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Among the Islands: Adventures in the Pacific

Overview

Tim Flannery is one of the world’s most influential scientists, credited with discovering more species than Darwin. In Among the Islands Flannery recounts a series of expeditions he made at the dawn of his career to the strange tropical islands of the South Pacific, a great arc stretching nearly 4,000 miles from the postcard perfection of Polynesia to some of the largest, highest, ancient, and most rugged islands on earth.

Flannery was traveling in search of rare and ...

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Among the Islands: Adventures in the Pacific

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Overview

Tim Flannery is one of the world’s most influential scientists, credited with discovering more species than Darwin. In Among the Islands Flannery recounts a series of expeditions he made at the dawn of his career to the strange tropical islands of the South Pacific, a great arc stretching nearly 4,000 miles from the postcard perfection of Polynesia to some of the largest, highest, ancient, and most rugged islands on earth.

Flannery was traveling in search of rare and undiscovered mammal species, but he found much more: wild, weird places where local taboos, foul weather, dense jungle, and sheer remoteness made for difficult and dramatic exploration. Among the Islands is full of fascinating creatures—monkey faced bats, giant rats, gazelle-faced black wallabies, and more—and the adventure of discovery. This is an idea read for anyone who has ever imagined voyaging to the ends of the earth to uncover and study the rare and the wonderful.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Close to 30 years ago, at the beginning of his career, Australian scientist Flannery (Throwim Way Leg) set sail to explore several remote islands in the southwest Pacific: Kiriwinia in the Trobriand Islands, Woodlark, and Alcester (all part of Papua New Guinea); Fiji; and New Caledonia. Flannery wanted to investigate how the mammal inhabitants on the islands had fared in the face of European colonization and the introduction of non-native species. Flannery regales us with tales of his traveling companions, such as Greg, the former Olympic wrestler and snake expert, who engaged in an evening of wizardry and derring-do before an audience of islanders. Among other discoveries, Flannery and his colleagues turn up two bat species distinct to New Ireland in the Bismarck Archipelago, enhancing the scientists’ understanding of the zoogeography of the island. Flannery recalls his earliest expedition with wonder and excitement at having investigated the influence of island biogeography on the mammals that had evolved there, discovering several new mammal species—such as Ennis’s flying fox, a bat whose males lactate to feed their young—and finding that some species documented by previous explorers had become extinct. Flannery is a crackerjack storyteller as well as a scientist. Map. Agent: Kim Witherspoon, Inkwell Management. (Nov.)
From the Publisher

“In [Flannery’s] chest beats the wayfaring heart of a discoverer, and in this book, which details his colorful adventures among the flora and fauna of the South Pacific Islands, he reminds us that even right here on Earth, incredible things are waiting to be known.” -Newsweek

“Flannery’s account pieces together the jigsaw puzzle of South Pacific geological, natural, and cultural history with well-grounded knowledge as well as respect and wonder for the natural world. We are lucky to have such an exuberant explorer to illuminate the intricate network of life in the South Pacific—and the perils and possibilities that life embodies on this precious planet we share.” -National Geographic Traveler (Book of the Month)

“Part travel diary and part field notebook, Among the Islands is a rollicking good adventure-science read—something like what you’d get if Charles Darwin starred in an Indiana Jones flick.” -Audubon Magazine

"Flannery is not just an internationally acclaimed zoologist; he’s also an adventurer and storyteller who has discovered creatures no other human has seen. His latest record of exploration traces the beginnings of his career during the 1980s and takes him through more than a decade of study in remote islands of the South Pacific. … Flannery’s writing is generous and exuberant. His enthusiasm is enough to infect even the least science-minded of readers … A breathtaking, informative tour of faraway lands."—Kirkus Reviews

"Tim Flannery is a crackerjack storyteller."—Publishers Weekly

"Australian field zoologist and conservationist Flannery cements his reputation as a true descendant of the great nineteenth-century naturalists and explorers with this look back at his expeditions to southwest Pacific islands. … Flannery’s prose is electric, aptly combining history, politics, and wide-eyed excitement as he recalls these experiences. … Among the Islands exemplifies the sort of writing that was once commonplace, when adventure meant contributing to our knowledge of the world. Absolutely fantastic in every sense of the word."—Booklist (starred review)

“A story told with Flannery’s signature clarity and lively readability…. this is scientific adventure-writing at its finest.” -Open Letters Monthly

Library Journal
Australian scientist and conservationist Flannery (Here on Earth: A Natural History of the Planet) offers a behind-the-scenes account of his research on remote islands of the South Pacific. A masterful prose writer, Flannery weaves the tale of his search for rare marsupials with histories of the South Pacific and stories about quirky colleagues (including a taxidermist who re-created a complete baroque orchestra using stuffed cane toads), little-known animals (such as monkey-faced bats and giant crocodile skinks), and close calls (including snakes, leprosy, and bat droppings). Though packed with tales of adventure, ranging from the light-hearted to the terrifying, this book also touches on important scientific questions about the evolution of island-bound species and the ecological policies necessary for the preservation of diverse animal life. VERDICT This colorful narrative will appeal to a variety of readers—scientist and laypeople alike—conveying Flannery's passion for conserving rare and beautiful wildlife throughout the world.—Talea Anderson, Ellensburg, WA
Kirkus Reviews
From the tides of the South Pacific to the impossible peaks of jungle islands, one zoologist sets out to find the living riches of the planet. Flannery (Here on Earth, 2011, etc.) is not just an internationally acclaimed zoologist; he's also an adventurer and storyteller who has discovered creatures no other human has seen. His latest record of exploration traces the beginnings of his career during the 1980s and takes him through more than a decade of study in remote islands of the South Pacific. There, he encountered untouched environments and their native inhabitants, and he renders these lost worlds in full color. Often humorous, he provides anecdotes of crocodiles waiting for their prey, mountains of bat feces and islands crawling with giant rats. Flannery's writing is generous and exuberant. His enthusiasm for the subject is contagious enough to infect even the least science-minded of readers, but you can be sure his aim is not simply to entertain. "To some," he writes, "our adventures might seem to be nothing more than a romantic frolic. After all, why should anyone care about an obscure creature found only on a distant island? Would the world lose anything with its extinction?" The answer is most emphatically yes, and the author situates obscure animals in a worldwide perspective that entwines all living things, including humans, together. Flannery's research efforts contribute significantly to continuing conservation efforts, and he is clearly grateful and appreciative to be a part of it. A breathtaking, informative tour of faraway lands.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802120403
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/6/2012
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Tim Flannery is a scientist, explorer and conservationist. He has published more than 130 peer-reviewed scientific papers and many books including The Future Eaters and the international bestseller The Weather Makers, which has been translated into more than 20 languages. He was named Australian of the Year in 2007.
http://www.timflannery.com.au

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Part 1 In the Realm of the Sunbird 11

1 Woodlark, the Wandering Isle 16

2 Arrival of the Snake Man 36

3 Alcester, the Lonely Isle 49

4 Goodenough Not Near Enough 57

5 Island of Lepers 76

Part 2 Bismarck's Isles 85

6 Manus 90

7 New Ireland, and Travelling in Time 100

Part 3 The Solomon Islands 113

8 Guadalcanal: Emperor, King and Little Pig 122

9 Probing towards the Summit 136

10 Makira's Mysterious Rat 148

11 Malaita 159

12 The Face Never Seen 169

13 Poncelet's Giant and the Last Great Forest 180

Part 4 Fiji and New Caledonia 189

14 Bats at the Limit 195

15 Fiji's Garden Isle 204

16 Nouvelle Calédonie 214

17 The Mystery of Mont Panié 224

Afterword 233

References 237

Index 239

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