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Originally appearing at: Booklist

* Australian field zoologist and conservationist Flannery (Here on Earth, 2011) 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. Over a 10-year period, with a varying group of intrepid companions, he traveled in the footsteps of earlier adventurers, grasping for modern-day evidence of their long-ago recorded discoveries while searching for rare mammals. Bats, rats, and many other interesting species are caught and studied as Flannery and his cohorts steadfastly work their way from one island to another, in and out of hysterical and worrying escapades as they create an updated file on the animals in the region. Flannery's prose is electric, aptly combining history, politics, and wide-eyed excitement as he recalls these experiences. He offers plenty of discussion about cannibalism, colonialism, and the ongoing struggles to balance tradition and modernization as he describes places few readers will have heard of, let alone visited. Among the Islands exemplifies the sort of writing that once was commonplace, when adventure meant contributing to our knowledge of the world. Absolutely fantastic in every sense of the word.

YA: A true picture of scientists at work, Flannery's chronicle will make teens excited about seeing the world.


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