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Last Chance to See

authors: Douglas Adams & Mark Carwadine (2009)
date read: 27 April 2017
rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

In this book, Douglas Adams tours the world, looking for living examples of rare and endangered species. The kakapo, the white rhino, the Yangtze dolphin – names I’d vaguely heard before, but never dug into.

Each trip gets its own chapter – nice and detailed, plenty of history and background, and the contrast between the layman (Adams) and the expert (Carwadine) helps keep the topic accessible. The factual content alone would be fascinating – but where this stands out is the quality of the writing.

I’ve always loved the style of humour in H2G2, and it works similarly well here, but now it has an underlying message. Yes, it’s funny, but there’s also a serious discussion about mankind’s disdain for the rest of the planet, and our carelessness when it comes to other species. It doesn’t feel like moralising, but I came away with a greater sense of shame for the way we treat the environment.

I’m sure there are flaws, but on my first read I was immersed and humbled by what I was reading. Definitely one I’ll read again.

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