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Almost Adam

3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  412 ratings  ·  50 reviews
In a remote, unexplored savanna in Kenya, American paleoanthropologist Ken Lauder discovers a boy whose physical characteristics match those of the so-called "missing link." This earthshaking encounter sets the course for a stunningly unique tale of adventure and wonder. Ken soon realizes that this place has escaped the progress of evolution and has stood still for several ...more
Paperback, 607 pages
Published February 1st 1997 by Avon Books (first published January 1st 1996)
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Out of Africa by Karen BlixenWest with the Night by Beryl MarkhamThe Flame Trees of Thika by Elspeth HuxleyThe Constant Gardener by John le CarréUnbowed by Wangari Maathai
Books Set in Kenya
85th out of 127 books — 59 voters
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Books I'd Read if They Weren't So Long
14th out of 15 books — 7 voters

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Community Reviews

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I first discovered this book while living in my car in New Orleans (that sounds a lot more exciting than it was). I stopped at a library for the internet, and ended up finding my way to this book. I probably read 5 pages, and almost 3 years later couldn't get it out of my head.
Granted, I am hopelessly enamored with paleoanthropology, but it was not even remotely possible to stop reading this book. It is fiction, and some of the facts are a little bit off (such as the Mesozoic ending 75 million
The entire book was on the verge of something exciting, but never quite got exciting.
Hmmm, there were parts of this book that were absolutely wonderful. The story of Ken and Long Toes is compelling and so very interesting. Unfortunately, Ken and Long Toes, as interesting and as book worthy as they might be, only account for a fraction of this book, perhaps, and I'm being generous, maybe1/3. The rest of the book is spent dealing with other characters whose place in this story is much farther reaching than Popescu has time for here. Thusly they become somewhat hastily drawn, incom ...more
Good. But so incredibly overlong that it made me want to tear my hair out, half the time. While the story was intriguing, I think it tried to do a bit too much, and took ages to get going. Once Ken was out in the wild with the hominid boy, things really started to move along. And seriously, I could have done without the endless descriptions of sex organs. And knees. I think Popescu mentioned Yinka's knees about five times, inexplicably. Do men really think about their knees knocking into a woman ...more
This is a great story. It really had me turning pages unexpectedly.
Petru had a way with drawing you in to the plight of the "Adam" race, and getting (at least me) emotionally involoved with the storyline.
Had this one read in three days.
Looking for more by this same writer - or very similar.
Triss Holland
I had to make myself finish because the premise was intriguing, but there were many sections that seemed to drag on going nowhere. i agree with Randy that the interaction and exploits of Ken and Long Toes made the story worth it.
I could not put this one down!!
If I could, I would probably give this book a 3.5, but alas, a 3 will have to suffice. It took me a while to get into the story, but once I got about hundred pages in the story finally caught my interest. I would have to say that the parts of the story that take place on the savanna between Ken and the hominids were the most interesting. I found the outside plot a bit sloppy. I never understood Cyril Anderson's motivation. I get that he was a bit of an academic prick (we all know at least one), ...more
This interesting anthropological piece of fiction portrays fascinating integration of life in the African wild with civil unrest in more populated sections. Although intricate, the plot involves discovery of gracile and hominid populations by a modern-day scientist. This is preceded by accidental discovery of and subsequent attachment to one primitive little boy, in particular. As the scientist finds himself immersed in this new (but very ancient) culture, one may see his transformation from mod ...more
A real potboiler. In Kenya, where a coup is brewing, a young anthropologist finds a fossilized skeleton of a "protohuman" a human who wasn't quite as evolved as us (homo sapiens). And he finds evidence of something more. He entrusts his find to his mentor, Professor Phillips, and goes back into the bush. Cyril Anderson, and eminent anthropologist whose eminence is based on his skill at stealing other people's finds, sets about to steal Ken's (that's our hero's name). In the meantime, Professor P ...more
Kiky Kartini
Sebenarnya sih bagus, kisah petualangan arkeolog yg menemukan makhluk purba yg ternyata masih hidup di jaman sekarang ini. Sayang, terjemahan Periplus Indonesia jelek banget. Ada bagian2 yg membingungkan ketika dibaca, seperti membaca terjemahan dr goohle translate saja. Fiuhhh...
Wow! I've been interested in paleoanthropology and the possibility of different human species meeting for quite some time. As a 'what if?' scenario, this one delivered all the entertainment and introspection I hoped for in a book. Another good one to look at.
I have to say that I will definitely be seeking out more books by Petru Popescu. I'm not normally one who delves into science, but I'm glad I read this one in its entirety. The characters were anything but lame; they all had their own personality. I pretty much fell in love with "Long Toes" (If you read or have read the book, you'll know who I mean). I only wish I could give this book 6 stars. I found this book in my mum's library since I've been wanting to read larger novels. The basic introduc ...more
this is a thriller; a bit scary; can't remember when my heart has pounded so while reading a novel.
I couldn't wait to get back to it each day...excited to read more and yet didn't want it to end.

the premise is the discovery of a group of 'humanoids' (our evolutionary ancestors) still surviving in a 'Pliocene environment' (1.5-5 million years ago) mixed in with a very real description of the conflict among egos of anthropologists, the history of human evolution, and the political turmoil in Kenya
In the words of the Chicago Sun-Times, "Very rich, high concept . . . A story liberally dosed with insight into archeology, primitive and pop psychology, academic in-fighting and African politics . . . Popescu has come up with a credible and like able creation."

I found this novel to be a truly fascinating and thrilling tale. The only drawback came int he last third. The pace slowed at a point where I felt it should have become more rapid and anticipatory. Otherwise a great read!
Frederic Pierce
I really enjoyed this story of man's encounter with his ancient ancestor. It was wrapped in an adventure of African Political intrigue and included just enough evolutionary science to blow my mind without losing my interest. It was overwritten in places and some of the characters' actions were less believeable than the survival of two tribes of australopihticus in the modern African savanah. Overall, however, it was a great read.
I read this book in high school, and it's enjoyable enough. The author had a hard time differentiating his interest in the anthropological science used in the book and the actual plot, if my memory serves correctly, and due to that it goes on for a loooong time. Still, a relatively straightforward book with an interesting look at what could happen if we discover actual near-ancestors.
salah satu kebiasaan buruk saya adalah setiap saya membaca novel yang bagus, saya selalu membayangkannya ke dalam suatu gambaran "film"...termasuk tokoh-tokohnya...
cuma untuk yang satu ini, gimana yah kalu difilemin? banyak mahluk2 prasejarah yang telanjang bulat, termasuk si tokoh utama yang juga ikut hidup sebagaimana mahluk2 itu...
wah, bisa x-rated nih..hehe

I am not sure if my copy on tape was abridged, if it was it would explain the jumps in location. The book was very though provoking and brought up a number of interesting concerns on species preservation.

Overall I enjoyed it but as earlier mentioned there seemed to be some jumps in logic and plot that left me feeling a bit strained to follow.
I'm a bit of a paleo-anthro buff so this book intrigued me. I found it engaging and fun to read. The background story of a greedy, narcisstic anthropologist and the political turmoil in Kenya added some nice depth to the story. One thing that bugged me though...why would the hidden hominids NOT have "evolved" in 2 million years? :)
Victoria Hrenda
Beyond being a book that I just couldn't put down, I found Almost Adam to be extremely thought-provoking. What separates a man from an animal? What were our ancient ancestors like? What would it be like to live in a dangerous environment? I left this book with a respect for Africa, and wanting to know more about it.
Breeann Kaczmarczyk
This book actually taught me a little about evolution. It was a story that took you deep into a secluded area where a group of original humans has managed to stay unchaged. A researcher gets "stuck" there essentially and the story follows him as he tries to survive with the original human race. Very interesting story.
Trisha M.
It is always great reading the books that you had read over ten years ago again. I'm going to re-read all of the books on my bookshelf to get a different perspective than I did years ago. This will also help me weed out some of the books that were not my favorites to make room for new ones :)
Ayman Fadel
Thinking about it, however, the audio book had two main weaknesses. The first is the weak science, and the second is the privileged place of the white man in Africa.

Mark Goodwin
I read this book about 10 years ago and still remember it as a Boring Book. The author tries to model the main character off Tarzan and trust me, the author is no Edgar Rice Burroughs. Just a ridiculous read and should only be attempted if you have nothing else to read !!!
I read the Indonesian version, actually, by rented it from a rental book shop.
And then I give at least two copies of that book as a birthday present. one was for my little sister (I think), the other one was to a girl I had a devastating-crush at that time. :)
I love the fantasy aspect of this book. An australopithecus alive? The exploration of one man, his knowledge and how he interacted with this cousin of ours was fascinating. It really made me think, "What would I do in his situation?" Highly recommend.
Wendy Utji
I have to drag myself past the first chapter, it's an agonizing slow start. The adventure starts once Ken returns to the savanna, and from then on the book transforms into something you can't put down. The further you get, the faster the pace.
Not sure where to put this. There's almost a subgenre of books about surviving "man-apes." This is one of those and is pretty good. I liked the science here, which was in general very well done. The story was pretty good as well.
Oct 18, 2008 Cory rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
I loved this book. ANyone interested in reading educational fiction about anthropology and archeology and the missing link will love this read. Very indepth look and Kenyan culture and life survived in the afircan savana.
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