Book Review: Ivory, Apes & Peacocks

Hey! We haven't done a book review in a while and to be honest, I just stopped reading for a while there. I just finished Ivory, Apes & Peacocks by Alan Root, and it has put me back into the mood of reading. I really appreciated this book so decided that this was the perfect read to get back into posting book reviews.

This book is a biography all about Alan and his life in Africa. Alan is a wildlife photographer and videographer that travelled through a lot of countries within Africa filming animals in their natural habitat. For those of you who didn't know, my dream travel location would be to Kenya, or Tanzania so it was so great to read an insight onto life within those countries. The book spans through most of his life, with Alan writing a bit of insight into his youth and then through early 20's onwards.

As always I don't want to give too much away from the book, however, there are some things I need to tell you about. Alan is a very inspiring man, and not only did he make amazing documentaries on tonnes of different animals, he also filmed animals that had never previously been filmed, or got on camera animal behaviour that hadn't been previously known. However, because he was not a qualified scientist, he was unable to document this and get the credit for it.

My favourite quote from the book is "I’ve always felt that gorillas - powerful but calm and gentle - are what most humans would like to be. Chimps - more inventive, but rowdy, combative and murderous - are, I’m afraid, more what we are." This quote came during the time that Alan was studying Gorillas in the wild, and this really stuck out to me. After reading Chimps of Fauna Sanctury and Through a Window I understand what he means by this. Chimpanzees are more aggressive creatures but also incredibly intelligent. Compared with Gorillas, who are more calm and placid but not as intelligent.

A big thing for me with books is how they are written. I believe that poor writing can ruin even the most amazing story. Alan has done an impressive job on the writing of this book, and it drew me in. A lot of biographies are hard to get into, and are not the type of book that you can't put down, however, Alan has done such a great job that I was hooked on reading this book. The story was set out perfectly, and went through each idea in chronological order. It also had amazing drawings in the book that one of his friends had especially drawn for him which gave some more character to the story.

My final thoughts on this book is that it is a definite read for animal lovers out there. It is such an inspiring story to do what you are passionate about, and not to give up when there is a bit of hardship in your life. It is also awesome to hear the stories about so many people that are passionate about animals and acting in their defence to protect them from us humans. I am now very keen to track down some of his documentaries and watch a few of them.
Have you read this book? What were your thoughts? Leave a comment down below telling us.


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