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The Myth of Wild Africa: Conservation Without Illusion

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  56 ratings  ·  9 reviews
Most people would feel a great loss if elephants, rhinos, or gorillas were to become extinct, but would we willingly move our families, change our means of earning a living, and disrupt our culture to prevent their extinction? People living in rural Africa are being asked to do just this by the world community. The Myth of Wild Africa explores a joint African/Western appro ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published January 6th 1997 by University of California Press (first published October 1992)
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Daniel Allen
Mar 20, 2021 rated it liked it
Had a dream about trying to save the elephants from the Maasai people. I failed.
Sep 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Adam by: Laura Heggs
The titular supposition of “The Myth of Wild Africa” is that the cultural concepts of the West, combined with the full might of empire, have shaped an inhumane and counterproductive conservation policy in Africa. The story plays out at many scales and in many ways – from the gross idea that Africa contains large tracts of human-free “wilderness” to the narrative of noble scientists and rangers teaming up against greedy poachers. Informed by exoticism and by the general “Wilderness Myth” - explai ...more
Vishnu Vardhan
Oct 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most englightening boks on conservation that I have read. Provides a very nuanced and balanced view on the conflicts and tensions between conservationists, local people, governments and various other stakeholders. Among the various important points, the below are some that I rememberd and have noted down:
1. The conflict of western conservation practices of separating nature from man and designating protected sanctuaries with the local traditions of people using nature to meet
Anne-Marie Hodge
Apr 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating and thought-provoking. Even if you don't agree with the authors on everything (although I hope most people involved in conservation are aware enough of the nuances to see things beyond black-and-white "yup" or "nope" on the issues), they present points that are extremely important to think about. This book played into my combination of interests in conservation and anthropology and I felt like I came away with a lot of food for thought. A caveat is that it was written almost 20 years ...more
Apr 10, 2016 rated it liked it
This book definitely challenged many of my romantic notions of "wild" Africa. It's a very dense book that can be boring at times, and it's full of so many acronyms of different government and conservation organizations that you want to fling it across the room. Or at least I did.
This book was important to read but I didn't necessarily like it all that much because I was rather attached to my romantic notions about animals in the wild. And the people who have studied and written about Africa.
Feb 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
Good overview of the history of conservation in Africa. Learned a lot about the changing perception towards nature on the continent and the co-development of safari hunting and western-led conservation. While I don't really disagree with the authors' opinions, I do deduct stars because the author's agenda is overly pro-community. Again, I can't disagree with the increased involvement of communities in conservation, I am not comfortable with the biased perspective. ...more
May 08, 2009 rated it liked it
Still a useful and interesting read, especially on colonial & conservation history. I hope a lot of the attitudes it describes have since changed. It leaves me wondering what has happened to the Zimbabwean projects that are described with such hopefulness.
Paul Schuette
Sep 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
the name says it all.
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Jan 30, 2009 rated it liked it
Interesting, and I learned a lot, but very outdated and repetitive in chapters.
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