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Gerald Durrell : the authorized biography

by Botting, Douglas.

Format: Print Book 1999
Availability: Available at 1 Library 1 of 1 copy
Available (1)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Main Library Second Floor - Non-fiction QL31.D87 B68 1999x
Location  CLP - Main Library
 
Collection  Second Floor - Non-fiction
 
Call Number  QL31.D87 B68 1999x
 
 
Summary
When the much-loved Gerald Durrell died aged seventy in 1995, he left behind not only his bestselling My Family and Other Animals and A Zoo in My Luggage, but also the legacy of the zoo he'd dreamed of as a small boy, where he pioneered the captive breeding of animals for conservation. With the authorization of Gerald Durrell's widow, Lee, and his surviving family, biographer Douglas Botting traces the life of the world-famous naturalist and popular author of over thirty-seven bestsellers.Brother of the famous novelist Lawrence Durrell, the younger Durrell always saw his writings about his eccentric family in Imperial India or on the idyllic island of Corfu and his early interest in birds and beasts as the means of financing his great passion: the breeding of endangered species for their return to the wild. Like Jacques Cousteau, he traveled across the globe, bringing the exotic natural world closer to ordinary people, and presented a dozen different television documentary serieson zoology, such as Catch Me a Colobus and Ark on the Move, which gave him an international audience. As he traces Durrell's growing menagerie of tapirs, angwantibos, gorillas, lemurs, tamarins, and Chumley the chimp, Botting brings to life the man Sir David Attenborough called "a pioneer with a marvelous sense of humor." "[Botting's] admiration and affection for his subject are infectious" - Sunday Times (London)
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Botting plumbs the depths of famed naturalist Gerald Durrell, evoking the real man behind the jovial facade. The story begins in India, where Gerald was born, and covers his golden boyhood on the Edenic island of Corfu, where he roamed freely to collect a wide variety of fauna ("The Boy's Mad . . . Snails in his Pockets!") and where he blossomed without the confines of formal schooling. Drawing on the Durrell family archives and Gerald Durrell's private papers, Botting shows both the naturalist's triumphs--especially the founding of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust--and the "abysses and chasms" in his life, many brought on by alcohol abuse. The result is a warm, often poignant portrait that, aided by extensive quotes from Durrell's books, evokes a definite sense of the man's wit as well as his passions. Readers will feel that they really get to know Durrell, his eccentric family, and the extraordinary animals in his life. --Sally Estes"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "All Durrell fans will want to own this captivating and deeply moving but surprisingly (for an authorized book) candid biography. It offers a rounded portrait of all sides of the man-naturalist, animal lover, champion of conservation, prolific author, zoo founder, bon vivant, documentary filmmaker, poet, broadcaster, explorer, marathon globetrotter. Getting past the public persona of the charming, modest, resolute, jovial guru, British writer Botting (Humboldt and the Cosmos) reveals a very different Gerald Durrell (1925-1995)Äan astute, cunning, sometimes overbearing political animal; an alcoholic who mixed booze and tranquilizers; a visionary whose seemingly hopeless self-appointed mission to save the world's endangered species drove him to despair, sporadic rage and misanthropy, costing him his privacy, peace of mind, health and first marriage. Durrell's zoo, which he founded on the English isle of Jersey in 1959, pioneered the captive breeding of animals threatened with extinction, with the aim of reintroducing them to their native habitats. In some ways Jersey recapitulated his boyhood idyll on the Greek island of Corfu, where Durrell (born in India) had moved from London with his bohemian family in 1935 at the age of 10. Botting, who had exclusive access to the Durrell family archives and to Durrell's voluminous private papers, fills this uninhibited biography with hitherto unpublished autobiographical sketches, letters and diary excerpts; with wonderful stories of animals and people; with a perceptive account of Durrell's relationships with his two wives and his novelist brother, Lawrence, who sparked his interest in writing. Though critical of Durrell at times, this extraordinary saga remains true to the adventurous spirit of Durrell's writings, capturing a dynamo beset by a gnawing fear that his life's work had been in vain. Photos. Agent, Andrew Hawson at John Johnson. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Durrell, Gerald, -- 1925-1995.
Zoologists -- Great Britain -- Biography.
Wildlife conservationists -- Great Britain -- Biography.
Publisher New York :Carroll & Graf Publishers,1999
Edition 1st Carroll & Graf ed.
Language English
Description xx, 644 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages [631]-633) and index.
ISBN 0786706554
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