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Kingdom Under Glass: A Tale of Obsession,…
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Kingdom Under Glass: A Tale of Obsession, Adventure, and One Man's… (udgave 2010)

af Jay Kirk

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
11120197,763 (3.76)33
A sweeping historical narrative of the life of Carl Akeley, the famed explorer and taxidermist who changed the way Americans viewed the conservation of the natural world During the golden age of safaris in the early twentieth century, one man set out to preserve Africa's great beasts. In this epic account of an extraordinary life lived during remarkable times, Jay Kirk follows the adventures of the brooding genius who revolutionized taxidermy and created the famed African Hall we visit today at New York's Museum of Natural History. The Gilded Age was drawing to a close, and with it came the realization that men may have hunted certain species into oblivion. Renowned taxidermist Carl Akeley joined the hunters rushing to Africa, where he risked death time and again as he stalked animals for his dioramas and hobnobbed with outsized personalities of the era such as Theodore Roosevelt and P. T. Barnum. In a tale of art, science, courage, and romance, Jay Kirk resurrects a legend and illuminates a fateful turning point when Americans had to decide whether to save nature, to destroy it, or to just stare at it under glass.… (mere)
Medlem:mikekennelly
Titel:Kingdom Under Glass: A Tale of Obsession, Adventure, and One Man's Quest to Preserve the World's Great Animals
Forfattere:Jay Kirk
Info:Henry Holt and Co. (2010), Hardcover, 400 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:
Nøgleord:Ingen

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Kingdom Under Glass: A Tale of Obsession, Adventure, and One Man's Quest to Preserve the World's Great Animals af Jay Kirk

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3.5 stars

Carl Akeley (1864-1926) was a famous taxidermist, most notable for setting up dioramas at the American Museum of Natural History. He spent much time in Africa with this two successive wives, on hunting safaris, looking for the perfect specimens for scientific posterity.

I had a bit of a hard time with this. It’s an interesting story and he had an interesting life (he also invented a few things, one of them highlighted in the book being a video camera to take nature videos), but I had a really hard time with the hunting – in my mind, it was just glorified trophy hunting. So wasteful – he would kill animals, but not even use them because they were not exactly what he was looking for for his imagined displays for the museum. He later did help start a sanctuary for gorillas, but only after he’d killed the ones he wanted, and he continued to kill other animals after. It did read like fiction, but the author has notes at the end to explain where he got much of his information and where he “expanded” and how he came to decide on telling it that way. ( )
  LibraryCin | Jun 9, 2020 |
Taxidermy, especially at the museum level fascinates me as a merger of science and art. Carl Akeley is considered to be the father of modern taxidermy, and this book follows his life from boyhood to dying on his last trip to Africa. Jay Kirk takes some liberties depicting scenes using words people said from various memoirs or letters, but I appreciated it as it kept an interesting narrative for a fascinating man. Also included: Teddy Roosevelt, attitudes about conservation and evolution from the turn of the century, and shooting things in the name of science.

Also, FINALLY finished it. Started it last summer but had to return it to the library, school library didn't have a copy, and finally found one here in Boise during my midsummer class. Huzzah for taking one off my currently reading shelf~ ( )
  Daumari | Dec 30, 2017 |
The story of Carl Akeley as he improves the world of taxidermy and goes to Africa to preserve the big game animals that are being hunted out of existence. He also developed a camera to take live action film of the animals as they move. His was an interesting world. The details are fascinating as Mr. Kirk tells Carl's story. I even read the notes. His documentation of his sources is good. I want to read some of them, if they are still available. I loved Micki, stubborn as she could be, but that is what gave her the strength and courage to do what she did for Carl. I did not like his second wife as well. Carl had a lot of stamina and perseverance as he went for the animals he wanted in his dioramas surviving a leopard and elephant attack. He should die much earlier than he did. He was involved with famous people from that era--Theodore Roosevelt and George Eastman of Kodak. Interesting story. Reads like a novel. ( )
  Sheila1957 | Jan 22, 2017 |
At the turn of the 20th century, Carl Akeley revolutionized the art of taxidermy. Prior to his work, preserving an animal involved stuffing the skin with paper and sawdust, resulting in a comically ill-defined monstrosity that only vaguely resembled the original animal. Akeley was unsatisfied, and spent many years perfecting his craft, trying different methods (such as using wire mesh and clay sculptures under the hide) to truly bring the animals to life.

I suppose whenever discussing the book the format must be addressed. The book is infamous for treading the line between fiction and nonfiction. Jay Kirk meticulously researched Carl Akeley's life, that is indisputable. However, when he wrote his book, even though it is labeled as nonfiction, he wrote it in narrative form, so that it reads like a fictional story. The criticism comes with the "facts" that the author invented. In order to stitch together full scenes, he had to fudge the details a bit. He admits this in his notes, where he points out where he had to create a line or two of conversation to make it complete. This is, naturally, unacceptable to purists.

I'm on the fence with this one. On one hand, yes, some of the minor details are potentially inaccurate. On the other hand, is that any less true for traditional nonfiction? If only I knew how many times I've read science nonfiction in which the facts are mixed with theory or the authors own hypotheses, or history books in which the author says something "probably" happened or that "most people believe" one thing or another.

Don't get me wrong, I don't really like the narrative nonfiction format and I would have preferred just the facts, please. I do think the format hurts the book, but I don't think it breaks it entirely. At worse, you can consider this one of the most accurate and well-researched pieces of historical fiction you will probably ever read. With that kind of outlook, Kingdom Under Glass is brilliant. As a work of nonfiction, however, I'm considering it nothing better than average. ( )
  Ape | Sep 26, 2015 |
This biography of Carl Akeley, a taxidermist who was primarily responsible for the African Hall at the American Museum of Natural History, tells a tale of his obsession with displaying the fauna of Africa behind glass before it becomes extinct. This, of course, necessitates the killing of the animals he claims to glorify. He leads several expeditions to Africa, where he kills many more animals than he needs, searching for the perfect specimens for his dioramas. He ruins his health in the process and has two marriages to fascinating women. The style of this book is very novelistic. The author acknowledges that this method of telling his story leads to doubt about the accuracy of his work. He includes extensive notes on the provenance of each chapter to allay those doubts. This is a compelling tale of a particular man, but also of the time when rich men and a few women went to Africa and wantonly devastated the animals there. (After his presidency, Teddy Roosevelt went on a safari to Africa where he killed more than 11,000 animals.) At least Akeley had a goal beyond the simple joy of killing. I must admit that I never stopped to think about the animals that were killed to provide the museum displays that I have always enjoyed. ( )
  gbelik | Mar 27, 2014 |
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A sweeping historical narrative of the life of Carl Akeley, the famed explorer and taxidermist who changed the way Americans viewed the conservation of the natural world During the golden age of safaris in the early twentieth century, one man set out to preserve Africa's great beasts. In this epic account of an extraordinary life lived during remarkable times, Jay Kirk follows the adventures of the brooding genius who revolutionized taxidermy and created the famed African Hall we visit today at New York's Museum of Natural History. The Gilded Age was drawing to a close, and with it came the realization that men may have hunted certain species into oblivion. Renowned taxidermist Carl Akeley joined the hunters rushing to Africa, where he risked death time and again as he stalked animals for his dioramas and hobnobbed with outsized personalities of the era such as Theodore Roosevelt and P. T. Barnum. In a tale of art, science, courage, and romance, Jay Kirk resurrects a legend and illuminates a fateful turning point when Americans had to decide whether to save nature, to destroy it, or to just stare at it under glass.

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