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Beyond the Last Village: A Journey Of Discovery In Asia's Forbidden Wilderness Hardcover – August 1, 2001

ISBN-13: 978-1559637992 ISBN-10: 1559637994 Edition: 2nd

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Island Press; 2 edition (August 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1559637994
  • ISBN-13: 978-1559637992
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 6.2 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #464,255 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"It feels like Conrad's Heart of Darkness in reverse, as he escapes the 'civilisation' of a brutal military regime to find peace and light in the farthest lands."
(The Guardian)


"...often reads like a dispatch not just from a distant place but from a distant time, a letter home from the Age of Discovery that was somehow delayed in transit for a couple of centuries."
(The New York Times Book Review)

About the Author

Alan Rabinowitz is Director of the Science and Exploration Program at the Wildlife Conservation Society based in the Bronx, New York. He is a frequent contributor to Natural History and is the author of two previous books: Jaguar (Island Press, 2000) and Chasing the Dragon's Tail (Doubleday, 1991).


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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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This is really an inspiring book.
Enjolras
The way Mr. Rabinowitz intertwined his experiences in Myanamar with his own internal conflicts really personalized the story and captivated me as a reader.
Margaret Knoebel
Alan Rabinowitz has been, and has played a role for the good of the region and for all the world.
R. Hardy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 40 people found the following review helpful By R. Hardy HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on November 11, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Not many Americans know where Myanmar is; it might help if it hadn't changed its name from Burma. And almost no outsider has gone up to the far northern reaches of the country, where it shares borders with India, Tibet, and western China. Alan Rabinowitz has been, and has played a role for the good of the region and for all the world. He tells about that role in _Beyond the Last Village: A Journey of Discovery in Asia's Forbidden Wilderness_ (Island Press). It is an intensely personal story about important human and ecological issues.
Rabinowitz has been an explorer and an expert in setting up nature reserves in other places, but he was amazed to find the hunters dealing in body parts of rare animals, mostly in trade with China for salt. In expeditions by foot that sound as tough as the ones Victorian explorers had to face, he was able to come to terms with hunters, planning a park system that would encourage hunters to benefit from the study and the conservation of wildlife, rather than the commercial disposal of it; such a system ran, at least partially, on salt as a reward to the former hunters, making wildlife more valuable alive than dead. He also had to try to deal with the bureaucracy of the Myanmar government, which seems stranger than most such institutions. Strangely, Christian proselytizing in the area, teaching that all animals were placed here for our use, was a serious obstacle to be overcome.
It is often his attempts to connect with those of other cultures that are the most moving parts of this book. For Rabinowitz, connecting has not been easy. He still has the stutter that crippled him as a child, and his book has flashbacks of his upbringing and the difficulty of dealing with parents whom he blamed for it and who blamed themselves.
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51 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Susan Dawson on September 12, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Alan Rabinowitz wrote a caring and sensitive book on the nature and people of northern Burma. It was well written, discussed worthy topics (protection of endangered animals and forests) and described a unique part of the world that is quickly vanishing. I've traveled in Burma and was anxious to read Alan's experiences in a hard-to-get to part of Burma. He wrote with empathy for the struggles of the people and did a wonderful job of describing the remote mountain region. Congratulations to him and all those involved in his efforts to preserve the beauty of this wilderness with a national park. Readers will learn alot and also enjoy the tale of a modern day explorer. High recommendation!
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 17, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Massachusetts Sierran, March 2002
Diana Muir
Alan Rabinowitz has the best day job in America. The Bronx Zoo pays him to fly to parts of the world that have been off-limits to western scientists for generations. He assembles a team and walks into the forest where he treks beyond the point at which effective government ends, beyond the last road negotiable by Land Rover, beyond the last village. He comes back to report the existence of new species of large mammals previously unknown to science. Then he arranges to have vast tracks of wild land set off as protected nature reserves.
Rabinowitz works for the organization that runs the Bronx Zoo, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and he doesn't actually find an entirely new species of large mammal every time he steps into the bush. But the delicate Burmese leaf deer he discovered for science in 1997 is flourishing in forests that his Burmese scientific and administrative collaborators are working to conserve. Their efforts have resulted in the protection of 3.2% of the land area of Myanmar as national parkland or wildlife refuge. And the adventures in Myanmar recounted in Beyond the Last Village are merely the latest exploits in a career spent mapping the last refuges of the nearly extinct Sumatran rhino, tracking tigers in Thailand, and determining how large a jaguar preserve need be to succeed in preserving jaguar.
No one is perfect. Rabinowitz has a great story to tell, but he attempts to combine a sensitve exploration of his inner self with real-life adventures that play like an Indiana Jones movie. The outcome can be bad enough to make you wince. Here is Rabinowitz, the sensitive male, awaiting the birth of his child.
"The due date came and went, and I was surprised at how rattled I was.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 27, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Alan has a wonderful gift for expressing his expeditions and emotional journeys on paper. He can set you in the middle of his trails and make you feel his inner turmoils and exhilerations. Although Jaguar was by far his best book, this one should not be missed. I will be anxiouxly awaiting his next journey and book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Margaret Knoebel on January 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed this book. The way Mr. Rabinowitz intertwined his experiences in Myanamar with his own internal conflicts really personalized the story and captivated me as a reader. I also found his experiences with the Taron amazing - imagine seeing and interacting with the last of a group of humans before their extinction. One of the important ideas which I gained from this book is the idea that animals need to come first when a National Park is created. He showed what happens when the needs of the people living the area come first - extinction! At the same time he is careful to note that if the people living in the area are not given an alternative to their current way of life - no park will suceed. The world needs more Alan Rabinowitz's.
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