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since 28/03/2003


Lonesome George - Henry Nicholls 20/09/2014

Not Just About George

Lonesome George - Henry Nicholls Sometimes we find books on our shelves that we've been meaning to read for a long time, and by the time we get around to reading them they may have lost their original purpose. It would be easy to assign this category to Henry Nicholls' tale of (probably) the last Pinta giant tortoise – an old male whom the media christened Lonesome George. If the book had been what its cover purports it to be the life and loves of the world's most famous tortoise there might well be cause to pass it over. If you're remotely interested in the Galapagos and its tortoises, you probably already know that Lonesome George passed away a couple of years ago. The post-mortem confirms that, basically, he died of old age – this despite the fact that by local tortoise standards, he wasn't that old. Maybe he just finally got the feeling that there wasn't much to continue living for. Who knows what goes through the head of a tortoise – even such a well-studied one as this. The point I was wanting to make though, is that the death of George doesn't detract from the value of the book. Obviously, six years after its publication and with the death of its alleged star, some of the possibilities explored in the later chapters are now absolutely non-viable. On the other hand, if, like me, reading it sends you off to find out what happened next, you'll discover that there is still hope – some of it surprising. I'll leave that part of the journey to you. So back to the book… For those who do not know: ...

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