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They are led by Dr. Joe Slowinski, at 38 already one of the most brilliant biologists of our time. It is the most ambitious scientific expedition ever mounted into this remote region, brought to a dramatic halt by the bite of the many-banded krait, the deadliest serpent in Asia. Thus begins one of the most remarkable wilderness rescue attempts of modern times. In The Snake Charmer, ...
They are led by Dr. Joe Slowinski, at 38 already one of the most brilliant biologists of our time. It is the most ambitious scientific expedition ever mounted into this remote region, brought to a dramatic halt by the bite of the many-banded krait, the deadliest serpent in Asia. Thus begins one of the most remarkable wilderness rescue attempts of modern times. In The Snake Charmer, renowned journalist and author Jamie James captures the life and death of the fascinating and charismatic Joe Slowinski--a man whose career was fast and exciting, and whose tragic final expedition became a pulse-pounding struggle between man and nature.
James (The Music of the Spheres) tells the gritty and sad story of Joe Slowinski, a flamboyant and well-known herpetologist who died in Burma in 2001, aged 38, from the poisonous bite of a krait snake. Different snakes—from the first black rat snake he encountered at age five to the cobras on which his professional success was built—anchor different phases in Slowinski's life, as James paints a portrait of a man filled with ambition, intelligence, passion and recklessness. The account of the expedition into an unexplored region of northern Burma is chilling—it "set a new standard of misery" for scientific expeditions. After Slowinski was bitten by the krait, he was kept alive for 30 hours, through his companions' heroic efforts, with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. But the snake's potent neurotoxin did its work, and Slowinski died deep in the jungle. In the end, this book is both a tribute to Slowinski's spirit and scientific accomplishments, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of an overly passionate ambition. 8 pages of color and 8 pages of b&w photos. (June)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Journalist James chronicles the life of Joseph Slowinski, one of the preeminent herpetologists in the world at the time of his death in 2001. James begins his story with the last, fatal encounter Slowinski had with a many-banded krait snake, the deadliest snake in Asia, while on an expedition in Burma, then takes us back to Slowinski's childhood to reveal how this brilliant scientist ended up dying in a hut in one of the most remote areas in the world. Herpetologists seem to have a natural recklessness and flamboyance about them (think of the late Steve Irwin), and Slowinski exhibited these traits in abundance throughout his life. However, instead of using his skill and daring for personal fame, Slowinski used it in pursuit of knowledge. Both a biography of a flawed but dedicated scientist seeking to understand the natural world and a dramatic adventure/travel tale, this account gives the reader a fascinating look at the incredible hardships and dangers of field expeditions to impossibly remote places (using mouth-to-mouth respiration, Slowinski's colleagues kept him alive for 30 hours for a rescue that never came). For popular natural history collections. Photos and index not seen.
Many-Banded Krait 1
The Snake Charmer 9
The Expedition 157
Sources and Methods 241
A Note on Place Names 243
Posted June 2, 2013
Posted April 25, 2009
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First off I'm not sure what made me pick up this book, I'm NOT a fan of snakes. But it always facinates me how far someone will go in pursuit of something that is their passion. Also the age old man vs nature scenerio is always interesting. Joe Slowinski was a snake and science lover from a very early age and he devoted his unfortunate short life to that subject. Even in his darkest hour he was relaying information to the team about what was happening not for glory but for the sake of discovery and knowledge so that if he didn't survive at least science would gain something from it. A sad but interesting story. Very informative and well written. A good read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 27, 2009
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