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Last Chance to See [Paperback]

Douglas Adams Mark Carwardine
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A hitchhiker's guide to the animal kingdom Feb. 17 2001
Douglas Adams' sense of humour is so strong, it could inject a bucketful of laughs into an obituary. Needless to say I wasn't surprised when this book, his elegy for endangered species, turned out to have a welcome balance between laughter and melancholy.
Adams is joined by zoologist Mark Carwardine, as they use their last chance to see a variety of animals on the brink of extinction, such as the Komodo Dragon, the White Rhinos of Zaire, New Zealand kakapos, and Yangtze river dolphins. Adams, amateur wildlife lover, is wise enough to know the purpose of his journey: to shine some of the glare from his celebrity as a "science-fiction comedy novelist" on the issue of global extinction. He does wisely not to downplay the plight of these animals in the favour of commerciality, but manages to produce an entertaining work nonetheless. Carwardine, and the other people we encounter, sometimes come off as little more than characters in a Douglas Adams novel. I am hesitant to believe that everyone he encounters has the same dry, deadpanned British sense of humour. Nonetheless, the characters' eccentricities further shed light on the kinds of people who are willing to undertake the monumental task of saving these beautiful beasts. It is not work for the dispassionate.
"The great thing about being the only species that makes a distinction between right and wrong," he notes at one point, "is that we can make up the rules for ourselves as we go along." Which brings up the second theme he hopes to illustrate here. Humans are dumb. No, that's too simple. Humans are egotistical, selfish, wasteful, materialistic, impudent, and dumb.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Endangered animals meets British humor Nov. 13 2003
Do you like humorous books? How about one's with travel, nature, and exotic, endangered animals? This book covers all of those subjects and more. The author and narrator of this book is Douglas Adams who travels along to many countries with Mark Carwardine. They go to places such as Komodo island (to search for the Komodo Dragon of course), Zaire Africa, Madagascar, and those are just naming a few. They go there to track down endangered animals, and they keep it interesting with their intelligence and humor.
Adams is a brilliant writer never leaving out anything. For example, when he can't think of anything else to say he writes that he can't think of anything else to say, even printed in his book. When they were flying to China to look for the baiji dolphin Adams bought several different aftershave's just for the heck of it. That's where a lot of the humor comes in.
I can think of laughing at so many points in this book. Adams sarcastic and witty comments toward everything make you smile and puts you in a good mood. Such as when he talks back to a man in a blue polyester suit, in Tanzania at the "airport." Another person that I found to be quite humorous was Dr. Struan Sutherland a man who had devoted his whole entire life to the study of venom. Adam's and his crew went to go ask him what to do if they got bit by a Komodo dragon or a snake. His response was simply, "Don't get bitten." There was more, but I don't want to give it away.
This book is very adventurous, and a bit suspenseful at times with all the dangerous animals. They risked being hurt several times, which is definitely more interesting to read. So if you are interested in anything I've said Last Chance to See is a must read for you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars His best work, definitely... June 25 2001
This was the book that meant the most to Douglas Adams himself, because unlike the Hitchiker or the Dirk Gently series, "Last Chance to See" is a true story. It is the story of Douglas Adams and Marc Carwardine, a zoologist, travelling around the world to experience species of animals that are close to extinction. One of the animals, the kakapo, a parrot in New Zealand, is reduced to only 40. His journey opens your eyes what it means when something is gone forever, when there is no more chance to see it in real life. You experience different cultures and customs through the eyes of a writer who has written about them all along, but by using alien worlds as metaphors, this time it is real. I have read this book many many times, but sadly have to say that the event that really opened my eyes about what it means that you missed your last chance to see is Douglas Adams's death, with it, I missed my last chance to see. Because of this book, I developed an interest in evolution and a thirst for knowledge about the way this world works. I think it is essential reading for everyone who is remotely interested in anthropology, zoology, wildlife preservation or simply a good book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Humor in Endangered Species Aug. 18 2000
If you need a book for your Biology project on endangered species and need facts, this book is NOT it. If youre looking for drama and enlightment, this is also NOT for you.
This book is instead a humor book like the HitchHikers Trilogy (even though its not a trilogy). Its about endagered species like gorillas and other strange fauna, as well as the other stranger species that our biology teachers and Discovery Channel never told us about. Even if you think that you know about all endangered species, are a part of WWF, and spend millions on saving them, you probably have never heard of the many fauna featured in this book and even if you have, this book would make you laugh. But if you think that this book has no seriousness and is all funny, that wouldnt be correct either. Last Chance to See would lead you off loving Douglas Adams and his humor but it'd also leave you collecting pennies in a jar for saving these funny creatures. Even if nonfiction and animals is not for you, id highly recommend reading this book.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Combination of Travel Writing, Wildlife Advocacy, and British...
While it's a bit dated (especially the parts on China and the now extinct Baiji), a lot of the issues with traveling and getting to see these animals (and whether they should be... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Clomy
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Book
This was a wonderfully unexpected find. Douglas Adams writes in his famous witty and comical fashion, while sharing the fantastic true story of his adventures. Read more
Published on Feb. 25 2012 by ErinLee
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartfelt, humorous, self-reflecting & enlightening
Heartfelt, humorous, self-reflecting & enlightening.
This book exceeded my highest expectations - set after Douglas Adams' other books. Read more
Published on March 8 2010 by Val Boroda
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't blink!
Somewhere in the depths of its vast corporate wisdom, the Guardian/Observer news organisation found a pearl of good sense. The pearl hatched a precious jewel of an idea. Read more
Published on July 16 2006 by Stephen A. Haines
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't miss this one!
I loved reading this book. It is a must-read for all who care about the environment, love travel-reading and think Douglas Adams is one of the funniest writers ever!
Published on Feb. 7 2002 by Hronnsa
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid, Serious Fun
This book touches on a very serious topic, basically, the extinction of several species of animals that adams is fortunate enough to get to see. Read more
Published on Dec 23 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Last Chance to See
Last Chance to See Ballantine, 1990, 222 pp., $...
Douglas Adams ISBN 0-345-37198-4
Last Chance to See, by Douglas Adams, is a powerful and insightful look at the... Read more
Published on Dec 16 2001 by Andre Prudhomme
5.0 out of 5 stars Gets the message across with humor..
I picked up this book because like so many others, I'm a huge fan of all of Douglas Adams' work. I didn't know what I was about to read, but this book definitely surpassed all of... Read more
Published on Nov. 22 2001 by lemonzest
5.0 out of 5 stars hilarious, if over credulous
Douglas Adams is best known, and rightly so, for his hilarious Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy books (and radio serial and tv series). Read more
Published on Nov. 4 2001 by Orrin C. Judd
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious look at extinction
Douglas Adams looks away from the Hitchhiker's guide to the universe, into our own little world (Mostly Harmless as he referred to it). Read more
Published on Sept. 29 2001 by Raja V
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