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Ivory, Apes & Peacocks: Animals, adventure and discovery in the wild places of Africa Hardcover – 6 Sep 2012

4.8 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Chatto & Windus (6 Sept. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0701186038
  • ISBN-13: 978-0701186036
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3.2 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 402,151 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"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)

Book Description

Breathtaking close-up look at Africa's animals and natural wonders from one of our great wildlife pioneers

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having grown up watching documentary series such as Survival and graduating to the modern BBC series of 'Life' and 'Planet Earth' I was keen to read this autobiography of someone so involved in business end of the creation of such films. Alan Root's book gives us a wonderful insight into the adventures of the wildlife cameraman. I like to think that if i'd read this book twenty years ago, i'd have given such filming a shot myself, but am probably not brave enough! His narrative style and understated modisty of what must have been some exciting, and in places, truly terrifying events, result in a readable rendition of enviable adventure stories. The contents of the book seem to resemble an account of the Willard Price adventure books I enjoyed as a youngster. Root's obvious love of the flora and fauna come across in each chapter and I am found it a compelling read. For those who love natural history, the story of conservation as well as adventure, and would like to see 'behind the scenes' of those groundbreaking documentaries, this book is well worth it. My wife is now enjoying the book herself! It should come with a warning that it might make you want to say goodbye to health and safety and head into the wilds yourself to see what spots of bother you can get into. A great read!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a keen photographer and lifetime fan of wildlife and associated documentaries I found this book to be a perfect add on to my interest in the subjects. The writer is humorous and honest and tells a good tale. The subject material is treated fairly and with some sympathy. Well worth a read and for dipping into time and again.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book from start to finish. A really good tale of the African bush and some about his personal life. I was very interested to read his
version of things after his marriage to Joan fell apart, having just read Wildflower (life of Joan Root)
Such a shame after all he and Joan had done together that Jenny came into his life. And again a shame that Joan wasted so many years of her life waiting and hoping for him to come back. Reading Wildflower I had the hope throughout that he would go back to her....reading Alan's book it was obvious he was never going to. But she eventually turned her life around even though it ended sadly and after Jenny had gone Alan finds love again and starts a family. However much of this book is not about that...but about the amazing bush and life in Africa's Congo and Kenya. Alan was a real young man of Africa..unafraid, daring, modest and funny and led a very exciting life which actually got him somewhere as opposed to many good folks who tried for years to make a success of a life in Africa and got nowhere. As the title suggests--more about Africa's birds and gorillas with less about big game animals.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One of the best wildlife books I have read. If you are a fan of Durrell then read this. He is mention a few times as are the Adamsons and miss Fossey. Shortley after reading i headed to the DRC to see Ivory (well just elephant ung and footprints) apes (bonobos) and peacocks (congo peacock). Alans a great camera man and very inventive. I plan to recreate some of his ideas.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A must read. Breathtaking, enthralling, gripping, thrilling, funny, self-deprecating, laconic, tragic, a veritable page-turner ... think of any term you might use to describe a beautifully written adventure story with larger than life characters and it's not sufficient to do justice to Alan Root's autobiography Ivory, Apes and Peacocks. Household names to my generation like Armand and Michaela Denis, TV Survival programmes, they were only a front for Alan's astonishing wildlife films. Alan and his first wife, Joan, introduced Diane Fosse to her gorillas in the mist; they introduced the world to air balloons for tourists. Alan discovered hitherto unknown characteristics of known and of legendary unseen species. He pioneered so many innovations in wildlife photography all the while honouring and respecting their natural habitat that he has won several lifetime achievement awards as well as the scars of a hippopotamus bite, a hand destroyed by a puff adder bite and life threatening encounters with silverback gorillas and with a motorbike in the vast uninhabited Congo rainforests. And if you want to read more it highlights the two problems with this book. 1: it finishes; 2: there's no promise of a second volume. Please, please somebody make a boxset of Alan's films ... Then we'd have multiple volumes to entertain and educate us. Did I like it? At least as much as you will!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you enjoy adventure tales mainly about animals in Africa then this is the book for you. Certainly one of the best I have ever read with great humour and compassion for the animals and humans involved. Get it for your family or for a animal loving friend.
This guy knows what he is talking about and makes no pretence about the tough sides of the animal kingdom as well as the
cuddly sides - lions eat zebra - hippos and crocs chop up humans and bush babies pee on you...it's all here !
His adventures with the guerrillas are really fantastic. Enjoy.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have looked forward to reading this since I saw him on t.v. talking about it. This is beautifully written about a life of filming adventure. A boy's own life put down in words. It's not exciting nor Tarzanesque just a great report on one mans life filming in Africa. It jumps about a bit is my only criticism but stick with it.
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