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Gerald Durrell's Army
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Author: Edward Whitley.
Illustrator: Bryan Hanlon.
ISBN-10: 0-7195-4949-3 (0719549493)
ISBN-13: 978-0-7195-4949-6 (9780719549496)
Language: English
No. of Pages: xiii + 241
Dimensions: 163mm x 241mm x 28mm

Item Identification Code (UID#): 723
Shelving Location: Natural History: General
Estimated Value: £10.00
Purchase Date: 2 September 2006
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Price Paid: Log In to view this

Gerald Durrell's Army

First Edition
John Murray (1992).
Hardcover Book with Dust Jacket

A semibiographical book following the conservation efforts of naturalist Gerald Durrell in ten countries. Edward Whitley, a long-time friend of the Durrells, writes in a very readable and often amusing style about a serious subject: the fight to save rare creatures. Chapter Four (one of seven) is devoted to Durrell's work saving lemurs, tortoises, giant jumping rats, and other animals in Madagascar.

Text from the Back Cover

This book is both an odyssey and a bible of conservation. Edward Whitley visits ten countries around the world to see conservationists who have been specially trained by Gerald Durrell and search for the animals they are trying to save. The news is sometimes good, sometimes harrowing. But as always with Edward comedy – even farce – is close at hand.

He starts in the Caribbean where he meets the St Lucian parrot and joins a Rastas' hunt for the ganja-eating Jamaican coney. From there he moves via Brazil and West Africa to Madagascar for one of the high points of the book: helping Gerald Durrell track down the giant jumping rat. In Mauritius, home of the dodo, he finds several birds which almost followed its footsteps. In India he rides one endangered animal, the elephant, to see another, the rhino. He concludes his research in the Philippines, with an unnerving eyeball-to-eyeball encounter with one of the last 46 monkey-eating eagles left on earth.

Rather than jump to conclusions, Edward lets local people explain what is going on. Their perspectives are bizarrely different from ours which is why they burn mahogany ('it gives good cooking heat') or eat lemurs ('they taste almost as good as cat'). He provides, besides a memorable portrait of Gerald Durrell himself, a colourful, down-to-earth, entertaining, informative and unprejudiced account of the battle now being fought to save the world's rarest wildlife.

About the Author (from the Back Flap)

Edward Whitley was born in 1961 and read English at Oxford University. Whilst there he conducted a series of interviews with Oxford graduates including John Betjeman, Iris Murdoch, Indira Gandhi, Bob Hawke and Dudley Moore, which were published as The Graduates in 1986.

He has helped Gerald Durrell raise funds for the International Training Centre – the subject of this book – and is a trustee of Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust and the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust at Slimbridge.


  • Contents
  • Introduction
  • Gerry's Kitchen Table
  • One: The Caribbean
  • Two: Brazil
  • Three: West Africa
  • Four: The Durrells in Madagascar
  • Five: Mauritius
  • Six: India
  • Seven: The Philippines
  • Epilogue: Toads Crawling Through Cotton Wool

Condition of Item

Fine. Signed in ink by the author on the titlepage. Dust jacket very good, slight discolouration on upper edge of front flap.

Refer to the glossary for definitions of terms used to describe the condition of items.


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