Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Last Chance to See” as Want to Read:
Last Chance to See
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Last Chance to See

4.32  ·  Rating Details ·  14,007 Ratings  ·  771 Reviews
"Very funny and moving...The glimpses of rare fauna seem to have enlarged [Adams'] thinking, enlivened his world; and so might the animals do for us all, if we were to help them live."
Join bestselling author Douglas Adams and zooligist Mark Carwardine as they take off around the world in search of exotic, endangered creatures. Hilarious and po
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 13th 1992 by Ballantine Books (first published 1990)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Last Chance to See, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Last Chance to See

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill BrysonA Brief History of Time by Stephen HawkingCosmos by Carl SaganThe Selfish Gene by Richard DawkinsGuns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
Best Science Books - Non-Fiction Only
35th out of 1,064 books — 2,620 voters
Silent Spring by Rachel CarsonA Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There by Aldo LeopoldThe Lorax by Dr. SeussThe Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael PollanDesert Solitaire by Edward Abbey
Best Environmental Books
20th out of 581 books — 776 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
I love Douglas Adams's science fiction. Just look at my bookshelves. So it's as a firm fan that I say: Douglas Adams was wasted--wasted--on science fiction.

The man is obviously a science writer.

His science fiction was always good. Clearly. But none of it sings like Last Chance to See. This book is a passionate, loving, critical look at the human species and the influence we've had on our planet-mates. It chronicles the decline, and impending loss, of some wonderful, charismatic vertebrates. It t

Douglas Adams went around the globe along with zoologist Mark Carwardine in search of various species of animals and birds which were on the verge of extinction in 1985 (when this book was written). My interest was piqued on the thought that if these species were considered endangered in 1985, what would be their current status as of 2012? Well I did some research (I mean I Googled it. But not in an amateurish way, I tried hard enough until I got bored, i.e. after 15 minutes!)

And one thing that
Riku Sayuj

Brilliant book. So funny, yet so deeply saddening... this is among the most evocative and life-changing books that I have read. This title still haunts me and informs a lot of my concerns about the environment and human inaction.
Kwesi 章英狮
I'm not a zoology student but I have a 3 unit subject and we were required to visit either Manila Zoo or the National Museum of the Philippines animal research section, it was a part of our annual field trip without the teacher in charge. Because I'm new here in Manila last year my classmates decided to go both the zoo and the museum. In spite of the fact that the weather was hot, we were forced to go outside and take pictures for our journal because it was the last day of submission.

Our first s
One of those special books that, when you finish, you immediately want to find someone who hasn't read it, and press it into there hands, murmuring insistently, "you have to read this!"

I'm a big Douglas Adams fan. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy is one of my all-time favourite series, and the Dirk Gently mysteries aren't far behind. When I set-up my Pantheon list of literary gods, Douglas Adams came straight in at Number 2 (behind Terry Pratchett) - and Last Chance to See was the one, key
J.G. Keely
Adams was an amazingly humorous fellow, but it can be easy to forget that the source of his humor is always surreal profundity. It's as if he sees a completely different world than the rest of us, but one which looks precisely the same. In this book (out-of-print when I found an editor's proof copy) Adams takes that hilariously disparate view and directs it like a spastic and noodly laser at the mis-management of our natural world. There is a reason that Richard Dawkins recalls Adams so fondly a ...more
Sep 28, 2008 Lena rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humor, essays
Mark Carwardine was a zoologist working for the World Wildlife Fund when he was hired by a magazine to take Douglas Adams to see the world’s rarest nocturnal lemur, the Madagascar aye-aye. The trip was enough of a success that they decided having Adams write funny things about his attempt to visit endangered species was a good way to raise awareness about animal conservation, so they reunited a few years later to track down some other animals whose numbers have fallen into the double digits. The ...more
Jan 24, 2015 Santhosh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
We have not inherited the Earth from our ancestors, but have borrowed it from our children.
~ Anonymous

Evolution is an ongoing process, and each species simply evolves in different ways to meet the requirements of its ecological niche, extremely specialized to that ecology and lifestyle. There is generally enough time, in the case of a natural change to its ecology, for the species to try to adapt and evolve further. To try to survive. Extinction is nothing new to Earth and 99.99% of all species
Aug 18, 2016 Laura rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
An unexpected problem I've encountered with living in a massive city like New York is that I periodically experience really intense cravings for nature (see: the biophilia hypothesis). When this happens, a manicured park or crowded long island beach just won't cut it for me. So whenever I get the big city blues and can't escape I try and find a book that'll make me feel like I'm camping under the stars/hiking in the Amazon/climbing Kilimanjaro. I can confidently say that this is the BEST nature ...more
Apr 06, 2015 Milinta rated it it was amazing
Have you ever read a book laughing so hard that tears are streaming down your face and then in the next five minutes, crying copiously and having very different tears stream down the same old face? Well, I just did. I always knew that the dodo was extinct but today I sat in a corner and wept for a full fifteen minutes because there are no dodos left in the world anymore. That is what the Last Chance to See does to you. It makes you see things about the world and what we've done with it, things y ...more
Dimitris Hall
Douglas Adams proved with this book that he wasn't just a brilliant science fiction writer with a virtually unrivalled wit and sense of humour; it went to show that he had an admirable, enviable even, sense of social and ecological responsibility, taking him, as far as I am concerned, from the "brilliant writer" tier, to the "paradigm of humanity" club, reserved only for those people (and there's not a lot of them around) that can work as true inspiration for me. Last Chance To See is a manifest ...more
Nicholas Armstrong
Nov 13, 2010 Nicholas Armstrong rated it it was amazing
If a book is well-written, and I don't simply mean it is an enjoyable romp, I mean really well written -- it is consistent, there is no break in the flow, voice, or tone -- and it accomplishes the elusive task of making you think, then what might we call that book? I would call it remarkable.

Douglas Adams is one of the most amusing writers of all time, perhaps even the most amusing writer of all time; couple this with an incredible intellect and the ability to write quite well and you get a pre
My husband urged me to read this book when it was first written but I feared it would be too depressing. Then when Stephen Fry and Mark Carwardine retraced the steps of Carwardine and Adams on TV I realised what a great story this was. Still it languished unopened on our shelves. One day after Christmas it finally caught my eye and me now before it's too late. A little parable for animals and plants in obscure places....appreciate and notice and cherish me now...... Before it's too l ...more
Christiana Hadji
Μην σας ξεγελά το πρόχειρο εξώφυλλο και το "φτηνιάρικο" τύπωμα της συγκεκριμένης ελληνικής έκδοσης - πρόκειται για ένα άκρως διασκεδαστικό αλλά και διδακτικό οδοιπορικό, χρωματισμένο με οικολογικές και χιουμοριστικές πινελιές, γραμμένο από έναν από τους σπουδαιότερους σύγχρονους κωμικούς συγγραφείς. Διαβάστε το εάν σας ενδιαφέρει να μάθετε για διάφορα είδη ζώων από όλο τον κόσμο που κινδυνεύουν με εξαφάνιση, αν σας αρέσουν τα ντοκυμαντέρ για την φύση ή αν προτιμάτε το γράψιμο με μία γερή δόση κα ...more
Dec 16, 2015 Trish rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Douglas Adams. Author of the Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy. Writing a nature book? Huh?

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, given that this is Douglas Adams, but Last Chance to See is an excellent and thought provoking book, which is part laugh-out-loud travelogue (including an interesting reminder of what China was like just 25years ago), and part conservation plea

It's power as a book lies is in the juxtaposition of the sharp observations and comic stories of his travels with Mark Carwardinea
In 1985 Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine set off in the hope of spotting the Madagascar aye-aye, a nocturnal lemur nearing extinction. The trip was a success and so the duo came back together a couple years later to seek out more animals that were verging on the brink with the idea that their travels and Adams' writing would shine a much needed spotlight on said brink.

Like the Madagascar aye aye, my encounter with Adams' Last Chance to See adventuring was a nocturnal one. In simplicity, I coul
Aug 13, 2015 brook rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Before I read this, I saw that another reviewer said "Douglas Adams was wasted on science fiction." I considered this almost blasphemous, and had pitchforks leaned against the doorjamb, until I read Last Chance to See. Now it's merely more praise.

I had been told "if you like Adams, you have to read this." Well, no, I don't, as I don't want to see someone I admire struggle somewhere else. I don't want to see George Foreman selling grills. I don't want to watch Jerry Rice on Dancing With The Star
Last Chance to See chronicles Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine's trips to far flung places to see, and call attention to, endangered and borderline extinct animal species.

I listened to the audio, read by Douglas himself (except for the very end which is read by Mark Carwardine), and it was brilliant. Not only does Douglas really bring each destination and trip to life, but he does so in a way that allows the reader to understand his feelings regarding these things, but without sounding judgmen

Douglas Adams' famous book about his travels to animals that are about to be extinct. As entertaining, hilarious and smart as everything else Adams has written, but because of its subject definitely my favourite of his books. I can't believe I waited so long to read this. Maybe, if more people had read this book sooner, the statistics would look a bit better today. Let's take a look at how the animals that Adams visited in 1990 are doing 16 years later.

Komodo Dragon
1990: appr. 5000
Jen Doucette
Dec 31, 2015 Jen Doucette rated it really liked it
I received this book in a book exchange, and I was excited because I had read all of Adams' Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy books. But this book was different. It was a nonfiction journey of a few men traveling to glimpse and understand rare species of endangered animals.

And honestly? I was delighted to read it.

The whole book seemed to echo one of my truest life philosophies: we should all be living our most awesome lives doing weirdly awesome things.

That's just what these guys did.
Amanda R
Feb 29, 2016 Amanda R rated it it was amazing
Charming, very funny, and extremely important. This is the book that introduced me to the kakapo (which, happily, is doing much better now than it was when the book was published!) and the Baiji (which, sadly, is virtually gone). I'd recommend this to just about anyone, even if you're not a fan of Douglas Adams's other work.
Tobin Elliott
Sep 30, 2015 Tobin Elliott rated it it was amazing
Nobody writes like Douglas Adams writes. He's one of the few guys that can have me laughing uproariously while also pondering something deep and important. Or pondering the sad legacy of humans while laughing. Or shaking my head at the sheer stupidity of humans.

That being said, while there are many funny moments in this book, overall, it's heartbreaking book to read. In anyone else's hands, I believe it would have been pleadingly maudlin.

With Adams, instead, it's hopeful.

Nobody writes like Doug
Feb 17, 2015 Bree rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, own, science
Douglas Adams is the funniest writer I've ever encountered. You know someone has a talent for humor when they can write a book about endangered species and make it hilarious. Adams does treat the subject with the respect it deserves, however. Reading this book will really make you step back and look at how we humans have destroyed the habitats of so many unique and interesting creatures. Because the issue of conservation is so important, I think this is a book that everyone would benefit from re ...more
Lance Greenfield
Jan 13, 2015 Lance Greenfield rated it it was amazing
Last Chance to See is a wonderful book by the late Douglas Adams. It is not Science Fiction. It is his account of his travels around the globe to observe some of the planet's most endangered species. It also contains liberal smatterings of his customary humour. He also shows us his great insight and compassion. Such a shame that he moved on before any of the creatures that he tells us about in this book.
Aug 26, 2013 Peggy rated it it was amazing
I love this book; possibly more than I love the Hitchhiker Series. Last Chance to See is a secret treasure and more people should know about it. Adams uses his gentle wit to shine a light on what the world is in danger of losing – birds and bats and dolphins. If you want to see a clever writer use his powers for good, pick up Last Chance to See. You won’t regret it.
Rift Vegan
Jan 31, 2016 Rift Vegan rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
It’s a funny book because it’s Douglas Adams, but very sad thinking about all these animals on their way to going extinct… The book was written in 1990, and I was curious to see if any of the species are doing better. I know that the Northern White Rhinos are essentially extinct… there are just 3 left. And the Baiji or Yangtze River dolphin is most likely extinct as well. I am fascinated by the Kakapos, a parrot who is flightless and nocturnal with a lek breeding system, living in New Zealand. I ...more
Mar 02, 2015 Jessie rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
Oh Douglas! Such a wonderful man, such a superb writer. Desperately did I wish that I was with him as he worked his way through foreign wildernesses. Yet, I can't help but feel that his descriptions are even more real then reality would have been. Adams has (had :( ) such an uncanny knack of seeing what is not there, and of identifying what is. Of being able to distinguish the complexities of the human psyche and completely make a mockery of them......but in an inspiring way? His ability to see ...more
Funny, wonderful and sad. One of the best books I have ever read.
Sep 02, 2016 Mal rated it it was amazing
Some time ago, I finished reading the Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the stellar and utterly hilarious sci-fi series by Douglas Adams. When I finished reading it, I was upset because the series had ended, and I vowed to read all his other books till I got over being upset. So I picked up Last Chance To See, not knowing at all what it was about.

Tell me, how is it possible that Douglas Adams, an author of fiction, wrote an entire non-fiction book about endangered species (a topic which
Bryan Mitchell
Jun 15, 2016 Bryan Mitchell rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I started reading this book on my kindle during my last two years at university but forgot about it since then--partly because Rapture of the Nerds came out and I promised the school paper that I would write a review of it. Everything else got in the way as well.

I bought the print edition last year and decided that, this year, I would start reading it again. I regret nothing...

Part travel memoir and scientific nonfiction, Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine go across the globe to find endangered
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Last Chance to See: In the Footsteps of Douglas Adams
  • The Ghost with Trembling Wings: Science, Wishful Thinking, and the Search for Lost Species
  • Lonesome George: The Life and Loves of a Conservation Icon
  • Wish You Were Here: The Official Biography of Douglas Adams
  • The Life of Mammals
  • The Rarest of the Rare: Vanishing Animals, Timeless Worlds
  • The Future Eaters: An Ecological History of the Australasian Lands and People
  • The Future of Life
  • 100 Heartbeats: A Journey to Meet Our Planet's Endangered Animals and the Heroes Working to Save Them
  • The Flight of the Iguana: A Sidelong View of Science and Nature
  • The Panda's Thumb: More Reflections in Natural History
  • The Science of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
  • Doctor Who: Cat's Cradle: Witch Mark
  • Everything Is Going to Kill Everybody: The Terrifyingly Real Ways the World Wants You Dead
  • Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice to All Creation
  • Starship Titanic
  • Where the Wild Things Were: Life, Death, and Ecological Wreckage in a Land of Vanishing Predators
  • Winter World: The Ingenuity of Animal Survival
Douglas Noël Adams was an English author, comic radio dramatist, and musician. He is best known as the author of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. Hitchhiker's began on radio, and developed into a "trilogy" of five books (which sold more than fifteen million copies during his lifetime) as well as a television series, a comic book series, a computer game, and a feature film that was comp ...more
More about Douglas Adams...

Share This Book

“Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.” 434 likes
“We are not an endangered species ourselves yet, but this is not for lack of trying.” 36 likes
More quotes…