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Tarzan of the Apes (Dover Thrift) Paperback – April 14, 1997

4.4 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950) is the creator of Tarzan, one of the most popular fictional characters of all time, and John Carter, hero of the Barsoom science fiction series. Burroughs was a prolific author, writing almost 70 books before his death in 1950, and was one of the first authors to popularize a character across multiple media, as he did with Tarzan s appearance in comic strips, movies, and merchandise. Residing in Hawaii at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941, Burroughs was drawn into the Second World War and became one of the oldest war correspondents at the time. Edgar Rice Burroughs s popularity continues to be memorialized through the community of Tarzana, California, which is named after the ranch he owned in the area, and through the Burrough crater on Mars, which was named in his honour.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 11 and up
  • Grade Level: 6 and up
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; Revised ed. edition (April 14, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486295702
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486295701
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #187,275 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
There are books that everyone 'knows' but hardly anybody reads any more. Reading these classics can be quite illuminating; they are not what you think. For example, do you really know how Dracula was killed? Or why The Virginian said "Smile when you call me that"? Read the originals; you'll be surprised.
"Tarzan of the Apes", the first of 23 Tarzan adventures by Edgar Rice Burroughs, is full of surprises. The Tarzan of this book is not the Johnny Weissmuller or Ron Ely that you might know. He is not raised by gorillas (as I had thought) but by mythical 'anthropoids', a sort of missing link between man and gorilla, with rudimentary speech and a social structure that includes ritual and dance. This is a science fiction tale, a sort of "Lost World" meets "Jungle Book". Tarzan befriends and converses with (and kills and eats) a variety of beasts.
There are aspects of the story that modern readers will find as hard to swallow as some of Tarzan's raw meat dinners. For example, this jungle is populated with lions, hyenas and elephants, creatures that in reality never go near rain forests. We are also asked to believe that Tarzan teaches himself to read and write from books that he finds.
Many modern readers will also find the racialism difficult to take. He boasts of being "Tarzan, killer of beasts and many black men". Coming on a village deep in the jungle, he immediately readies his bow and poisoned arrows. When his European companion admonishes him that it is wrong to kill humans, the hero protests "But these are black men". (Correct me if I am wrong, but I don't believe that scene was included in the Disney version). This is a 1914 American novel, with all the prejudices intact.
It's quite well written; Burroughs is very readable.
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Format: Paperback
This is a great book for youngsters. It is a classic adventure story. Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote a great tale of adventure. I read this book in junior high school and then again in high school. I recently reread it again now in my thirties. It is still a compelling read. One grows to care for Tarzan of the Apes. The movies do not do it justice. The original is the best. A lot of the subsequent Tarzan novels do not measure up to this one. It is a bona fide classic of adventure fiction. It deserves a place next to works by Rider Haggard and Zane Grey. I find myself waxing nostalgic for youth gone by and Tarzan of the Apes is right there. A fun read at any age.
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Format: Paperback
***This review may contain spoilers***

As countless reviewers - Amazon and otherwise - have exhaustively pointed out, Edgar Rice Burrough's enduring "Tarzan of the Apes" (hereafter TOTA) is generally not considered haute couture or advanced literature for various reasons - latent African racism, ignorance about African terrain, wildlife, and culture, broad stock characters, latent imperialistic superiority, improbable situations. Then why has TOTA survived, and produced one of the most recognized and admired characters in all of literature? I believe the main reason for this success is that Tarzan is one of the few characters who has reconciled the "savage" and "civilized" aspects of his personality into a glorious archetype. He certainly does not suffer the tortures of a Henry Jekyll, or a Bruce Banner, or any other multiple personality sufferer. In fact, Burroughs in TOTA seems to suggest that to survive and thrive anywhere, you must combine the best of nature AND nurture, and the best of instinct and intelligence.

Under the fierce protection of Kala the she-ape (herself the literary epitome of indomitable motherhood), the orphaned Tarzan harrowingly and gradually experiences the literal law of the jungle. He is at a primitive disadvantage, since he will always be smaller than the hostile anthropoids he lives with. Although he eventually masters animalistic skills, strength, and cunning, TOTA demonstrates that pure instinct and the feral will to live, by themselves, will not be enough to prove Tarzan's worth. Tarzan discovers that his superior brain gives him the knowledge, learning, memory, and invention (that instinct cannot) to become the anthropoids' equal and eventually their master. Tarzan is an exceptional evolutionary success.
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Format: Paperback
Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950) was a prodigy of imagination. He started his writer career quite late; his first work was published in 1912. From that point on a ceaseless flow of imaginary worlds & heroes poured from his pen: John Carter of Mars, Carson Napier of Venus, David Innes and Abner Perry on Pellucidar at Earth's center and the most famous of them all: Tarzan of the Apes.

Tarzan's world is Africa. But an extraordinary Africa populated with apes more intelligent than any known ones and in later adventures with a plethora "lost cities", "ant-men" or whatever suit ERB in order to deliver a fast paced adventure.

As other reviewers, of this same book in other editions, point out do not expect "politically correct" tales, they are the product of a society still torn by racial prejudices.
Another assumption that closely follows this is: "superior traits" are inherited directly and a Lord will always be a Lord no matter what the circumstances.
The reader may assume all this adventures occurs in an "alternate reality" that have some common traits with our world such as the ones depicted by Guy Gavriel Kay for example.

Now you'll be ready to enjoy the original story of Tarzan as it was delivered by ERB, free from Hollywood changes or comic's stereotypes.
A couple of English nobles are abandoned by a mutinous crew in the coast of Africa where they barely survive.
Adversity proves to be more than what they may endure and both die leaving an infant that is miraculously adopted by Kala an anthropoid that has lost her baby-ape.
Protected by her, Tarzan starts a life struggle to conquer a space among the over towering brutes.
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