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The Fate of the Elephant (1994)

by Douglas H. Chadwick

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681292,197 (4.61)1
A revealing report on the impending extinction of the elephant.



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Chadwick is a freelance science writer who is engaged by the National Geographic Magazine to do an article on elephants ´across the world´. Two things that you might expect to happen don´t. Firstly there is no sense in this book that Chadwick was constrained by any kind of budget, his journeying must have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Secondly, there is not the slightest hint of dumbing down, or avoiding controversy. Chadwick has really written a book that does justice to its subject, and it is readily apparent that he has suffered and toiled for his art. His energy and stoicism is extraordinary, but his real genius is telling the stories of people who know, love, compete with, exploit and kill elephants. He peels back the layers of popular myth, and doesn´t flinch from the most Byzantine debates about the morality and logic of schemes for protecting and/or exploiting elephants. And he is quite honest about his own views on elephants and challenges the reader to examine their own. This really is a masterpiece, of science writing, travel writing, and a hymn to the beauty and qualities of elephants. The analysis of CITES (Convention on Trade in Endangered Species) is devastating, suggesting comparisons with Hansen´s ´Orchid Fever´. At times profoundly disturbing, at others uplifting. This would have to be essential reading for anyone with any interest in, or feeling for, elephants and wildlife conservation generally. A magnificent book that belies its photo-journalistic origins. ( )
1 vote nandadevi | Apr 12, 2012 |
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A revealing report on the impending extinction of the elephant.

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