Reviews for Between Man and Beast : A Tale of Exploration & Evolution


AudioFile Reviews 2013 July
"Do gorillas have a strong resemblance to man, or do they not?" This is the question anthropologist Paul B. Du Chaillu intended to answer through his African journey in search of the elusive gorilla in the late 1850s. It also fueled Charles Darwin's theories and the ensuing debate over evolution. Bob Walter's voice gently sets the scenes in a true story told with novel-like detail. Listeners will find themselves exploring in Africa, watching a church rise in London, or attending a P.T. Barnum exhibition. Without becoming overly dramatic, Walter draws listeners into a story that covers a myriad of topics--from pre-Civil War racist arguments to Du Chaillu's mysterious life. At times, the actual discovery of the gorilla seems secondary to the hoopla surrounding it. J.A.S. (c) AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine

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Library Journal Express Reviews
In 1856, Paul Du Chaillu traveled deep into the wilderness of Gabon in search of its mysterious and elusive inhabitant, the gorilla. Poor and without a noted family heritage, Du Chaillu hoped that undertaking this extraordinarily dangerous expedition and bringing back evidence of his encounters with this believed ferocious monster would lead to his acceptance in the scientific community. At the same time, Charles Darwin was completing On the Origin of Species, and when Du Chaillu returned to London, the topic of gorillas had begun to turn up in discussions of human evolution. Rumors began to circulate about Du Chaillu's credibility, and whether or not he really ever confronted gorillas in the wild. In order to respond to these attacks, Du Chaillu left on a second gorilla expedition to Gabon, one better equipped and with the intention of true scientific documentation. This is a fascinating look back at the Victorian Age, filled with wonderment at discoveries we now take for granted. Bob Walter inspires a sense of the Victorian era with his excellent narration. Verdict Recommended for anyone interested in the Victorian era and the age of natural history discovery. ["Best suited to general readers interested in African exploration, gorillas, or the history of science in the Victorian age. They may also be interested in Du Chaillu's original best seller, as well as Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World, thought to be partially inspired by Du Chaillu's adventures," read the review of the Doubleday hc, LJ 3/1/13.--Ed.]--Gloria Maxwell, Metropolitan Community Coll. Penn Valley, Kansas City, MO (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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