tarzan and Jane meeting, for example), I was still intrigued by every plot twist Burroughs threw at me.

What I...
Published on 11 Sep 2007 by Philida

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Flawed Classic
After having "A Princess of Mars" published in "All-Story" as "Under the Moons of Mars" from February through July of 1912, Edgar Rice Burroughs was unable to get his "Outlaw of Torn" published, but he did manage to get "All-Story" to devote an entire edition of their magazine to "Tarzan of the Apes". Burrough's had written the story between December of 1911 and May of...
Published on 9 Nov 2009 by Dave_42


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly enjoyable, 11 Sep 2007
I bought "Tarzan of the Apes" while I was on an adventure novel kick and, like the other reviewers, I was amazed by how good it was. The storyline is quite clever and very interesting - even though I knew many of the things that were going to happen (Tarzan and Jane meeting, for example), I was still intrigued by every plot twist Burroughs threw at me.

What I found most surprising was how much I liked the character of Tarzan himself. Obviously he has been represented and parodied so many times in so many different ways over the years that he has become almost a stock character - certainly, like Sherlock Holmes and Superman he is one of those fictional characters that everyone recognises, even if people haven't read the source material. Tarzan also has the fact that he is handsome, intelligent, strong, and innately "good" working against him. Who likes perfect characters? Surprisingly, however, I found myself rooting for him throughout the novel.

The first half of the book, where Tarzan has no human company, is more enjoyable, although I may feel that way because one tends to picture Tarzan in the jungle rather than in civilisation. Still, Burroughs writes superb fights and there are simply more of them in the first half - the second half is more concerned with Tarzan mooning over Jane and driving across America. It's far less compelling. However, the ending picks up considerably; while Burroughs clearly wrote it with a sequel in mind, he contrives the events in such a way that the reader's heart breaks for Tarzan.

"Tarzan of the Apes" can be quite easily criticised for its racist and sexist elements, and obviously I'm not about to defend them. However, if you are considering reading it, I'd recommend that you bear in mind that it *was* written in 1913 when such views were (regrettably) endorsed. There's a wonderful adventure story here, and it's well worth giving a go.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic!, 25 July 2005
By A Customer
I won't repeat what the other reviewers have said but merely offer my opinion. It's been a great many years since I read this book and I thought I'd like to read it again so picked up this copy. As a result I'll be ordering the follow-up book. The first book ends with the story unresolved and though we all 'know' what happens it's a far different experience reading it - one I thoroughly recommend.
The only reason I'm not bestowing this book with five stars is that it is largely told as narration - not such a popular style now but quite acceptable for its day. Set this aside together with any racial regards or grievances, both towards humans and animals. This book is a product of a by-gone day. And if anyone is thinking that's all very well to say, as a woman I can honestly say that although Jane was probably one of our first true heroines there are times I wanted to slap her. I've never known women of any nationality to faint so much no matter what their race. She's undoubtedly brave but also in many ways a woman of those times. I also love animals but hey, this is set in a jungle. People hunted back then and Tarzan has to do his share of killing to survive. Take the book for what it is and enjoy!
The other comment I wanted to make is that I had forgotten what a mixture this book was. It's a 'boys-own' adventure that girls will also love. It's a love story. And it's got a great sense of humour! Some parts of this book are simply very funny. If you've seen Disney's version you might be surprised to know that Jane's father is pretty much presented as written. The characters are flawed, courageous and endearing, even though they can also be occasionally irritating. But if you want to truly ever 'know' Tarzan then read the originals.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The story of Tarzan is timeless and brilliant, 16 Dec 2008
Most would claim to know the story of Tarzan, at least in outline. And many would quote the famous line `Me Tarzan, you Jane'. But don't be disappointed that the line does not appear in the original work for the book will not disappoint. It is one of the great stories of the early 20th Century and a novel of far more depth and excitement than one might expect.

It is the story of the young Lord Greystoke, named Tarzan when he is taken into the care of a pack of Apes after the death of both of his parents. The story follows Tarzan as he learns that he is different to the Apes and discovers his parents's possessions, still in their jungle cabin.. The connection is not made, however, and Tarzan wrestles throughout the novel with the internal conflict between the wild creature he has been raised to be and the human instincts which still run strong in him. Through an extraordinary sequence of coincidences Tarzan eventually comes into contact with other `white apes' like him and this is where his love affair with Miss Jane Porter begins.

Tarzan of the Apes is adventure at its best and its extraordinary popularity is testament to this. Everyone expects the story to include Tarzan swinging from vine to vine but how many would expect mutinies, eccentric professors, French detectives and buried treasure? Tarzan of the Apes will appeal to the wild spirit in everyone, whether it is the longing for the dangers of the jungle or the simplicity of his existence, his story is totally compelling. Burroughs ensures that each chapter continues with the pace and adventure of the previous and he tells the story with wit and style throughout.

The book is also an interesting study on racial attitudes of the time. Written in America less than 50 years after the Thirteenth Amendment of 1865 abolished slavery, the attitudes and beliefs of certain characters within the novel illustrate how long it took for racial attitudes to change. Tarzan's moral instinct is strong. Unschooled in ethics, his leadership and decision making are unfaultable and it is this that leads to the moving and quite humbling ending.

Tarzan of the Apes book is so enjoyable, I am jealous of those of you yet to read it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Flawed Classic, 9 Nov 2009
After having "A Princess of Mars" published in "All-Story" as "Under the Moons of Mars" from February through July of 1912, Edgar Rice Burroughs was unable to get his "Outlaw of Torn" published, but he did manage to get "All-Story" to devote an entire edition of their magazine to "Tarzan of the Apes". Burrough's had written the story between December of 1911 and May of 1912, and it appeared by itself in the October 1912 edition of the magazine. It was published in book form on June 17, 1914, Burrough's first book to be published, and it was published by A. C. McClurg & Company, who had rejected it previously but after its enormous popularity they changed their minds.

Tarzan has become an iconic character, to say the least. Burroughs went on to write over twenty sequels, and of course there are numerous movies, comic books, etc. based on the character. While one cannot ignore the impact the creation of the character has had, the original story is not particularly good. Burroughs had free reign to define Mars as he wished, but his depiction of Africa is well off the mark. Burrough's imagination is somewhat lacking in the tale as well, going again and again to the presence of Lions to create a threat for Tarzan to deal with. One has to wonder how so many Lions in so small an area would be able to get enough food to survive, and they are in rather a dense jungle instead of the savannah.

There are logical errors as well, such as Tarzan learning to read but not speak English, and yet somehow figuring out how to spell his name in English. There is the strange journey of the Professor Porter and Samuel T. Philander where they manage to get lost and walk unmolested through the same jungle as is shortly to contain numerous Lions. There is also the oddity of Tarzan struggling with Jane Porter writing that she doesn't love him (Tarzan) even though he deduces that she hasn't realized that he is Tarzan and is thus writing to someone she believes she has not yet met.

Despite the problems, this is still a fun book to read, and it is nice to go back and see what started the phenomenon so long ago. I also don't want to give the impression that there is nothing but Lions, as there are cannibals and other wild creatures to contend with along the way. As with Burrough's other books, the story often relies on amazing coincidences, such as the Porter's, Philander, and the next Lord Greystoke being stranded in the very same spot as Tarzan's parents were. The best part about the book for me was the ending, as Burrough's handles Tarzan's sacrifice at the end quite well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The fantastic romance of White Skin of the Apes, 11 Jun 1999
By A Customer
Listed in Cawthorn's and Moorcock's "Fantasy: The 100 Best Books".
The Weissmuller movies didn't get him right. The TV series haven't got him right. And the Disney movie CERTAINLY won't get him right. Burrough's original narration of the story of Tarzan is a mix of bloodthirsty savagery and unrestrained suspension of disbelief that few would attempt to capture these days.
The Tarzan series is unique among his author's body of work. Where the Barsoom, Pellucidar and Caspak series concern modern men travelling to exotic lands and falling in love with native women, this time around it is a modern woman who comes to the wilderness and steals the heart of the savage protagonist, who must now step up to her civilized ways.
The tale is laced with bloody scenes of man-against-man and man-against-beast rampage. The great apes among which Tarzan grows are a cannibal species, who eat the prisioners of raids against other simian clans. The king ape kills Tarzan's father in a moment where he is caught off guard, mourning the recent death of his wife. When Tarzan first encounters men (an African tribe), he hunts and kills one of them to steal his arrows (killing being the way of the jungle, since Tarzan knows nothing of human behavior). Also, these men turn out to be cannibals too. And when the white men finally arrive, they raid their village and kill almost every one in an attempt to rescue a captured comrade.
After growing wild among beasts, Tarzan (whose name menas White Skin) realizes that he is different from his ape family. And through a series of inventions of his own (like making a rope) and fortunate coincides (like the use of a found hunting knife), he steps up the evolutionary ladder by himself. The moment he learns to read and write from illustrated primers and a dictionary is among the most improbable in the whole book. But if we have kept up with it until now, allowing ourselves to accept that a human child can be raised by apes, then his ascension to superiority isn't that hard to embrace.
Tarzan turns out to be the primeveal lovesick nerd. After the first time he sees Jane Porter (the first white woman he ever casts his eyes on), his heart is all for her. He writes her a love letter, which smacks of the most pityful puppy love ("I want you. I am yours. You are mine... When you see this you will know that it is for you and that Tarzan of the Apes loves you"). Yet our hero is true and noble, and he holds the upper hand in his homeland. The girl can't do anything but be carried away by her primeveal pretender.
I recommend you get this edition I'm reviewing, the one by Penguin. Besides the introduction which gives a valuable background to the place of Tarzan among popular literature and some details on the life of Edgar Rice Burroughs, it contains a series of notes that signal where he took some liberties with his story's setting (like placing American plants in the African jungle).
The English is a little bit archaic, the characterization tends to cartoon and stereotype, but the story is powerful and nothing captures the beauty of the original like the original itself. Read Tarzan of the Apes, and meet again for the first time an archetypical hero of timeless charm.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TARZAN - A SURPRISINGLY GOOD READ, 5 Dec 2000
By A Customer
Ever since I was a child, I have watched films and series on the television of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes. Some have been good and some not so good. Some, like those starring Johnny Weissmuller, were brilliant for their time; telling the story of the baby lost to the elements of the jungle and the mercy of the Apes.
Whatever film and TV programme makers have done in the past has been different in some way. The most memorable for me was the film version starring Christophe Lambert. Needless to say, I have been a fan of the story for the best part of my life. I have grown up with this as a pert of my existence.
However, I did not even know if what I was seeing on film, was in fact, close to the details in the book in any way, so when the chance came to buy the book, after watching the Disney version with my children, I jumped at the chance. Was I in for a shock when I read this one !!!
Sometimes, a film, like Lambert's film, shows graphic violence in order to get across a certain idea of the harshness of life in the jungle. The book though, is a different matter altogether. It is extremely descriptive of how the young Tarzan grows up, learning to hunt and kill for food. The description at times can change from beautiful [when describing the jungle] to brutal [when a killing takes place]. The idea is firmly planted in your mind of how man can change from kind and loving to merciless and murderous in a second, if provoked into survival.
At every turn, the book takes you through the joys and turmoil of his life. Most notable is the time he finds a book in the cabin built by his father and finds a lot of 'bugs', which the reader finds out are in fact, words on a page. He then teaches himself to read, but he cannot speak and language other than Ape. This sounds odd, but the plot twists and turns, and even changes continent at the end, concluding in America in a swathe of heroism and glory for Tarzan as he returns again to rescue Jane Porter.
This book will surprise you if you do not know the entire story of Lord Clayton and if you, like me, are the sort of person who has only seen the films and TV Tarzan, then I urge you to give it a read. It is a surprisingly good read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I've read - more than once!, 28 Jun 1999
By A Customer
I was given my copy of this book by my dear grandmother, who used to obtain books for me from jumble sales. Heaven only knows how long it was sat on my shelf, unread, but when I finally did read it, it rapidly became one of those rare delights - a book I simply could not put down. It really is a truly engrossing story. Exciting, unusual, magnificently written, and I always seem to discover something new each time I read it. And I've read it at least 10 times now.
I always find myself imagining the dense African jungle through which the "huge bull-apes" swing effortlessly, and the fights Tarzan has with other apes, and, of course with Sabor, the lioness, are worth reading just as they stand, without the rest of the book.
Ever since I first finished the story I've wanted to get hold of the subsequent books - some further adventures of Tarzan. I'm sure they can only be just as good as this one.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Plenty to chew on -- just hard to swallow, 4 Mar 2003
By 
Peter Reeve (Thousand Oaks, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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There are books that everyone 'knows' but hardly anybody reads any more. Reading these classics can be quite illuminating; they are not what you think. For example, do you really know how Dracula was killed? Or why The Virginian said "Smile when you call me that"? Read the originals; you'll be surprised.
"Tarzan of the Apes", the first of 23 Tarzan adventures by Edgar Rice Burroughs, is full of surprises. The Tarzan of this book is not the Johnny Weismuller or Ron Ely that you might know. He is not raised by gorillas (as I had thought) but by mythical 'anthropoids', a sort of missing link between man and gorilla, with rudimentary speech and a social structure that includes ritual and dance. This is a science fiction fantasy, a "Lost World" meets "Jungle Book". Tarzan befriends and converses with (and kills and eats) a variety of beasts.
There are aspects of the story that modern readers will find as hard to swallow as some of Tarzan's raw meat dinners. For example, this jungle is populated with lions, hyenas and elephants, creatures that in reality never go near rain forests. We are also asked to believe that Tarzan teaches himself to read and write English from books that he finds.
Many modern readers will also find the racialism difficult to take. He boasts of being "Tarzan, killer of beasts and many black men". Coming on a village deep in the Jungle, he immediately readies his bow and poisoned arrows. When his European companion admonishes him that it is wrong to kill humans, the hero protests, "But these are black men". (Correct me if I am wrong, but I don't believe that scene was included in the Disney version). This is a 1914 American novel, with all the prejudices intact.
It's quite well written; Burroughs is very readable. The plotting is a strange mixture of ingenuity and clumsiness. There is a very clever device that involves Jane thinking there are two ape-men, one an admirer, the other her rescuer. But the plot also requires three separate mutinies, two of which happen to involve cousins, off the same remote African beach. This is beyond coincidence.
So is this genre classic still worth reading? I think so, for the same reason "Dracula" and "The Virginian" are still worth reading; this is the book that started it all.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tarzen, the Greatest, 19 Jun 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: Tarzan of the Apes (Hardcover)
Two weekends ago, AMC ran a number of the old Tarzen movies. So I pulled out my copy and read for the 20+ time of the adventures of one of the best known and well-loved characters in history. At one sitting I re-read and totally emersed myself in a place and person who are more real to me than any non-fiction account. This is the greatest story, adventure, action, love, etc. ever written and worth re-reading over and over and over again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It Started Here, 26 July 2012
By 
M. Dowden (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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I think that like most people I first read this as a schoolboy, and come back to it through the years as I have grown up. Lets be honest and admit that it isn't perfect and has a number of 'problems', but as a good old adventure yarn that is an ideal piece of escapism, then you can't but not like this.

I think that everyone must know the basics of the tale, who Tarzan's parents were and how he was brought up. Edgar Rice Burroughs struck gold with this piece of fiction, writing many more Tarzan stories and causing a whole host of imitators to spring up because of its popularity. The quality of the stories do differ immensely though. Apart from one group of short stories this particular book and Return of Tarzan are arguably the best.

If you have never read this before, then why not immerse yourself in a new world? Or if you have read it before, relax and take in the story again.
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Tarzan Of The Apes
Tarzan Of The Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs (Paperback - 28 Oct 2008)
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