FREE Delivery in the UK.
Only 6 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
Gerald Durrell: The Autho... has been added to your Basket
+ £2.80 UK delivery
Used: Very Good | Details
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Expedited shipping available on this book. The book has been read, but is in excellent condition. Pages are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine remains undamaged.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Gerald Durrell: The Authorised Biography Paperback – 20 Mar 2000

4.6 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
£12.99
£5.90 £3.06
Note: This item is eligible for click and collect. Details
Pick up your parcel at a time and place that suits you.
  • Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
  • Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
How to order to an Amazon Pickup Location?
  1. Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
  2. Dispatch to this address when you check out
Learn more
£12.99 FREE Delivery in the UK. Only 6 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Special Offers and Product Promotions


Frequently Bought Together

  • Gerald Durrell: The Authorised Biography
  • +
  • The Corfu Trilogy
  • +
  • A Zoo in My Luggage
Total price: £32.47
Buy the selected items together

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.




Product details

  • Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; New Ed edition (20 Mar. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006387306
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006387305
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 4 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 139,831 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

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'

See all Product Description

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 30 Mar. 2000
Format: Paperback
This book captures the essence of Gerald Durrell. He was a passionate conservationist and writer, founder of Jersey Zoo, and had a wicked sense of humour. The public Durrell was enthusiastic and an inspiration to many, behind the scenes there were flaws, but these are sensitively presented by Douglas Botting. The author only met Gerald Durrell once, but was given access to private papers, letters and other unpublished material. Through Gerry's own writing, and comment from members of the famous 'My Family', as well as from his first wife Jacquie, second wife Lee, and colleagues and friends, we learn more of Gerry's childhood, his romantic liaisons, and passion for alcohol (just like the Fon of Bafut who Gerry made famous in his books about animal collecting in Cameroon). Gerry's own words speak out from this biography, with many quotes, and Durrell fans will enjoy revisiting his colourful descriptions of expeditions around the globe. This biography proves Gerry Durrell was larger than life, but there was a personal price to pay. The book clearly talks about the more problematic times in Gerry's life, but we are still left with a sense of wonder at the man and admiration for all he achieved.
Comment 22 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
I've been a lifelong fan of Gerald Durrell and his tireless works, both as a naturalist and as an author. I was greatly saddened by his death, and it is perhaps a loss that many others have felt.That this biography has been allowed access to personal memoirs, and drafts of his never-written autobiography, reflects a side of Durrell never seen in the slightly hazy good-natured narcisstic reflection that is his style of autobiography, or in his media appearances. In many cases, a 'truthful' biography lessens the opinion of the subject - often a shining reputation is tarnished as skeletons are found in well hidden closets. In this case, for me at least, my opinion - and understanding - of him has increased, for as well as the adventurer and animal lover, one finally sees Durrell the human-being.
Comment 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Now at 10 I wanted to be Gerald Durrell. OK blame it on afternoons in school reading "My Family and other Animals" and thinking why could I not have been born into a family so eccentricaly dysfunctional and live on Corfu to boot! Let me be clear, I had no idea where Corfu was. Had seen the sea (North) mabbe enough times to count on one hand but my older brother John was a dead ringer for Lawrence (except he couldn't write) and I longed to be anywhere other than drab suet pudding island, with a childhood other than my own. I continued to read Durrell (the animal collecting years) and then in later times the other Durrell (Alexandria Quartet) took over as more interesting and Gerald fell away as a bit of a penny pot boiler of animal stories where similar stories were rehashed to make money for worthy causes. So, as when you turn a certain age and revisit golden sands (or in my case golden grains of sands) of childhood, I was curious to know what became of Gerald the writer/man. I knew he had the Jersey Zoo, was loved by Princess Anne (well not literally-but then why not?) and has since died. But authorised biography. As my excuse, it was one I came across in an op shop and thought well, it would be a start. So, it turns out it is a bloody good biography. Durrell and Durrells come to life in its pages in suprising ways. First that Gerald was at least the intellectual equal to Lawrence and Lawrence was more of a peasant than his "literature" would suggest. It is a well researched biography despite being authorised, not hesitant in showing the flaws of G. Durrell, he appears never to have truely grown up eg become comfortable in his skin and the story of his aging and dying are sadder because of this element/thread of the narration.Read more ›
Comment 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed the humour which showed through in the extracts of the personal letters written by Durrell even in times of severe adversity - a lesser man would have given up his ambitions in early life.
It was also great to see how one man could influence so many old fashioned attitudes in the 'Victorian' zoos around the world.
The sad ending to Durrell's life made me draw comparisons with John Aspinall who also suffered in later life, but likewise achieved great things for conservation without any formal zoology training.
A very moving story.
Comment 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Like many I have been a fan of Durrell's writing since a child, and so now in my fifties decided it was high time to discover more about the man himself. This authorised biography is superb. It was a revelation to discover what a complex man Gerald Durrell was, and how truly extraordinary his family were. A humble man - but rightly so, because actually much of what has been achieved was done so by people such as his first wife Jacqui, and his second wife Lee. Durrell himself sadly was an explosive alcoholic, disorganised and a dreamer, who would never have made his dream a reality without the various hardworking people who supported him. BUT like many geniuses, it was his dreams that inspired others - the spark that started something that will live on for eternity. I cannot recommend this book highly enough - Botting is a wonderful writer, who clearly got right underneath the skin of the man Durrell was, and portrays him lovingly but honestly. Illustrations included, though reproduced poorly in the paperback.
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews



Feedback