3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Excellent photography, interesting species, with some strange opinions,
This review is from: In Search of Remarkable Trees: On Safari in Southern Africa (Hardcover)
Pakenham has selected about 60 species, mostly native, from the very diverse tree flora of Southern Africa, and presents the most "remarkable" specimens with almost 150 large photographs, mainly shot in open landscapes of South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and Madagascar. The photos have been taken with a large format camera and they are of very high quality, both technically and artistically. Pakenham makes beautiful compositions and uses light skillfully, and what the best, the photos are a good mixture of artistic and documentary photography. The only drawback is that many of the large photos are divided into two pages, sometimes even the target tree being just at the turn of the pages.
The text has been written for the general public, including some basic facts about the trees and additionally, in the European style, just as much about the human history of the region and anecdotes of Pakenham's trips. A location map is included at the end of the book. Unfortunately, there is nothing about climate, nature types, conservation state etc. of the area.
Despite the stunning photography and interesting species, I got a nasty aftertaste of the book. The first reason is that the book has partly been dedicated to the fight FOR invasive alien trees. The ecologists, who try to save indigenous flora by eradicating alien invasives, are repeatly called "Talibans", and their actions are compared with ethnic cleansing in the Balkans. The second reason is Pakenham's style to "take turns with a machete" if there are saplings blocking the view of the target tree in the forest reserves of Madagascar. How many of these saplings were of an endangered species? I really hope the readers of the book don't think they have the right to do that, because Pakenham also did. Here Pakenham shows his background as an Anglo-Irish aristocrat who travels in Africa in the colonial masters' style - formerly with mules and porters.
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Initial post: Feb 2, 2014 5:37:33 PM PST
Your mom says:
Thank you. I am not going to purchase this book because it sounds like severely misplaced politics. Invasive trees = Taliban? Totally bizarre and NOT interesting when what I want is a good way to find unique trees in Southern Africa.
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