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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
4.0 out of 5 stars Humorous, interesting- well worth reading July 31 2001
I am not an Adams fanatic and found his other books amusing, not wildly funny. I enjoyed this one much more, with Adams being funny, but also very, very serious at times. This book is a mixture of nature and travel writing and comedy, and the resulting cocktail is a resounding success. Adams could have been a much better travel writer than somebody like Bill Bryson, who tries too hard to be funny and can be very condescending.
Read this whether you like books on nature or not. You will not be disappointed.
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By Clomy
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
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 seen at all) are still very apt. It's written by the late Douglas Adams (of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy fame) and he lends his same pleasantly absurd sensibilities to his actual experiences as he does to his fictional characters (you can easily see which characters he himself more resembles). While the book in itself is advocating better treatment of our most vulnerable species, it doesn't come off as too preachy (though nor is it dismissive of humankind's role in the ongoing mass extinctions) and generally does a good job of dealing with the complexity on the ground.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Book Feb. 25 2012
By ErinLee
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. This book sheds light on the dire situation of our most endangered species without leaving one feeling depressed about it. Great book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gets the message across with humor.. Nov. 22 2001
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 my expectations. Adams and Carwardine tell the true story of their various journeys to exotic locations around the world to track down endangered species for a BBC radio program. Using Adams' trademark sarcasm and humor, the seriousness of the subject is eased into readers' perception while still providing plenty of material for those who are already champions of endangered species. Seeing the humorous style used by Adams in his fiction works applied to a nonfiction topic is refreshing and enjoyable.
This is a truly excellent read for anyone who is a fan of Douglas Adams or environmentalism, and I guarantee you won't be able to put it down for long. :)
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Most recent customer reviews
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 24 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Last Chance to See
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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 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
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Douglas Adams greatest books
READ THIS BOOK. I believe it is some of his finest (observational) humor Admas has ever written. It also tells a compelling educational storie about some of our planet's endangered... Read more
Published on Sept. 5 2001 by dac7442
5.0 out of 5 stars Laughter, joy, and profound sadness
Speaking personally (as a professional ecologist, for what it's worth), I have grown weary of the pedantic, condescending misanthropism that characterizes so much environmental... Read more
Published on Aug. 30 2001 by William Adair
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