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The Eighth Continent:: Life, Death, and Discovery in the Lost World of Madagascar Paperback – June 26, 2001
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It sounded as if the island was being set up for a demographic collapse similar to the one that affected Ireland in the 19th century, and the concern about preserving an island watershed resonated as well, since I, too, live on an island with a watershed that is deteriorating. But I did not rush out to help the Malagasy save themselves from themselves, nor even make any effort to learn more about their situation. They are, after all, as Neville Chamberlain said about the Czechs, a distant people of whom we know nothing.
Besides, at that time Peter Tyson had not published his excellent "The Eighth Continent," which while formally a report about conservation studies by westerners in Madagascar is practically a very long encyclopedia article about the island.
A magazine writer with a taste for hiking, Tyson made a number of visits to field research projects in the `90s, each lasting at least long enough to do some observation on his own. These reports are woven deftly into reports from earlier travelers concerning the anthropology, political history, natural history, economic activity etc. of the island over the past couple of hundred years. There is some material about earlier times, though sketchy, as the Malagasy did not write until Christian missionaries reduced their language to paper less than 200 years ago.Read more ›
I would recommend reading Mike Eveleigh's, Maverick in Madagascar, after this.