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Ivory, Apes & Peacocks: Animals, adventure and discovery in the wild places of Africa Paperback – 5 Sep 2013
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"Written by a consummate wordsmith, Alan Root’s enthralling memoir is the best true-life adventure story to come out of Africa for years. The final chapter, which describes Root’s last moments with Joan, I found almost too painful to read (5 star review)" (Brian Jackman Daily Telegraph)
"This is an entrancing book. Root is a natural story-teller, roaming East Africa before poachers began to decimate the wildlife. Against the staggering backdrop of East Africa’s landscape and wildlife, the darkness of its problems casts a growing shadow over this book... Luckily, Alan Root’s wonderful films remain, a testimony to the man of whom David Attenborough once said: ‘He made wild-life films grow up'" (Daily Mail)
"In a riveting memoir, Root offers far more than a few well-work anecdotes of cute, hand-reared animals who like to sit down to breakfast with you and curl up on the sofa after dinner...a truly compelling book, savage and sparkling by turns" (Kathryn Hughes Mail on Sunday)
"Root is aware that his magical life has ‘run parallel with a heartbreaking holocaust, as wildlife conservation has proved to be a disastrous failure’. This wonderful book can’t put it more honestly than that. Not only are the current generation of wildlife film-makers mere pygmies compared to Root, but soon they will not even be able to attempt matching his documentaries because the world he captured has ceased to exist." (Aidan Hartley Spectator)
"If Dame Daphne Sheldrick’s touching and romantic Love, Life, and Elephants has been climbing the bestseller lists in Britain and America, Alan Root’s Ivory, Apes and Peacocks is by far the deeper and more interesting read. The problems that beset Africa’s wildlife - population pressures, poaching, drought and disease - are all part of this story, though balanced here by Mr Root’s sense of fun and adventure" (The Economist)
A breathtaking close-up look at Africa's animals and natural wonders from one of our great wildlife pioneersSee all Product description
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Top customer reviews
What a marvellous childhood and young adulthood lead to Alan's immersion in his life as a naturalist and cameraman the product of which we take for granted back in the UK. Thanks so much for this book Alan... marvellous.
I hope Emily the chimpanzee really did clean the house!!!
All that said, the story is riveting. He writes well. How marvellous that he followed his instinct rather than opting for a conventional career. And he comes across as a wildlife photographer who pioneered clever innovations in desperately difficult circumstances at around the same time that David Attenborough was making his mark as arguably the greatest wildlife film-maker of all-time. Good timing, that. Moreover, after reading about his experiences as a balloonist and a pilot of light aircraft over the African bush, and his hair-raising accounts of encounters with animals, all I can say is that I would have been paralysed with terror; one is moved to say that Alan Root is a very brave and courageous man.
His account of a bifurcated life that he shared with two women ultimately becomes achingly sad. But this is finally relieved by a poignant allegro describing a meeting with a third woman with whom he has two delightful boys, a visceral yearning for children finally satisfied in his later years.
Very good. And written from the heart.
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