Last Chance to See
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Last Chance to See

4.32 of 5 stars 4.32  ·  rating details  ·  10,182 ratings  ·  569 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...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 13th 1992 by Ballantine Books (first published 1990)
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33rd out of 709 books — 1,814 voters
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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...more
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...more
This is a non-fiction book written by Douglas Adams who went around the globe along with zoologist Mark Carwardine in search of various species of animals and birds which were on a verge of extinction in 1985 (when this book was written). This piqued my interest on the thought that if these species were considered endangered in 1985, what is their current status as of 2012? Well I did some research on it (I mean I Googled it. But not in an amateurish way, I tried hard enough until I got bored, i...more
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
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
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
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...more
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...more

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
Nana 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
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.
What happens when you go on a virtual trip with Douglas Adams to distant islands and dense rainforests, looking for the rare wildlife that are on the brink of extinction and we only have the Last Chance to See them?

You are entertained, you are informed, you learn and at the end you are blown away with the message this book drops on you. You become a sadder and a wiser person by the time you finish this, and it'll make you want to convey a message to fellow human beings: read this book, please.

Of the two travel journals of comedic writers I've read recently (the other being The Innocents Abroad: or, The New Pilgrims' Progress), this one was more fun and more substantive. Douglas Adams wrote with sadness and hope about the plight of animals who are charmingly ill-suited to the world that has changed around them.

In a more serious work than the books I know him for, he expresses his awe and empathy and discomfort along the way with a lot of clarity -- enough for me to empathize with him...more
Last Chance to See is the recorded journey of Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine as they travel around the world to see several endangered species for possibly the final time. Their journey takes place in a span of a few years during the late 1980’s.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Douglas Adams has is able to keep the reader in tune with what is going on with his wonderfully sarcastic and satirical sense of humor. Through his humor, Adams is extremely informative throughout the entire book. He...more
Niki K.
Last Chance to See is a book documenting the journeys of Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine as they explore the corners of the Earth in search of endangered species. Adams, a comedic author, and Carwardine, an expert zoologist, travel everywhere from the jungles of Madagascar to the Yangtze River in hopes of encountering species on the verge of extinction. Adams and Carwardine shed some light on these rare species in hopes of promoting awareness and influencing recovery efforts. This book greatl...more
"I didn't notice that I was being set upon by a pickpocket, which I am glad of, because I like to work only with professionals. Everybody else in the shop did notice, however, and the man was hurriedly manhandled away and ejected into the street while I was still busy choosing buns. The baker tried to tell me what had happened, but my Zaïrois French wasn't up to it, and I thought he was merely recommending the curranty ones, of which I therefore bought six."

Douglas Adams wrote this series of ess...more
Nicholas Frye
Douglas Adams is best known for his science fiction and humor in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. What most people don’t know about the man is that while he was always writing about adventures on other worlds he always had big place in his heart for our world.

In 1985 Douglas Adams was sent to Madagascar to write about the aye-aye lemur for the Observer Colour Magazine. He was accompanied by a zoologist named Mark Carwardine. Once they actually saw the rare aye-aye it encouraged Adams to go...more
Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine did a great job with this book. They took their mission of going all over the world to find all sorts of exotic and endangered species and really accomplished their goal. Going to places like Madagascar, Zaïre, and China; just to name a few, the two and their companions did a fine job. Doing a publication for BBC and to write a book all seem very ambitious and they did it well.
I thought Last Chance to See was entertaining because the reader gets the point-of-vi...more
Last Chance to See
Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine‘s book on capturing photos of nearly extinct species from around the world:

The book certainly had a very serious topic that is usually covered by explanation of the facts in a rather dry manner. I read those kinds of things anyway and take them to heart. The thing that was different for this book is that the presentation was lighter, with Douglas taking us into his head to deal with the insanity of travel, normal aberrant thoughts that we all h...more
One of the best books on conservation and endangered species that I've read! Many books tend to get so bogged down in the details that the non-scientists out there can become overwhelmed and lost. Douglas Adams draws on his fantastic sense of humor in telling his stories of searching for some of the world's most endangered species. The book highlights a few of his travels, and tells the stories of those trips in depth. There is a big emotional take-away from this book - you don't just learn that...more
I was already of fan of Douglas Adams through "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," but I had no idea he was also a fabulous nonfiction science writer. In this thought-provoking book, Adams and multiple scientists seek out several species of animals that at the time, in the late 1980s, were endangered or nearly extinct in the wild.

Sadly, several of those species are now extinct, which goes to show how important Adams's messages from this book remain today. Using a mix of his well-known sense of h...more
Alan Wightman
Douglas and Mark travel around to world, looking for highly endangered animals. They travel to Madagaskar, Komodo, New Zealand, China, Zaire and Mauritius, in search of the kakapo, the Yangtze river dolphin, the northern white rhino and others. This book has thus brought together three of my favourite things - travel in exotic locations, conservation of rare species, and Douglas Adams. The absurdity of third world beauracracy, the abundant dangers of poisonous animals and undurable transport, an...more
Published in 1990, a unique perspective on adventures while seeking a glimpse of rare creatures before they disappear forever. Unfortunately, since then the author (Douglas Adams) has gone extinct, as probably have the baiji (Yangtze river dolphins) in nature. Some species have improved though, possibly at least in part, due to publicity from the BBC series and this book.
To put it lightly, this book blew me away. I went in expecting what the back cover read but got out so much more. It was informative, hilarious, witty and beautiful. Douglas Adams was not a man who held back especially when writing. He gives you all of it. He describes what he was experiencing vividly as if this is what he was meant to do even when the first few pages explain that he'd never done anything like this in this life.

I learned about things I never knew existed and afterward you get a...more
Austin Collins
This is, quite simply, one of my favorite books of all time. If you enjoy Douglas Adams's unique sense of scientific, techno-geeky, eminently British humor, there is almost no way you can not love this beautifully written and very funny account of what could easily have been a depressing subject: a pilgrimage to some of the world's remotest places to see some of the world's most endangered species.

It conveys a very important ecological conservation message, but the amusing true stories of trying...more
Hillarious and strangely touching. Douglas Adams is the guy who wrote 'Hitchhiker's guide to the Galaxy' and some other science fiction humor books. In this non-fiction book, his publisher randomly paired him up with a zoologist and sent him to Madagascar to look for an endangered lemur. They just thought it would be a funny idea for an article. During the trip, Douglas Adams became really passionatly interested in animals and decided to do a whole book about endangered animals all over the worl...more
Rooks got me into this book when she recommended I read a passage about snakes.

The book is a collection of travel/conservation essays from the author of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (a book I still haven't read....) and it comes across, for the most part, quite light and humorous. There's a large degree of preaching at the end but overall Adams does a great job of describing the exotic places he's visiting without a sense of certain doom.

One of the first creatures they go in search of is t...more
Karen Terrell
Poignant, sad, and inspiring. This is the first non-fiction book I've read by Douglas Adams - maybe it's the only one he wrote? But it has the humor, wit, and intelligence of his fiction books - and it has an important message about endangered animals. The edition I read was published in 1991. Now I need to go back and check on the animals that Douglas Adams saw and wrote about in this book, and see how they're doing: the pink pigeon, the kakapo parrot, the Baiji (Yangtze) dolphin, the mountain...more
Jan 08, 2008 Angela rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Angela by: Sam Bretheim, my spouse
Wow, so many cute animals, with pictures! And they're disappearing... This amusing / horrifying book perfectly captures the mood of the urgent environmental crisis we're in (it's by no means comprehensive, just engaged in the discussion). But! The author's wit and compassion come through, and the book is hysterical by times, instructive, engaging, and compelling by others.

Douglass Adams, why did you die so early?!!!
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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...
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide, #1) The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy #1-5) The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (Hitchhiker's Guide, #2) Life, the Universe and Everything (Hitchhiker's Guide, #3) Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (Dirk Gently #1)

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“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.” 324 likes
“In every remote corner of the world there are people like Carl Jones and Don Merton who have devoted their lives to saving threatened species. Very often, their determination is all that stands between an endangered species and extinction.
But why do they bother? Does it really matter if the Yangtze river dolphin, or the kakapo, or the northern white rhino, or any other species live on only in scientists' notebooks?
Well, yes, it does. Every animal and plant is an integral part of its environment: even Komodo dragons have a major role to play in maintaining the ecological stability of their delicate island homes. If they disappear, so could many other species. And conservation is very much in tune with our survival. Animals and plants provide us with life-saving drugs and food, they pollinate crops and provide important ingredients or many industrial processes. Ironically, it is often not the big and beautiful creatures, but the ugly and less dramatic ones, that we need most.
Even so, the loss of a few species may seem irrelevant compared to major environmental problems such as global warming or the destruction of the ozone layer. But while nature has considerable resilience, there is a limit to how far that resilience can be stretched. No one knows how close to the limit we are getting. The darker it gets, the faster we're driving.
There is one last reason for caring, and I believe that no other is necessary. It is certainly the reason why so many people have devoted their lives to protecting the likes of rhinos, parakeets, kakapos, and dolphins. And it is simply this: the world would be a poorer, darker, lonelier place without them.”
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