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Paperback Madagascar: The Eighth Continent: Life, Death & Discovery in a Lost World Book

ISBN: 1841624411

ISBN13: 9781841624419

Madagascar: The Eighth Continent: Life, Death & Discovery in a Lost World

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Book Overview

Madagascar is a land where lizards scream and monkey-like lemurs sing songs of inexpressible beauty. It is a place where creatures you may never have heard of--fossa and tenrecs, vangas and aye ayes--thrive in a true 'Lost World' along with bizarre plants like the octopus tree and the three-cornered palm. And where the ancestors of the Malagasy, as the island's people are known, come alive in rollicking ceremonies known as "turning the bones." Join...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

I love this book

I'm a huge Madagascar fan and finiding books on one of my favorite places is a rare treat for me - this book is no exception. It's written wonderfully and has useful factual information. Before travelling here, I would suggest that you find all the information you can and this book is one of about 3 that I could say are appropriate for this.

truly excellent natural history and travel book

This is a truly great book, very well written, well researched, and a joy to read. Tyson shows us a virtual continent that is largey unknown to the rest of the world, home to bizarre wildlife found nowhere else on earth and enigmas that still confound researchers. Tyson addresses many issues relating to Madagascar. Why are so many plants and animals unique to Madagascar? Why did they speciate so wildly? How did they get there to begin with? Describing in detail the extinct megafauna of Madagascar - giant lemurs, giant tortoises, pygmy hippos, and the mighty elephant bird - he addresses issues of how they lived, research relating to them, and how they became extinct - if all of them are indeed extinct, as some may still exist in unexplored corners of the giant island. Tyson also addresses the history of the island, from its original settlement apparently around the time of Christ to the present day. The origin of the Malagasy people is still a mystery, and Tyson explores Indonesian, Africa, and Arabian (as well as later European) influxes and influences on the island, not only in terms of history and archeology but also religion, culture, society, psychology, and how the people of the island make a living. The Malagasy are a fascinating blend of Indonesian, African, and Arabian peoples, showing diverse traits from these cultures and providing a continual mystery to researchers. Tyson closes the book with a detailed and comprehensive look at the effort to save the last wild areas of Madagascar. Showing how a new national park is working, he shows that much has been accomplished on the island, but much remains to be done, and the preservation effort is fraught with peril. If conservationists are to save the unique chameleons, geckos, tenrecs, lemurs, serpent eagles, and other wildlife of Madgascar, as well as its unqiue flora, Tyson shows how they must address basic issues of human dignity, the economy, land rights, and basic education as well. A truly great book, a wonderful introduction to Madagascar that I just can't recommend highly enough!

PUTTING MADAGASCAR ON THE MAP FOR EVERYONE !

I can't more heartily recommend this book if you have even a smidgeon of interest or curiosity in Madagascar! No nature writer has yet compiled so much information into such a readable format. The author tends to veer off his researcher accounts into side topics with regularity, all the while skillfully relating them and never failing to lead us back into his main subject. The way he weaves the history and culture of the Malagasy people into his narratives is clever and accurate. If you are considering a personal visit to what is truly the last 'Lost World' on our planet, absorbing the information in this superb work is the single best way that I can suggest to prepare for the experience!

narrative non-fiction at its absolute best

This book does what only the best narrative non-fiction can do, it takes us to places where we'll never go and fascinates us with tales of subjects that we never knew we cared about. Eighth Continent ranks alongside the best of John McPhee, and with other more recent work like Reflections in Bullough's Pond. You don't have to be interested in Madagascar to read this one for sheer pleasure.

Romantic Reallife Zoology and More

Tyson takes us along on an adventure-filled, wonderful trek through the rainforests of Madagascar. The discoveries of new animals are chronicled, breathlessly, as if you are a member of the team. This is one of those important books that will be on my "special" shelf for a long time to come.The chapter "Search for the Pygmy Hippo" is bound to become a classic among cryptozoologists! This is a great book.
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