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Last Chance to See: In the Footsteps of Douglas Adams
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Last Chance to See: In the Footsteps of Douglas Adams

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  2,287 ratings  ·  70 reviews
Join Britain's best-loved wit and raconteur, Stephen Fry, as he follows in his great friend Douglas Adams' footsteps with zoologist Mark Carwardine, in search of some of the rarest and most threatened animals on Earth. In the 1980s celebrated writer Douglas Adams teamed up with zoologist Mark Carwardine and together they embarked on a groundbreaking expedition, travelling ...more
Hardcover, 314 pages
Published September 3rd 2009 by HarperCollins
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4.40  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,287 ratings  ·  70 reviews

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More than twenty years after author (and photographer) Mark Carwardine (who is by training and career a zoologist) and the late Douglas Adams went on an extended and gruelling global expedition to view and report on a list of critically endangered animal species, the same Mark Carwardine (this time accompanied by celebrated comedian Stephen Fry) has retraced and tried to basically reenact that first journey (mostly to see whether any progress has been made with regard to animal conservation and ...more
Jan 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
absolutely excellent book about the author and stephen fry travelling all over the world in search of some of the rarest animals on the planet and filled with wonderful photographs.what isn't wonderful is the fact that all of these animals are rare because of us humans, in fact two of the species they went to find, they didn't...because they are now extinct.we have done an absolutely wonderful job of fucking this planet up.take the passenger pigeon for example.once the most common bird in the wo ...more
Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Mark has a pleasantly amusing way of sharing their adventures, and Stephen as the fish-out-of-water sidekick is a hoot. As Mark said, "No one believed me when I said I was going to the Amazon with Stephen Fry. It must have seemed about as likely as taking Johnny Rotten to the opera, or joining the Dalai Lama for a week of downhill skiiing in Holland." (pg 12)

Of course, the book is not about the human shenanigans ... interesting as they may be ... it's about the wo
Sep 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science, 2000s, on-device
Parts of this book were nearly as fun as the original written by the late, great Douglas Adams, but I finished this book even sadder than when I finished the first.

Not only is Douglas Adams gone, but so are two of the species (effectively) that were written about in the first book.

As Mark Carwardine points out in the closing of the book, things have not been getting better for our planet's endangered species. It's utterly heartbreaking.

RIP, beauties. We humans have done you unforgivably wrong.

Apr 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Despite the seriousness of the subject matter, this book had me belly laughing through the night. Mark Carwadine's writing style and Stephen Fry's bumbling adventures make this book an easy and thought provoking read. Working in a similar field to Mark means that I am probably a little more aware of extinction risk and species loss than the average person, so some of the shock factor didn't have as big an impact on me as it would on other people. Nevertheless the fact that a quarter of the first ...more
in the footsteps twenty years on. 6 episodes

Episode 1 blurb Amazonian manatee
In the opening programme, Fry and Carwardine travel to Manaus in Brazil in search of the Amazonian manatee, a large aquatic mammal. Illegal hunting has reduced manatee numbers in the wild to just a few thousand individuals. On the Rio Negro, they have a close encounter with a group of endangered botos, which take food from their hands. They fly deeper into the rainforest to rendezvous with a boat, the Cassiquiari, on t
Feb 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Mark Carwardine and Stephen Fry go on some amazing adventures to see the endangered species visited twenty years earlier by Mark when he went with Douglas Adams on the same journeys. A quarter of those animals on the list being already extinct. An enjoyable read about their adventures as told by Mark which at times is hilarious, alongside the more serious message of the endangered species. An enjoyable read with beautiful photographs.
Terri ducay
Nov 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very enjoyable read and informative about the state of some of the worlds endangered species. What is unique about this book is that it takes you to the animal and explains it's behavior, habitat and the context of the animal. Scary to think so many wonderful animals, whether you are talking about birds, lizards or whales are all truly magnificent. The more I read about animals the more I think THEY are the true wonders of the world.
Jun 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, travel
Informative and disturbing without ever resorting to being preachy or sensationalist, Carwardine writes with humour and a refreshing lightness of touch. It is part zoological guide, part travelogue and part comedy thanks to Stephen Fry and the touching, grumpy friendship between them that shines through on every page.
Dec 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I don't often deem books worthy of 5 stars. I save that designation for those rare books that you just can't put down--even when you're busy, you still find yourself sneaking a page or two whenever you possibly can--those books whose words linger in your mind long after the last page is read. This is one of those books.

In the '90's I read the prequel to this book, Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams and zoologist Mark Carwardine. In this, the sequel, Carwardine decides to revisit the destinatio
Mar 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved the original Last Chance to See. I had high expectations for this book, but I must say that it far exceeded even those. This is one of those books where I want to run out and begin giving copies to all my friends (or even complete strangers) saying, "Here, read this, really you must." I read it in one sitting, moving periodically from location to location in my apartment, but NEVER putting the book down and eventually canceled my evening plans just so that I could finish it. In part, the ...more
Dec 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Ok this really is two books in one - as the title says its in the footsteps of Douglas Adams - but it is also a revision of the original journey seeing what is happen and what can be done. The original book was released in 1990 and now nearly 20 years later (was released 2009) the message the book is trying to portray is just as important or more so. Stephen Fry though a seasoned travelled was not designed to travel in to the wilds and this book eloquently demonstrates it - however his lack of p ...more
Remember the Dodo? He always thought no one could do him any harm, just for greed or for the fun of it.

Don't be a Dodo
Go here!
Brice James
Mark is not as clever or witty as Douglas Adams' (but, really, no one is). However, when he's not shamelessly borrowing funny lines from the previous book, he is genuine, heartfelt, and even moving. Required reading if you've watched the BBC TV show, since this tells the awesome backstories.
John Peat
Nov 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
It's got to be close to 5 stars because the content is priceless - but then there's DNA's original which is one of the greatest books I've ever read and you have to leave a gap :)
Kiril Valchev
Jan 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
В края на 80-те Дъглас Адамс и зоологът Марк Каруордин прекарват месеци заедно, в търсене на едни от най-застрашените от изчезване, животински видове на Земята . Или по думите на зоолога: "Сложихме една голяма карта на света на стената. Дъглас забоде карфици на местата, където му се ходеше, а аз на местата, където са всички застрашени видове и се отправихме на пътешествие до всяко място, което имаше по две карфици."
От Индонезия и Нова Зеландия, през бившия Заир, Китай и Мавриций, до Бразилия и Ч
Clinton Rice
Apr 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, humor
I read Last Chance to See many years ago, as a fan of the many works of Douglas Adams. The book was an eye-opener. His and Mark Carwardine's experiences made me aware of just how critically threatened some amazing animals are, some of which I wasn't even previously aware.

This book follows the original perfectly, and even without Douglas Adams, stands as a testament to the message these two men worked so hard to get out.

Our world is an amazing place. This book peels back a few of its layers and l
Elizabeth Barter
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Carwardine has a' matter of fact' style that appeals to the non zoologist. If one were to run into the man at the city zoo ,he'd be the gentleman waxing eloquently about the plight of the komodo dragon,and drawing in a crowd. Little would his audience realise, he didn't actually work there.They would be following the man from enclosure to enclosure,like the crowds that follow the Beatles during their first trip to North America. Mark Carwardine doesn't look like a man who wants to be the centre ...more
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful and rather tragic tale following in the footsteps of Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine, to find out the fate of the species followed in the original book. Tragic, as a quarter are now extinct and, as Mark sums up at the end of the book, current conservation techniques aren't up to the task of significantly reducing extinction rates. Nevertheless, the book is still beautiful, both in the gorgeous photography throughout and the lovingly written narrative describing Stephens and Mark's ...more
Ian Torrente
May 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A very thoughtful look into the corners of the world where most men will never thread. Douglas Adams not only writes about his travels to find some of the world's most endangered animals in a humorous way, he also manages to force the reader to make an introspective look at our practices as a species and subtly begs for our help to do what we can to preserve what we have.

A great read for just about anyone. The hours will fly by like a Rodrigues fruit bat.
Ylyth Maeve
May 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mlol
L'ho letto grazie a mlol e già so che al prossimo giro in libreria me ne comprerò una copia da tener in casa. Perchè? Perchè è un must read. Questo libro è di una bellezza sconvolgente, riesce a farti ridere di gusto nonostante tratti un argomento tristissimo. L'ironia facilita l'assimilazione di concetti duri da mandare giù, specialmente oggi che sappiamo come due delle specie incontrate su queste pagine sono ufficialmente considerate estinte.
Trina Dubya
Oct 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I saw the miniseries with Carwardine and Stephen Fry before I read this. I'm well acquainted with Fry's wit and humor, and I enjoyed the television episodes thoroughly. Inasmuch as they were a double act, Fry was the funny one, Carwardine the straight man. But reading the book, I was delighted to see that Carwardine has a sly sense of humor that comes out in his writing.
Isaac Kokkinidis
Feb 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed it almost as much as the original Last Chance to See from Douglas Adams. I am watching the same-named TV series in parallel, but I think the book stands on its own, it is worth spending the time to read it.
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed every word!!
Aug 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Just as good the second time. Sad, with the passing of Adams.
May 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Il vantaggio di essere l'unica specie che sa distinguere il bene dal male sta nel fatto che, di volta in volta, possiamo stabilire le regole a nostro uso e consumo."
Marty Essen
Oct 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing

Over a period of two months I read the original “Last Chance to See” book, read the “Last Chance to See” follow-up book, and then watched the “Last Chance to See” DVD.

Much of what I said in my previous review of “Last Chance to See,” by Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine, applies to this review of the second “Last Chance to See,” by Mark Carwardine writing solo. However, I think few would argue that Douglas Adams made the original book much more humorous than the follow-up. It’s not that Mark Car
Jan 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mark is no DA, nor is he Stephen Fry. However, for those who loved DA's first Last Chance to See, Carwardine clearly loved DA about as much as many fans, and this is a loving follow-up. The writing tries at times to have a bit of DA/Fry humor (humour?), sometimes succeeding and sometimes falling short. That's OK, though, because writing aside, the story is extremely interesting, depressing, and hopeful at the same time. I could actually have used more length, spent more "time" with each species ...more
Aug 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
When reading this book, you will fall head over heels for some of the most amazing animal species. (Among many other things, I might just have to add "tickle a whale" to my bucket list.) You will also hear a lot of unbelievable success stories in conservation, it's heart-warming to see how people are willing to dedicate their lives to preserve a bit of nature. After reading all these hopeful stories about wonderful animals, the book ends with a short note on the now extinct Yangtze River Dolphin ...more
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Mark Carwardine is a zoologist who achieved widespread recognition for his Last Chance to See conservation expeditions with Douglas Adams, first aired on BBC Radio 4 in 1990. Since then he has become a leading and outspoken conservationist, and a prolific broadcaster, columnist and photographer.
“Nature admits no hierarchy of beauty or usefulness or importance.” 7 likes
“Don’t get me wrong – it’s not that I don’t like people. Some of my best friends are people. It’s just that chimpanzees share too many of our more unpleasant characteristics. They gang up on one another, indulge in office politics, beat up and bully weaker individuals, lie, gossip and bear grudges.” 1 likes
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