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The Overloaded Ark: Complete & Unabridged Audio Cassette – Audiobook, 1 Oct 1998

3.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Chivers Audio Books; Unabridged edition (Oct. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0754002098
  • ISBN-13: 978-0754002093
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 17.8 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,888,528 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Book Description

The Overloaded Ark is Gerald Durrell's hilarious and enthralling account of a trip to Cameroon to collect animals for Jersey Zoo. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Gerald Durrell was a world-famous naturalist, animal-collector and conservationist. Born in India in 1925, and having lived in Jamshedpur, Corfu and Crystal Palace, he eventually founded Jersey Zoo in 1959. He was a lifelong lover of animals, and after taking numerous trips to collect exotic wildlife for the zoo, he founded the Jersey Wildlife Conversation Trust in 1963. He also wrote numerous well-loved books about his glamorous and not-so glamorous experiences, his most famous works being My Family and other Animals and The Overloaded Ark. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is about a business that, for the most part, no longer exists - the business of collecting animals for display in zoos. Wildlife conservation has changed a lot since then so the kind of expedition that Gerald Durrell and his companion, John, undertook in 1953, described in this book, just could not happen now.

Gerald describes how he and John spent several months in Cameroon collecting a variety of animals, birds and reptiles and some of the adventures they had, including the triumphs and disappointments. He acknowledges right at the beginning that the expedition may seem more exciting than it really was, because all the boring aspects have been omitted. Even so, there were enough exciting moments to fill this book.

He describes some of the local people, who he mostly got on well with - but of course he did have some problems and we are told about these. He describes some of the creatures he collected, and the disappointment when some died or escaped.

My favorite (both at school and now) was a chimpanzee that had already been domesticated. Gerald was asked to look after him before he could be shipped to London. This was no ordinary chimpanzee, as he not only enjoyed smoking cigarettes but was able to light his own using either matches or lighter, and also displayed other characteristics more normally associated with people than with chimpanzees. Always remember that this was 1953.

This is a highly entertaining book, which I first read at school, where it was compulsory reading - and it was the only such book that I enjoyed. I still enjoyed it when I read it again recently, after discovering (to my surprise) that it is still available.
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Format: Paperback
In this book, Gerald Durrell journeys to Eshobi and later goes to Bakebe. Since this is Durrell's first book, he obviously does not have the experience with writing which he displays well in his other books like "The Whispering Land" or " The Druken Forest". Although not as humourous as his other books, it does offer an interesting account of his journey and does introduce some interesting characters such as his two hunters Elias and Andriana. If you're a first-time reader of Durrell, don't start with this one, you may be disappointed with him and deprive yourself of reading some of his better books.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good condition for the price I paid a great money saver to by used items I have brought used books before but most of the time they have fallen apart not this one
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Format: Paperback
A bit tatty and discoloured, but undamaged and readable.Quite old and obviously ex-school book complete with list of owners, hence the condition.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9243abc4) out of 5 stars 13 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x922686cc) out of 5 stars Where da beef? In this book, that's where 25 Aug. 2002
By Samuel Krikorian - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Gerald Durrell spent most of his life collecting interesting animal specimens and Durrell is an interesting human specimen himself. His well chronicled life (mostly chronicled by Durrell) begins with the hilarious, and very succesfull, "My family and Other Animals". It is ably followed up with the equally hilarious "Birds, Beasts and Relatives". Both books are full of tales from the Durrell family's years on the Greek Island of Corfu, pre WWII. Little Gerry dives right into the flora and fauna of the island, including its human fauna. I own very few nonfiction books with such a plethora of memorable characters. Now, of course, we get to the volume in question. It is plenty good, and worth multiple readings over years, as is "A Zoo In My Luggage" and several other books detailing trips to collect animals. A word of warning, don't go nuts and buy all the zillion Durrell titles. Some of them are out of print for a reason and were most likely dashed off by Durrell to finance a collecting trip or two. If you read a sampling of Amazon.com reviews you will sniff these out and avoid wasting you hard earned lucre. And please, get "My Familiy and Other Animals and "Birds, Beasts and Relatives" right now, if you dont have them already.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x91558f48) out of 5 stars Still enjoyable nearly forty years on 6 May 2003
By Peter Durward Harris - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is about a business that, for the most part, no longer exists - the business of collecting animals for display in zoos. Wildlife conservation has changed a lot since then so the kind of expedition that Gerald Durrell and his companion, John, undertook in 1953, described in this book, just could not happen now.
Gerald describes how he and John spent several months in Cameroon collecting a variety of animals, birds and reptiles and some of the adventures they had, including the triumphs and disappointments. He acknowledges right at the beginning that the expedition may seem more exciting than it really was, because all the boring aspects have been omitted. Even so, there were enough exciting moments to fill this book.
He describes some of the local people, who he mostly got on well with - but of course he did have some problems and we are told about these. He describes some of the creatures he collected, and the disappointment when some died or escaped.
My favorite (both at school and now) was a chimpanzee that had already been domesticated. Gerald was asked to look after him before he could be shipped to London. This was no ordinary chimpanzee, as he not only enjoyed smoking cigarettes but was able to light his own using either matches or lighter, and also displayed other characteristics more normally associated with people than with chimpanzees. Always remember that this was 1953.

This is a highly entertaining book, which I first read at school, where it was compulsory reading - and it was the only such book that I enjoyed. I still enjoyed it when I read it again recently, after discovering (to my surprise) that it is still available in the UK.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9148f048) out of 5 stars A Lovable and discriptive novel. 16 Jun. 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio Cassette
Durrell's descriptions are so enthralling, I actually read the entire book in one night. If you like books about animals, such as the All Creatures series, you must read this book. I first read this book when I was 10, and this was probably the first adult book I read. The way Durrell describes the catching of animals and the way he captures each character's essence is incredible. You will fall in love with this book. I strongly recommend it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x915b45a0) out of 5 stars For the Durrell lover 30 Jan. 2012
By Anush Moorthy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This one is the first of Durrell's books and details his first visit to Cameroon and Africa, where he went about collecting animals for a zoo in the UK. The first half of the book is a little slow and lacks the general sense of observational humor that seems to peek out from Durrell's other books. The second half makes up for it though, for here, Durrell is in top form - humor, situational comedy and narrative flourishes abound. Slightly longer than the others that Durrell has written, a read I thoroughly enjoyed.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9226899c) out of 5 stars A High Point in the History of Scientific Memoirs 5 Nov. 2008
By Theseus - Published on Amazon.com
This review relates to the hardback first edition.

A hit when published, and still in print, this memoir records the adventures of Durrell and zoologist John Yealland, in their collecting expedition to the Cameroons -- a trip designed and financed by these two intrepid men from scratch.

Durrell, then 28, was dubbed "the youngest zoological collector in Great Britain." And both Yealland and Durrell, according to publisher Viking, were "as green as the jungles ahead of them." Here is how Viking pitched the tale on the dustcover of the 1st American edition: "Being the wonderful account of an expedition by two young naturalists to the rain forests of the Cameroons to collect rare animals and birds for British zoos; in which you will meet (among others) such diverting characters as two notably unheroic native hunters, some lovable duikers, a fabulously ingratiating chimpanzee named Chumley, and a giant water shrew known as the Fossil That Bit. A book so knowledgeful, humorous and modest that you wil long remember it as a reading experience of a particular enchantment."

Cute.

However, this undersells Durrell's power as a writer. One expects him to be a naturalist of enthusiasm, but a passage like this speaks to his narrative maturity...

"The most notable feature of the forest was the innumerable tiny streams, shallow and clear, that meandered their way in an intricate and complicated pattern across its floor. Glinting and coiling round the smooth brown boulders, sweeping in curves to form the snow-white sandbanks, busily hollowing out the earth from under the grasping tree roots, simmering and chuckling, they went into the dark depths of the forest. They chattered and frothed importantly in diminutive waterfalls and scooped out deep placid pools in the sandstone, where the blue and red fish, the pink crabs, and the small gaudy frogs lived."

And that is just half of a remarkable description that moves on to describe these streams in the dry season, connecting them to more fauna and flora, a chunk of prose highly biological and highly poetic. Damn!
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