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Among the Islands: Adventures in the Pacific Hardcover – November 6, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press (November 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802120407
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802120403
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,175,910 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Australian field zoologist and conservationist Flannery (Here on Earth, 2011) cements his reputation as a true descendant of the great nineteenth-century naturalists and explorers with this look back at his expeditions to southwest Pacific islands. Over a 10-year period, with a varying group of intrepid companions, he traveled in the footsteps of earlier adventurers, grasping for modern-day evidence of their long-ago recorded discoveries while searching for rare mammals. Bats, rats, and many other interesting species are caught and studied as Flannery and his cohorts steadfastly work their way from one island to another, in and out of hysterical and worrying escapades as they create an updated file on the animals in the region. Flannery’s prose is electric, aptly combining history, politics, and wide-eyed excitement as he recalls these experiences. He offers plenty of discussion about cannibalism, colonialism, and the ongoing struggles to balance tradition and modernization as he describes places few readers will have heard of, let alone visited. Among the Islands exemplifies the sort of writing that once was commonplace, when adventure meant contributing to our knowledge of the world. Absolutely fantastic in every sense of the word. --Colleen Mondor

Review

“In [Flannery’s] chest beats the wayfaring heart of a discoverer, and in this book, which details his colorful adventures among the flora and fauna of the South Pacific Islands, he reminds us that even right here on Earth, incredible things are waiting to be known.” -Newsweek

“Flannery’s account pieces together the jigsaw puzzle of South Pacific geological, natural, and cultural history with well-grounded knowledge as well as respect and wonder for the natural world. We are lucky to have such an exuberant explorer to illuminate the intricate network of life in the South Pacific—and the perils and possibilities that life embodies on this precious planet we share.” -National Geographic Traveler (Book of the Month)

“Part travel diary and part field notebook, Among the Islands is a rollicking good adventure-science read—something like what you’d get if Charles Darwin starred in an Indiana Jones flick.” -Audubon Magazine

"Flannery is not just an internationally acclaimed zoologist; he’s also an adventurer and storyteller who has discovered creatures no other human has seen. His latest record of exploration traces the beginnings of his career during the 1980s and takes him through more than a decade of study in remote islands of the South Pacific. … Flannery’s writing is generous and exuberant. His enthusiasm is enough to infect even the least science-minded of readers … A breathtaking, informative tour of faraway lands."—Kirkus Reviews

"Tim Flannery is a crackerjack storyteller."—Publishers Weekly

"Australian field zoologist and conservationist Flannery cements his reputation as a true descendant of the great nineteenth-century naturalists and explorers with this look back at his expeditions to southwest Pacific islands. … Flannery’s prose is electric, aptly combining history, politics, and wide-eyed excitement as he recalls these experiences. … Among the Islands exemplifies the sort of writing that was once commonplace, when adventure meant contributing to our knowledge of the world. Absolutely fantastic in every sense of the word."—Booklist (starred review)

“A story told with Flannery’s signature clarity and lively readability…. this is scientific adventure-writing at its finest.” -Open Letters Monthly

Customer Reviews

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Fascinating places with an amazing variety of flora and fauna.
Georgianna M. Bergeron
Tim Flannery is among the last of the great naturalists/scientists/explorers.
Truman Goldendog
This is an ideal read for the lover of adventure and the outdoors.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Beverly Kai on December 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the memoir of an Australian naturalist who, twenty years ago, made the effort to find and study mammals on remote Pacific islands before they became extinct. If he could discover them, then they could be protected.
The man has a sense of humor - - -and he needed it to deal with the native peoples who still live traditional lives among the coconut trees... . but he also had to deal with environmental disruption and exploitation of the forests, which made the finding of obscure species almost impossible.
He also had a brush with a cannibal culture of not too long ago - - in Fiji. Not for the squeamish to read the account of a missionary of 100 years ago.
This is a lively read.....Australians are almost always entertaining.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Georgianna M. Bergeron on December 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The description and the two reviews I've read say it all very well. How neat to be able to visit these remote islands--without the inconvenience of travel, bugs, snakes, diseases and enervating tropical heat! The movie "PT-109" showed these beautiful places and the gorgeous pacific. And a long time ago I read a book by Charis Crockett, an anthropologist in New Guinea, called "The House in the Rain Forest". She typed much of her book with a tree kangaroo on her shoulder. Fascinating places with an amazing variety of flora and fauna. I highly recommend both books.

My only complaint is the shortage of photos! How I'd love to see the coral and colorful fish, the birds, more flowers, and views of the rain forests! The native people are interesting, the bats and rats are cute (I suspect that it would take a zoologist to call them beautiful as he does) and I'm glad he included the pictures. But five or ten times that many would have made a really superior book. I bought this thru Amazon.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Hans U. Weber on May 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Flannery, an Australian writer, scientist, and explorer, recounts his adventurous travels to some islands off New Guinea to take stock of their mammalian fauna (existing or extinct). It was not always easy to deal with the natives but Flannery and his team took all difficulties in stride and with great humor. They visited the Bismarck Islands, Solomon Islands, Fiji, and New Caledonia. They were especially interested in endemic species of bats, including flying foxes, and unique species of rats. Unfortunately civilization with the introduction of our rats, cats, pigs, and dogs together with deforestation and mining has brought to extinction the unique giant rat and other mammals endemic to these islands.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brian Griffith on September 15, 2014
Format: Hardcover
In this account of his youthful expeditions to Melanesia, Flannery cannot make his memories more insightful than they were at the time. His adventures in the islands involve assorted encounters with very wild-spirited locals, hard treks through jungles, and numerous verbal depictions of previously undocumented bats or rats. He admits that he was just catching animals to catalog their existence, without much deeper understanding of their lives or roles in the web of nature. At the time, he lacked the depths of insight into the relations between natural and human history that would characterize his mature observations. In both his personal encounters with the local people and his selection of historical tales there is a young man's focus on bazaar events that would gross out listeners back home in Australia. It's far from Flannery's best writing, but the passion and curiosity of a young explorer are glorious anyhow.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Captain K on January 23, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Flannery, an Australian naturalist, is a great writer, his classic being "Throwim Way Leg." If this book doesn't measure up, it's because of its limited scope - not a review of the Pacific Islands, as the title suggests, but a limited area (New Guinea/Solomon Islands) visited by the writer many years ago to collect specimens. The reader would have to, first, understand how naturalists can get thrilled over things may people wouldn't, such as subtle gradations in birds' wings. I suspect you wouldn't be reading this review if you didn't have some idea. But don't expect a wacky travelogue like you might get from Redmond O'Hanlon, or the dyspeptic musings of Paul Theroux, just an informative if occasionally lighthearted account of a remote corner of the world.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By san franciscan on December 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover
His luck is to do exploration, as tough as it may be, in one of the most beautiful regions on the planet. Our luck is that he has chronicled his journeys so well in this book. A superb journal for real explorers, armchair explorers and those who enjoy adventure. There are both triumphs and cautionary tales here, but his appreciation for this rapidly changing - sadly, not for the better - corner of the world shines through.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bjerkana on January 5, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have a number of Flannery's books in my collection and generally consider him one of the best environmental writers. This book, mostly reminiscences of his early explorations, is a very enjoyable read but not as challenging as some of his others. Read this if you want to know more about his scientific background and share some good stories. It won't give you many insights into his current work.
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