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A Great Summer Read

Douglas Adams’ expeditions to find endangered species

Douglas Adams

Douglas Adams
via Wikimedia Commons

Yes, that Douglas Adams, writer, humorist, dramatist, and author of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Last Chance to See, by Adams and Mark Carwardine, is the story of a series of expeditions the two men took in 1989:

Mark Carwardine: “We put a big map of the world on a wall, Douglas stuck a pin in everywhere he fancied going, I stuck a pin in where all the endangered animals were, and we made a journey out of every place that had two pins.”

The result was a radio series for BBC Radio 4 (you can listen to the radio series on the BBC’s “Last Chance to See” website)  and the book, about which the Atlantic Monthly wrote, “Who would have thought that a book in the field of “ecology/nature”…could be as lively, sharply satirical, brilliantly written and even funny as this one is?…ranks with the best set pieces in Mark Twain.”

Douglas Adams passed away in 2001. In 2009, Mark Carwardine and Adams’ close friend Stephen Fry went back to the places Adams and Carwardine had visited 20 years earlier. Carwardine and Fry blogged throughout the project, Carwardine with written posts and Fry with video. Their expeditions were documented by the BBC and released as a TV series (now available on DVD) and a book, both entitled Last Chance to See. Highly recommended.