Read Among the Islands: Adventures in the Pacific by Tim Flannery Online


A fabulous account of hunting, trapping and recording mammal species in the Pacific Islands. Twenty-five years ago, a zoologist from the Australian Museum in Sydney set off to research the mammals of the Pacific Islands. Starting with a survey of one of the most inaccessible islands in Melanesia that young scientist found himself ghost-whispering, snake wrestling, quadoi hA fabulous account of hunting, trapping and recording mammal species in the Pacific Islands. Twenty-five years ago, a zoologist from the Australian Museum in Sydney set off to research the mammals of the Pacific Islands. Starting with a survey of one of the most inaccessible islands in Melanesia that young scientist found himself ghost-whispering, snake wrestling, quadoi hunting and plunging waist-deep into a sludge of maggot-infested faeces in search of a small bat that turned out not to be earth-shatteringly interesting. Now one of Australias greatest scientists, Tim Flannery looks back on his ground-breaking fieldwork. With accounts of discovering, naming and sometimes eating animal species new to science, and stories of historic expeditions and colourful local customs, he takes us on an enthralling journey through some of the most diverse and spectacular environments on Earth....

Title : Among the Islands: Adventures in the Pacific
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781921921063
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 268 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Among the Islands: Adventures in the Pacific Reviews

  • Jeanette
    2018-11-30 08:09

    Rating = 3.5 starsThis was perhaps a little less interesting than Throwim Way Leg because the focus here was more on zoology than anthropology. Not that I don't enjoy reading about rare bats and birds and rodents, but a girl needs some penis gourds and ancient blood feuds to spice things up. Whatever's missing early in the book with regard to culture is made up for in the chapter about Fiji, with stories of cannibalism and other strange practices. Cannibalism was such an integral part of Fijian culture that the proper greeting when encountering the tribal headman was "EAT ME." Yeah, baby. No further comment. Flannery makes some good arguments for how cannibalism made a certain amount of sense among isolated island societies. Tim Flannery's always a good sport about sharing his most embarrassing moments. My favorite one in this book took place on the French-speaking island of New Caledonia. Tim's French was rusty, but that didn't stop him from trying. He went into a pharmacy to buy some preservative for the animal specimens he was collecting. In French, the word preservatif refers not to formaldehyde, but to a certain prophylactic device. So it's not surprising that the druggist wanted to chase Tim out of the shop when he asked in French for "condoms for dead animals." Should you ever need to know, the correct word is formol. Tim Flannery has a gift for writing about scientific exploration without a lot of jargon or boring descriptions. His books are perfect for average people with an interest in animals and exotic places. No advanced degrees required. His books never have enough photos for me, so keep a list of the animals he mentions, and look them up online. Most of them are even more beautiful and/or bizarre than his descriptions can convey.

  • Adrian
    2018-11-25 11:02

    Details Flannery's exploits as a zoologist in the Pacific Islands. He has many adventures searching for bats, rats and bandicoots that have only rarely been sighted. The tales he tells are interesting enough I suppose but I'm curious why they are being published now. These field studies were done in the 1980s and 90s and thus are 20 to 25 years old now. Are they still pertinent? Did Flannery see an easy and nice payer by dredging up his old field notes and making them into a book?

  • Mark
    2018-12-16 04:08

    Mr. Flannery is one of those from the school of "hunt down one of everything and kill it" culture. I till wonder why they're called scientists, what happens when they catch the one and only left of anything and kill it? This kind of thinking is part of the problem behind the idea of Western Man. It isn't good enough just to be left as a miraculous adaptation of evolution with a life of its own to live, but all part of defining each and every bit of anything that comes to be on Planet Earth. That's why I had a hard time digging this book. He does conduct an apologia for his species at the end, and he did happen to discover ten completely unique species in his romp through New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, New Caledonia, and the Bismarck Islands. But unless you are a forceps and butterfly net wielding dweeb form the English Olde Schoole, I dunno if you will like it much or not. Even the presence of naked women rubbing against him clad in only corn-cob pipes can't shake Mr. Flannery's tweedy determination to conduct his most serious Polynesian mammalian research. Admirable, I suppose, if you are cut of the same cloth.

  • Ilya
    2018-12-10 08:54

    This is an account of expeditions by Australian biologists to South Pacific islands to the east of New Guinea to collect rare mammals in the 1980s and the 1990s. Since the islands are isolated, the mammals are mostly bats, which could be carried by the wind, and rats, which could float on pieces of vegetation from island to island. Because of the dearth of mammals, the human inhabitants of the islands were often traditionally cannibals: where else were they going to get red meat? The islanders have been in contact with the Europeans and with Christianity for centuries, and the anthropological stories are not as interesting as those in Flannery's previous book about expeditions to the highlands of New Guinea.

  • Karen
    2018-11-18 05:15

    This is certainly an important book for someone who is interested in the mammals of the South Pacific and the natural history of the area. Tim Flannery is a Zoologist from Australia, who looked for signs of species of bats and rats that exist in the Pacific Islands of Papua New Guinea, The Solomon Islands, Fiji and New Caledonia. Flannery is taking previous knowledge of these mammals, specimens from museums (mostly from the nineteenth century) and tried to update this knowledge by going back to the islands where the mammals had been taken from. I particularly liked the chapters on Fiji and New Caledonia.

  • Jrobertus
    2018-12-02 04:05

    Flannery is an Australian biologist who spends much of his time counting and cataloging mammals, especially bats, on the islands near Australia. He worked on places like the Trobriand islands, and those off New Guinea, the Bismarks, New Ireland and New Britain, the Solomons, including Guadalcanal and down to Fiji and New Caledonia. Islands are interesting places for evolutionary studies, given their varied histories. Some were once joined to the mainland and may share speccies with them. Others are volcanic and can be populated by birds or bats or those animals that drift in from long distance. Humans brought pigs and chickens and also, unintentionally rats. It is a bit of a puzzle how all these forces interact. I enjoyed his descriptions of these jungle paradises, ie humid hell-holes, and the people there. Many have long histories of cannibalism and battles over colonization. Even so, I don't care that much about giant rats or flying foxes and so extensive narration about them was not that thrilling. Still and all, a pretty interesting and fast read.

  • Laura
    2018-11-26 06:48

    This really should have been a 5-star, but the writing was so odd and at times confusing that it quickly dropped from that level.Flannery has, over the past two-three decades, studied mammals in many of the Pacific islands. By "mammals" he means rats and bats, some quite large and some quite small. That part is really fascinating, particularly when the different species are described (who knew that bats could have orange fur?). The problem comes when the descriptions are truncated, assuming that readers know what a wallaby looks like, among other species. The travels and adventures part is also oddly truncated, with several trips elided; the timeline isn't always clear and sometimes there needs to be more clarity about who and when. It also doesn't help that this needs a firm editorial hand, cleaning up some of the convoluted sentences and pronouns. Here's an example - we all know that landmasses move, and that there are different reasons for them moving (plates shifting, volcanic action, etc.). But despite a long explanation about how species evolution can either lead to dwarfs or giants, there's nothing about timelines and when he then talks about islands that used to be joined "recently"...This could, based on the writing, have been a 2 but the mammal hunting and adventures kept it from dropping that low.ARC provided by publisher.

  • Becky Johnson
    2018-11-27 07:11

    In Among the Islands: Adventures in the Pacific, Flannery recounts nearly 25 years of adventures in the South Pacific, beginning as a young biologist in 1987. The book is organized geographically, with sections devoted to travels in Papua New Guinea, the Bismarck Isles, the Solomon Islands, Fiji and New Caledonia. Following in the footsteps of only a handful of biologists who have gone before him, Flannery travels to islands only accessible by ship, wades through piles of guano in search of new species of bats, encounters cultures with a history of cannibalism and head-hunting, and drink suspicious alcoholic beverages with government officials of small island states.If you find that sort of lifestyle romantic, as I do, than this is an interesting read. Among the Islands is memoir, history, ethnography, and Darwinian-like study all in one. There’s reference to famed anthropologists Bronislaw Malinowski and Roger Keesing, who shared with the world the unique cultures of the Trobriand Islands and the Kwaio peoples of the Solomon Island of Malaita. There’s in depth descriptions of monkey-faced bats and the lengths a scientist must go through in order to positively identify a new species.Read the rest of my review here:

  • Jason
    2018-11-26 04:56

    I’ve been looking forward to reading Tim Flannery’s The Weather Makers but Among the Islands: Adventures in the Pacific is my first book by the influential scientist. I thought it would be interesting to read since it’s an accounting of a series of expeditions he made at the beginning of his career. It was a particularly enjoyable read for me as it piggybacked on some other, recent reading and study I’ve done pertaining to the South Pacific. Flannery’s good sense of humor notwithstanding, some readers could find his discussion of so many exotic rats, birds and bats rather tedious. He more than held my interest with his descriptive writing but I have to admit I was sorely disappointed at the small collection of photographs he included with the book. They’re interesting but oddly underwhelming. I very much wished he could’ve included more photographs or illustrations of the species he identified or speculated about in his various field studies.

  • JoanneClarke Gunter
    2018-12-15 12:13

    I am so disappointed. See that picture of the delightful looking children in native adornment on the cover of this book? They have nothing to do with this book. The cover picture of this book should be one depicting the rare and not-so-rare rats and bats native to the many islands of the South Pacific. Now, I am as fond of unusual rats and bats as the next person, but this entire book is about them and the long ago field analysis that Tim Flannery undertook. This isn't even recent research. I was expecting another amazing book like Tim Flannery's "Throwim Way Leg: Tree-Kangaroos, Possums, and Penis Gourds" which is a terrific book that is filled with stories about the truly unusual and bizarre people and animals of Papua New Guinea.Tim Flannery is a good writer and great scientist who makes anthropology, geology, and biology interesting and readable for the non-scientist, but unless you have a thing for rats and bats, skip this book.

  • Doug
    2018-11-25 09:08

    I have to confess to being somewhat ambivalent when I finished Among the Islands. Adventurous travelogue or work of science? Neither one really and therein lies the rub. I'm certain that that many of the experiences that he had while roaming the islands of Melanesia during the 1980's must have been hair-raising, but he makes them sound mundane. I'm also certain that he is an extremely bright and highly competant scientist, but I thing he tried a little too hard to dumb-down the science for we laymen. I REALLY would have liked a lot more pictures of some of the fantastic animals and colorful people that he talks about. I has to stop and Google way too many times - whodda thunk that he could get me that interested in a bunch of bats and rats.All in all, a worthwhile read and I'll look forward to the new installment that he promises in the afterwrd.

  • Helen Mccarthy
    2018-11-26 09:13

    This is a very interesting book about the search for previously unidentified island species in tropical islands of the South Pacific.Island species are especially interesting because they develop and evolve unique traits that are not found in related species located else where, thus islands are a great laboratory for studying speciation. This book recounts many of Flannery's expeditions over about a 20 year period of research and and exploration, encompassing both scientific and adventurous aspects of these expeditions. The downside is that the episodes seem to have been written up at different time periods and may be the for instance the presentations prepared for conference talks etc and consequently the chapters are quite uneven in many regards. Nevertheless, the book contains a wealth of information about the endemic species of these islands.

  • Andrea
    2018-11-28 04:01

    This book narrates the author's work exploring and documenting the small mammals on remote islands near New Guinea. He combines travel narrative with scientific explanation in a clear, entertaining way. This book is pretty light on the scientific information, but is written with humor and the natural descriptions of truly unique flora and fauna really kept my interest. I would recommend if for people who like both travel and popular science and who enjoy a combination of the two. I can't overstate the addition of humor to this book; I found myself laughing out loud at points.

  • Jennifer
    2018-11-24 11:58

    I think I would have enjoyed the book more if I had been better prepared for the fact that the book is so heavily focused on bats and rats. The edition I read did not mention that the focus of the book is the mammaology of the SW Pacific on the dusk jacket or in the library catalog. I am afraid that my disinterest in bats and rats meant that a great deal of this book was only skimmed. However - the book did pique my interest in a few of the islands the author visited so the book was far from a waste of my time.

  • Rachel Holtzman
    2018-11-25 08:14

    I chose to read this book because of its setting. I wanted to learn more about undiscovered species in the South Pacific, and particularly in PNG. I remember hearing that PNG has some of the last remaining untouched rain forests in the world. The book was good, but not as good as I thought it would be. I particularly liked the author's stories that had to do with cultural experiences, hiking through the bush, and the colonization period of the Pacific islands. I would have liked more anthropological comments in the book than biological...but all in all it was an interesting book.

  • David Bales
    2018-11-17 09:54

    Tim Flannery, of the Australian Museum in Sydney, is a world-famous biologist and author who details his natural history tour of the Pacific islands in this book, searching for new species and attempting to ascertain whether species described by earlier naturalists are still living. It is disappointing, however, that the events depicted in the book took place nearly a quarter of a century or longer, but Flannery is always a great read.

  • John Benson
    2018-12-05 11:10

    I really enjoyed this book by Tim Flannery, an Australian mammologist, who tells of his visits to different Pacific islands near Papua New Guinea during the 1980s. He did surveys of the mammals on the these islands, most of which were bats and rats. The topic sounds grim, but he is a great storyteller and he brought out the cultures, landscapes, ecology and bats and rats of each island very well. An enjoyable read.

  • Kathleen McRae
    2018-12-05 09:03

    Tim Flannery received a large grant to study the bats and rats on various islands of the Pacific.At the time he was a curator at an Australian museum and has since become an eminent environmentalist.Among the islands is a easy read with lots of interesting sidebars about the people of the various islands and also history and geographical info about various islands and their groupings in pacific chains. Very interesting!

  • Lee Belbin
    2018-12-05 06:14

    This is a wonderful book if you enjoy travel in exotic places, landscapes or wildlife. Tim's collecting expeditions into the Melanesian islands around the 1980s capture a snapshot of the wildlife, the culture and the history of these islands. There are plenty of great stories included in the pages- my favourite was of him trying to ask in poor French for formaldehyde at a chemist shop in New Caledonia. There are plenty of laughs and a lot of ecology in this book.

  • Francesca
    2018-12-05 09:01

    The Australian author of The Weather Makers returns with a travelogue/scientific expedition about his travels to Micronesia in search of rare flora and fauna. The hunt for species are embellished with historical back-story and context, complete with political intrigue, stalwart crew and cronies, cannibalistic rituals, and misguided missionaries...all in the name of conservation and celebration of the world's uniquely amazing wildlife.

  • David Schau
    2018-12-13 08:16

    Wcience writing with a light touch, Flannery, a zoologists, took me on a trip to the jungles of little-explored mountains and jungles of islands in the southwest Pacific in search of rare mammals. He makes chasing wombats and gathering bats in netting an adventure. Has written more than a dozen of science titles.

  • Judith
    2018-11-30 08:52

    When I picked up the book I thought it would be more about native cultures in the South Pacific. It actually was about the expeditions and their hunts for rats and bats. Those are the only indigenous mammals on those islands.

  • Kate
    2018-12-14 11:13

    A naturalist on fields trips to the south Pacific. I learned a lot about island ecology as well as being thoroughly entertained. Though written by a scientist, he keeps human interest alive and does not heap on the scientific jargon and terminology.

  • Ken
    2018-12-13 04:09

    I have enjoyed other books by this author. But, I was disappointed in this one. It was written from memory and notes from many years ago. It was too short without enough detail. What was there was enjoyable. But, it was like I was getting teased. I wanted more.

  • Tim Magor
    2018-12-02 10:58

    Bats and rats of the pacific islands this is the alternate title. T Flannery is a good writer and the passages about the history, culture and geography of each island or group of Islands were the best parts. Had to persevere with this one unlike his TV shows with Roy! Which were a delight

  • NC Wilson
    2018-11-18 09:53

    Terrific book. Flannery immerses you in the Pacific Islands, a world that now is beginning to vanish.A great read for those into nature and the oceans.

  • A Serious Lover
    2018-11-18 08:05

    Delightful and engrossing!

  • JoAndra
    2018-11-29 04:48

    Enjoyable read, fascinating discoveries and adventures as a wildlife biologist in the Pacific Islands.

  • Bruce
    2018-11-27 11:10

    An interesting account of a biologists surveys of many south Pacific islands. He has lots of insight into how evolution has shaped each islands flora and fauna in a distinctive way.

  • Hope
    2018-12-04 05:00

    This is a book I should enjoy... But quite frankly found boring and monotonous.