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Pink Boots and a Machete: My Journey From NFL Cheerleader to National Geographic Explorer Hardcover – March 1, 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 80 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

From Pink Boots and a Machete
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"My big, small discovery in 2001. The mouse lemur of northeastern Madagascar is the world's smallest primate. If he looks a little spacey, it's due to the tranquilizer, not my squeezing." "My little newborn monkey, Emma. It was love at first sight." "My grin atop Mount Roraima comes from having survived the climb and near starvation. We found a spectacular landscape up there--black, forbidding, primeval." "A seemingly magical force drew me to the edge of Guyana's spectacular Kaieteur waterfall and made me want to spread my wings and fly."
"Game day was the pay-off for hours of grueling cheerleading practice. Nothing beat standing on the field listening to thousands of screaming fans--or hearing the National Anthem performed." "Leopards can be killing machines, but this one is a like a large house cat." "Coming full circle: 1978 ... and 2010"

Review

"Mireya is a charming, hilarious, and wonderful storyteller, and though she's been charged and chased by wild animals in exotic locales and survived illnesses that would've killed a lesser person, she is also one of us—keenly and savagely aware of the importance of good hair and lip gloss."—Julie Klam, best-selling author of You Had Me at Woof: How Dogs Taught Me the Secrets of Happiness

"We don't often hear stories of NFL cheerleaders who go on to become a Fulbright Scholar and a Ph.D., but Mireya's story is exactly that and more. Pink Boots is the spirited and colorful story of a little Cuban-American girl who refused to let culture and others' expectations of her hold her back. Her passion for the sciences and her adventurous spirit are deeply inspiring and incredibly invigorating. Mireya is beauty and brains personified--and a badass at that. It is a memoir of survival."—Lisa Ling, journalist and best-selling author of Somewhere Inside

Mayor never gave up her trademark stylishness, even when the going got tough. [Her] gutsy grittiness and wicked sense of humor allowed her to survive danger, disease and sexism. Entertaining reading for the intrepid at heart."—KIRKUS REVIEWS
  
"Written in a breezy style that will be welcome to reality television aficionados, this National Geographic Wild co-host knows her audience and has crafted an appealing memoir that will be particularly welcome to outdoor wannabes."—BOOKLIST
 
"[Pink Boots] fills an important gap; it ought to inspire young people, especially young women, to follow in Mayor’s footsteps. Armchair adventurers and readers interested in nature will enjoy the journey."—LIBRARY JOURNAL


"Pink Boots and a Machete is an empowering autobiography detailing how one humble, tree-climbing, bug-collecting tomboy evolved into one of the most recognizable primatologists and television adventurers on the planet. Mireya Mayor holds nothing back—from growing up in a family displaced by political oppression, to finding fame on the sidelines of professional football fields, to her triumphs and challenges in some of the most remote places on earth. You'll be amazed at Mayor's fertile sense of humor, her brutal honesty, and and her empowering message that anyone can achieve. Can we have it all? Apparently yes, with some perseverance, determination, and attitude, it seems that we really can. If you're female, you'll want to be just like her. If you're a guy ... you'll just want her. Regardless, this is the rare autobiography that carries the true voice of its author, and should not be missed."—HERALD de PARIS 

“Engrossing.” –The Midwest Book Review
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: National Geographic (March 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1426207212
  • ISBN-13: 978-1426207211
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #968,396 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
From the moment you pick up this book you will be drawn into an incredible story of one woman's journey. It is a life full of adventure, exploration, and discovery--both personal and scientific. You will find yourself hard pressed to remember this is an autobiography and not an adventure novel.

Mireya Mayor grabs your attention in the opening chapter of the book when she recounts, in vivid detail, the sudden descent of her airplane in the Congo. As the aircraft drops she realizes that she may die in the crash. From that moment the reader is taken on a journey of her amazing life, recounting how she came to arrive at that moment.

You will enjoy reading about her life as a little girl growing up in Miami. You will actually find yourself laughing out loud when she recounts the menagerie she collected as a child. You will also marvel at the fact this little girl, who was not allowed to join the Girl Scouts because it was "too dangerous", would later in life come face to face with a charging Silver Back gorilla.

She is first and foremost a scientist---but unlike some journals written by or about scientist I have read in the past she does not talk "at" or "down", but rather "to" you the reader. Throughout the book Dr. Mayor shares her travels and discoveries with the reader. Her passion for discovery jumps off the pages, and as a reader you can't help but share her joy and wonder as she explores new lands and encounters new cultures.

You will also share in her frustration when she recounts being judged for her looks and her time as a cheerleader. You will applaud when she does not let comments from not only her colleagues, but also the media, affect her drive or determination.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was interested in this book about Mireya, a cheerleader who goes on to become a renowned primatologist, because of my interest in primates. It is written in a very "today", entertaining. manner and goes back and forth about her personal family history, issues coming from Cuba, how she became a cheerleader and what led her to primatology. Her sometimes gruesome trials and tribulations in the jungles looking for primates, then working for National Geographic covering other animals and deep ocean creatures. She mixes being a girly girl in pink, taking a "little black" dress into the jungle, "just in case" to almost fatal medical issues she gets, being bug infested, hiking and climbing, almost out of food and water. She discovered the mouse lemur! It is a book everyone would enjoy reading. She is almost, but not quite a Jane Goodall in that they differ so much, but their journey is the same in each ones inimitable way.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love Mireya Mayor. She is an inspirtation to all women. She succeeded in a man's field but remained feminine. I bought 2 more copies for girlfriends. It was so funny in parts that I read them out loud to my husband.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mireya Mayor has had a good, high profile of late with her work for the National Geographic folks and has been referred to as "the female Indiana Jones". PINK BOOTS AND A MACHETE, subtitled "My Journey From NFL Cheerleader to National Geographic Explorer", is Mayor's autobiography that is exactly that - the story of how she went from a bug-handling tomboy to NFL cheerleader to primatologist to National Geographic explorer. One of the things that surprised me about this book was the readability of it. Mayor is a scientist, albeit one who is not content to sit in the armchair and let others do her research but goes out into the field, and as such, I expected the book to be a bit dry, but from the opening moments of the story with her plane going down in the Congolese jungle, the book was readable, her story told in a manner that drew one in with its flowing style and her observations on (her) life, told in a wry and engaging manner.

The chapters in the book cover a wide range of subjects, ranging from her very first expedition when she almost died of a blood disease, her becoming a National Geographic correspondent, a chapter on being female in a mostly male-dominated occupation, her first time swimming with sharks, the chapter on her EXPEDITION: AFRICA experience to retrace the route of Henry Morton Stanley in his search for Dr. David Livingstone, but there is stuff that is glossed over that I would have liked to have seen more about. While there is information on her studies and university experience scattered throughout the book, there is no one chapter that is devoted to the subject of getting her degree(s) and the like in the book, something I would have liked to have seen.
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Format: Hardcover
Personally, I loved it. It's an easy read, there is a lot of great scientific information provided but it's not written in a snooty "I have a PhD so look at me talk over your head" way, (and I know plenty of those types...). This book has inspired me to work even harder. Maybe I am biased, I am a first generation college student in my family,I started off at a community college at age 22, and worked my butt off to finally become a graduate student. I am currently half way through my MS degree researching Panamanian wildlife. Like Mireya, I LOVE to wear heels, sparkly dresses, have my hair done, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE wildlife and science. And like the author, I have gotten a lot of grief over it, she has inspired me to go and kick butt even more than usual! She tells the story in a funny way, when you read this book you know that she is a normal person with her own fears, challenges, and self-doubt. People who don't like the book are just haters or lack that same internal passion for everything environmental that people in the fields of biology, natural resources, anthropology, etc. have. It's not supposed to replace classic literature. This book is a fun, interesting, exciting, and inspirational read, and should be given to all young girls and women who love science. I read it on the plane on my way to the International Congress for Conservation Biology, and you bet I wore my heels at the conference (pretty much the only woman who did...)Thanks!Enjoy!
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