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Galapagos: World's End Paperback – May 1, 1988

4.4 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 442 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (May 1, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486256421
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486256429
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #333,095 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Peter G. Roode on November 1, 1997
Format: Paperback
In anticipation of a forthcoming trip to the Galapagos a visit to the local library turned up this 1924 book by Wm Beebe. Somewhat to my astonishment, the book captivated me. Wm Beebe (1877-1962) was not (as I heretofore had thought) merely a one-dimensioned, deep sea explorer. World traveler, naturalist, director of the NY Zoological Society -- he wrote books ranging from birding to jungle exploration. Beebe turns out to have been an early 20th century Loren Eiseley. This book records a 1923 trip undertaken by fourteen scientists from New York to the Galapagos in a steam power yacht, provided by a wealthy patron. They were later to learn that it was more suited to ladies "sipping tea" than oceanic cruising. They discovered to their astonishment that it was "neither an inexhaustible reservoir of fresh water, nor a floating coal mine". They had to cut short their Galapagos collecting and beat an unplanned retreat to Panama for more provisions. Beebe is a very readable author, with many a well turned phrase sprinkled thru the book. He describes the ocean voyage as, "... driving a momentary wedge thru sunshine, wind, and water..." Later, in a small boat, going ashore in the Galapagos, he describes the gentle swell "...which rose and fell as if the Pacific were breathing quietly and regularly." Accordingly, when it came time to jump, he appropriately waited for the ocean to "exhale". He finds both comfort and wonder in contemplating the Darwinian explanation of all he sees. For Beebe, there is an "honour of being one with all about me and in a small way to have at least an understanding...Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
William Beebe's Galapagos: World's End was published in 1924, so it it is certainly not a substitute for more recent books such as Michael H. Jackson's Galapagos: A Natural History, Jonathan Weiner's The Beak of the Finch, Oxford and Watkins's Galapagos: Both Sides of the Coin, Jonathan Green's Galapagos: Ocean, Earth, Wind & Fire, or Tui de Roy's Spectacular Galapagos. However, Beebe's book contains a wealth of information about the history of the Galapagos, particularly that of the various pirates and privateers who used it as a base of operations, and of Porter's operations against the British whaling fleet during the War of 1812. Beebe's descriptions of what land exploration was like on the Galapagos back in those days(very, very rough) made me very appreciative of the excellent work Ecuador has done in making these fascinating islands readily accessible to elderly and creaky folks like me. I was quite interested to note the changes in our understanding of the biology and geology of these islands that have taken place between the time the book was written (1924) and the present; science, like life, evolves. The technologies of photography and photographic reproduction have also evolved, fortunately; some of the old black and white photographs reproduced in Beebe's book are almost unrecognizable.

Beebe visited the Galapagos long before they became a 'must see' holy site for those of us interested in geology and evolutionary biology; at that time a visit to the Galapagos was a major expedition requiring lots of money, a steam yacht, and lots of planning--definitely not a jaunt for a casual tourist.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this book while engaged in my second trip to the Galapagos Islands, skipping among the chapters to match our own itinerary. I particularly enjoyed Beebe's keen observations of the behavior of individual animals, especially that of the various birds. I also liked his writing style and enthusiasm, which some readers disparage as too "popular" for an account of a scientific expedition. I detected no evidence for the view that he exaggerates; on the contrary, he often includes counts and other detailed specifics of what he is describing and never claims that these are universally applicable. Selected quotes from earlier writings add much interest. His idea of the islands' geological origins, probably the prevailing hypothesis at the time, is now considered obsolete. Not surprising, considering that the book was published in 1924, almost a century ago. Our scientific understanding has changed, and some conditions on the islands have changed as well. Read in that context, this book provides a fascinating perspective.
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"More than 100 splendid illustrations"
Nope. No splendid illustrations. Forget about it.
There's, according to the book:
- 39 drawings
- 75 photos
But, according to me, there's:
- 16 clipped colored drawings on the book cover and flaps.
- 114 flat, whithout contrast, poorly printed black-and-white photos.
So, it's basically a text book with some photo's inside. I didn't read it already, but I'm posting this so you don't buy this like me, expecting for "splendid illustrations" and ended up with an text book. Poorly impressed. On poor paper.
But wait, there's the color cover...
I shall update this when finishing reading. I hope the text worth it.
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