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Thank You, Madagascar: The Conservation Diaries of Alison Jolly

Biography / Memoir

By: Alison Jolly(Author), Hilary Bradt(Foreword By)

416 pages, 32 plates with colour & b/w photos

Zed Books

Paperback | Feb 2016 | #216068 | ISBN-13: 9781783603176
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £14.99 $20/€17 approx
Hardback | Mar 2015 | #216069 | ISBN-13: 9781783603183
Availability: Usually dispatched within 48 hours
NHBS Price: £18.99 $26/€21 approx

About this book

Madagascar is one of the world's natural jewels, with over ninety per cent of its wildlife found nowhere else on Earth. Few people knew it better than the pioneering primatologist and conservationist, Alison Jolly. Thank You, Madagascar is her eyewitness account of the extraordinary biodiversity of the island, and the environment of its people.

At Thank You, Madagascar's heart is a conflict between three different views of nature. Is the extraordinary forest treasure-house of Madagascar a heritage for the entire world? Is it a legacy of the forest dwellers' ancestors, bequeathed to serve the needs of their living descendants? Or is it an economic resource to be pillaged for short-term gain and to be preserved only to deliver benefits for those with political power?

Exploring and questioning these different views, this is a beautifully written diary and a tribute to Madagascar.

"Without a doubt one of the very best books about conservation. It ranges from the author's work with Madagascar's fascinating and unique lemurs, efforts at all levels to protect their habitat, sympathetic descriptions of village life, and the often highly amusing stories of what goes on behind the scenes during high level meetings. The information presented in diary form makes you feel you were present, sharing the excitements, disappointments and triumphs that are part of the on going struggle to save the environment. And for those of us who knew and loved Allison, it is as though she is with us still, suggesting we do our best to save this planet for our children. I was truly absorbed from start to finish."
- Dr. Jane Goodall, UN Messenger of Peace

"A captivating and absorbing account that reveals how the people and the land of Madagascar captured her heart"
- Sir David Attenborough

"A gripping tale of the birthing years of the environmental movement in Madagascar. Alison Jolly is a great story-teller, and brings to life the first studies of the unique wildlife of Madagascar. Sometimes provocative, often funny and always with wisdom about human nature, this tale is history at its best, a first hand view of the intrigues of complex politics and the drive of determined researchers at the frontiers of wild science. The pathos of human poverty and the richness of wildlife are one story, and Alison Jolly brings you Madagascar with all its complexities."
- Professor Patricia Wright Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, Stony Brook University, and Founder of Centre ValBio Research station in Ranomafana, Madagascar

"Alison Jolly's amazing eyewitness account takes us from the halls of the World Bank to the huts of forest villagers – and even to the ethics of mining companies. I recommend it especially to the Malagasy friends and colleagues who struggle for sustainability for our country."
- Leon R ajaobelina, Conservation International

"In exploring the female-dominated world of lemurs in Madagascar, Alison Jolly shed a unique light on a world as biologically rich as it is economically poor [...] There is lemur biology aplenty in the book, but, like a fine soup, it's one ingredient in a rich mix. [...]"
- Adrian Barnett, New Scientist, 12 April 2015


Foreword - Hilary Bradt

Introduction - Margaretta Jolly
My adventurous and astonishing mother

Chronology of events
Dramatis personae xxix
Map of madagascar

1. 'Our country is committing Suicide'

Part I: Villages
2. Dancing in the Rainforest
3. Burning Baobabs, Death of Children
4. David Attenborough, Madame Berthe's Mouse lemur, and School among the Baobabs
5. Eleanor and the Aye-Ayes

Part II: Politics: Saving Madagascar
6. Where Indri Sing
7. Napoleon versus the Zoos
8. The Bank Corrals the Donors
9. Dishing out the Dough
10. Our Cash killed Bedo
11. The Bank Goes to the Forest

Part III: Research and Development
12. Golden Bamboo Lemurs of Ranomafana
13. Patricia Walked the Boundaries
14. The Village of the Fig Tree
15. Development Meltdown
16: Real Life And DreamWorks.
17. President Ratsiraka
18. Madame Berthe was Dancing

Part IV: Weather
19. Famine in the South
20. Lemurs coping
21. Scientists, People, Lemurs: Berenty, Bezà Mahafaly and Tsimanampetsotsa
22. Climate Change
Part V: Money
23. Durban Vision: Rosewood Massacre
24. The New Mines
25. Where are We Now?

Photographic credits

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Alison Jolly was a world renowned primatologist and conservationist. A portion of recently restored forest in Madagascar is named after her, as well as a new species of mouse lemur. She died in 2014.

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