Quest under capricorn, Zoo quest for a dragon and Quest in paradise

I ordered these separately. Which was foolish in retrospect. All three are neatly bundled (with an extra) “David Attenborough: The Early Years Collection”. But they were all going for less than the price of an audible credit in a sale, so it seemed like a good deal.

I enjoyed each one tremendously.

I grew up on a diet of Attenborough’s natural history broadcasting. So it is a pleasure to find he also has a skill for writing books.

Animals play a due part in all the books, but the real stars are encounters with fellow humans. Unreliable boat captains off Komodo, the artists of Arnhem Land, an interrupted wedding and the last residents of an abandoned Australian town. A swirl of charters draw us through the stories, and narrated in his own voice it is a pleasure.

Reading these made me wonder about the particular timespan of Attenborough’s life. A long span of peace in Europe after the second world wars, and the technologies that resulted from it made it possible for him to travel at speeds to distances impossible a generation before.

In doing it seems he outpaced the blast wave of 20th century modernity in many of his destinations. Arriving before the rest of us turned up as tourists, before our global demands drove deforestation and before time and space collapsed in far away places, shrunk by jet turbines and combustion engines.

To read this with nostalgia for the untouched would be a mistake. It would ask much of the world to live in a reserve of lower life quality for our amusement. However many of the places in these books seem much further away than they do today.

| Huw

After "Zoo Quest for a Dragon" I read: Quest in Paradise

Before "Zoo Quest for a Dragon" I read: David Attenborough's New Life Stories

After "Quest in Paradise" I read: The Book of Trespass

Before "Quest in Paradise" I read: Zoo Quest for a Dragon