[Reading] ➻ The Malay Archipelago: The Land of the Orang-utan, and the Bird of Paradise: A Narrative of Travel, with Studies of Man and Nature Author Alfred Russel Wallace – Transportjobsite.co.uk

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10 thoughts on “The Malay Archipelago: The Land of the Orang-utan, and the Bird of Paradise: A Narrative of Travel, with Studies of Man and Nature

  1. says:

    Let me first get out of the way why I didn t give this 5 stars The simple fact is that it was horrendously edited I realize it was a group of volunteers who transcribed the original so we could have it for free on Kindle and I applaud and appreciate that But surely, someone could have at least read it through and edited it correctly If it wasn t for the editing it would certainly have 5 stars.This is a fascinating book In every possible way One might think that it would be a simple travel journal with a focus only on insects and birds, but it is so very much than that It opens a window onto the social and scientific climate of the 1850s in a huge way From the very casual and nonchalant racism and sexism and superiority complex of the white man, to a bit self aware discussion of how his own society fails and is flawed in comparison to the peoples he meets during his travels, how missionaries might be better off evangelizing through action than word, how many of the assumptions of what culture is are wrong.It is however, also a book about birds and beetles, and butterflies etc But through the lens of a man who is beyond excited about seeing things that so few Europeans have seen and even fewer have seen through the eyes of a scientist He discusses the work of his peers, such as Darwin as it relates to his observations, he discusses the reasons for some shortcomings in the work of those who cam before him And finally he lays out his ideas for the concept of the Wallace Line a hugely important concept in understanding evolution and natural history via geographical geological concepts Its fascinating and powerful to see how much work was done with nothing but observation while trekking through the jungle for years No microscopes, no genetic studies, no lab, few doctors or medicine, no engine for his boat at the mercy of the nature he studies It is partially appealing due to the adventure, partially due to the insight, the discovery of new species, and partially the fact that we have a first hand account of growing of a scientific field Worth the read I can only suggest people do, see if you can find a version that has pictures to accompany his descriptions and good editing though, it would make it just that much better.


  2. says:

    I have to say this first of all, I appreciate that this book was converted from the written form by a community of volunteers, but it contains so many errors, up to six on each page, that it makes for slow and disjointed reading I began by correcting it, it s what I do after all, but found that too time consuming so I stopped, but that didn t prevent me from mentally proofreading every page.Having said that, I read this because it is on the extra reading list of the course that I am currently taking on Human Origins It s a fascinating step back in time to when colonisation was acceptable and the colonisers considered themselves to be superior to those whose countries they conquered Happily, despite being a white man among the natives , Wallace does exhibit some consideration and appreciation of those whose lineages he does not share, albeit still with the white man s superior stance.I smiled, in a sad way, as he recounted searching for days for a bird whose rarity and beauty made it such a prize find that he celebrated when he shot and killed it He was a naturalist and a collector, that s what they did in those days and Wallace worked hard to find his specimens and suffered physically for his trade.I also smiled, in a sardonic way, when he described taking over the simple houses of the local people for his own lodgings and talked of their daily lives, habits and beliefs that he found fascinating but alien He seems to have been quite a kind man, for all his colonial privilege.And I was impressed by his almost transcendentalist views on work, and capitalism and the value of a life free of wage slavery At times he sounded like Emerson or Thoreau So, yes, despite the errors resulting from the transcription this is an interesting and illuminating read.


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