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Last Chance to See Paperback – October 13, 1992


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Last Chance to See + Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (October 13, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345371984
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345371980
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (238 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

YA-- The BBC asked this team to film some of the most endangered animal species throughout the world. Adams has recorded their adventures seeking the komodo dragon, northern white rhinoceros, mountain gorilla, kakapo, baiji dolphin, and the rodrigues fruit bat. There is biological information here, but it is inaccessible for report writers due to the lack of an index and the wordy descriptions. However, these same accurate portrayals and Adams's entertaining style will expose students to the worlds of these animals. He moves rapidly from informal, laugh-out-loud descriptions of his travels to serious pleas for awareness and conservation of all animals. The full-color photographs are in two separate sections and help readers to visualize the unusual animals (including the authors).
- Claudia Moore, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“Descriptive writing of a high order . . . this is an extremely intelligent book.”
The Times

“This is life or death stuff, but Adams is a writer who chooses not to shake his finger at the reader.”
Los Angeles Times

“Who would have thought that a book in the field of “ecology/nature”…could be as lively, sharply satirical, brilliantly written and even funny as this one is?…ranks with the best set pieces in Mark Twain.”
Atlantic Monthly --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Last Chance to See, by Douglas Adams, is a very entertaining book.
"bigshack73"
I think that if there are people out there who want to change the world, then reading this book might even give them good ideas on how to do so.
Midnight
The subject matter is very serious, but as this is also a travellogue, Adams is able to put a good amount of humor into it as well.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

87 of 89 people found the following review helpful By Mike Stone on February 17, 2001
Format: Paperback
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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50 of 51 people found the following review helpful By John Cassetta on February 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
Douglas Adams could have worked comfortably within his sci-fi niche for the rest of his career knowing that he had left his mark on the literary world. He chose to take a chance and write a non-fiction account of some of the most unique and fascinating animals on our planet (the same one that Ford Prefect, from the increasingly inappropriately named Hitchhiker's Trilogy, considered "Mostly Harmless").

His addictive writing style made this book impossible to put down. His accounts of the Komodo Dragon and the Kakapo bird are two of the most humorous, yet informative pieces that I have had the pleasure of reading.

I was fortunate enough to hear Adams speak at a local university a few years ago. The crowd was decidedly Hitchhiker fanatics but by the end of the evening, he had us all running to the bookstore to find Last Chance to See.

Read this book. You'll laugh. And you might even learn something, too.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 16, 1999
Format: Paperback
Douglas Adams is one of the funniest authors alive. And were it not for this book, that would be all he'd ever be. This book, however, transcends humor. Whereas the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is one of the funniest books ever, no question, this book has a far more serious bent. In this book, Douglas Adams goes searching for endangered animals, and in the process winds up taking a hilarious and yet very insightful look into human nature and society. The book essentially looks at various aspects of the question "What makes humans different from animals?" And although it is riotously funny, it has some brilliant observations on this note. This book is quite simply amazing, and is one of my favorite books ever, no questions asked. It is, I think without a doubt, the finest book Douglas Adams has ever written.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Riley Merrick on December 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
I received my first copy of Adams and Cawardine's LAST CHANCE TO SEE from one of my roommates in college. I say "first" because I am now working on my fourth copy -- people I loaned it to kept keeping it!
In LAST CHANCE TO SEE, Adams does for the non-fiction natural world what he did for science fiction: he tells an entertaining story that brings each character to vivid life for a reader. The fact that his characters this time 'round are not space aliens and a beleaguered human being, but rather the most endangered of the endangered animals on the planet makes no difference. The aye-aye, kakapo, mountain gorilla, Chinese river dolphin, Komodo dragon, and even the Rodriguez fruit bat ("...there are hundreds of them!") live on vividly in my memory, despite the fact that I have only seen the dragon and the bat in person.
The lessons to be learned in this book are most profoundly related in Cawardine's parable at the end: by losing these animals, and others like them, we are losing integral parts of the universe, important pieces to the puzzle of life. Once they are lost, there is no regaining them, and the world can never the same.
I would recommend this book to any nature lover (but don't ask to borrow my copy, I'm not losing another one!). I howled with laughter and retained the deeper meaning -- and from reading the other reviews, I can see others did the same.
LAST CHANCE TO SEE tops the list of my recommended, life-changing books. I believe nothing will ever knock it off the top. Read it!
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