12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: The Malay Archipelago: The Land of the Orang-utan and the Bird of Paradise (Oxford paperbacks) (Paperback)
Although the author himself says he is no writer, he is patently wrong - this book is full of wonderful descriptive, poetic passages, which underline this charming man's love of nature and dedication to the truth of scientific study, as opposed to the accepted 'truths' of the day.
An interesting insight into the groundwork that helped to develop the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection, it also compares the British and the Dutch methods of colonisation, and controversially comes out on the side of the Dutch - against all current (and our received) perceptions of the Dutch as ruthless, money-grubbing opportunists.
Wallace was also unusual in using geographic and geological features combined with population spreads (human & biological) to support the new theories of continental drift and a world older than the Biblical model.
I'm lost in adsmiration for the way he managed to survive depravation, lack of company, housing, support, money and produce the finest collection of birds and insects that the world had ever seen; make comparative studies of the linguistic traits of all the major tribes; keep a detailed diary of all his travels ... all this in a known area of cannibals and head-hunters with only 3 or 4 assistants and he the only white person for hundreds of miles. Compare this to other explorers like Richard Burton who needed an entourage of several hundred for all their 'essentials'.
This book is a very readable profile of an enignatic Victorian naturalist at a crucial period in scintific history - would that I could have met him!
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 9 May 2013 10:47:59 BDT
This review probably relates to a different print of this book - this version is a cheap, knocked-off copy that is borderline unreadable. Read the one-star reviews which are from people who bought this version, and you'll get a better idea what you're ordering.
In reply to an earlier post on 24 Apr 2015 01:14:12 BDT
Sebastian Palmer says:
Not the reviewers fault, but Amazon's. They appear to attach reviews by title, regardless of edition, or even format.
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