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Dan Eatherley

Arcade Publishing

c/o Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.

307 West 36th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10018

9781628725117, $24.99, HC, 320pp,

Synopsis: Raymond Ditmars (1876-1942), was the first curator of reptiles at New York's famous Bronx Zoo. He brought cold-blooded animals to public attention as never before. Through wildly successful books and movies, Ditmars inspired a generation of zoologists with his fascination for snakes, insects, and other misunderstood creatures.

Ditmars' reptile-collecting trips for the zoo spawned newspaper headlines across the world. Although a serpent lover, he was all too aware of the devastating effects of snakebites and was instrumental in the development of antivenom. His films and writings brought him fame, but he remained a devoted zoo employee, doing what he loved most: caring for animals.

"Bushmaster: Raymond Ditmars and the Hunt for the World's Largest Viper" by British writer, filmmaker, and environmental consultant Dan Eatherley tells the story of this remarkable man and what became an obsession with the mysterious bushmaster of the South American rainforest. Measuring up to thirteen feet in length, this is the world's largest viper, and its scientific name, Lachesis muta, translates as "silent fate." Despite numerous expeditions to jungles from Honduras to Brazil, Ditmars could never capture a bushmaster for himself.

"Bushmaster" is also the story of Dan Eatherley attempts to follow in Ditmars's footsteps, revisiting his early haunts in the United States and South America. Eatherley sought to do what Ditmars himself failed to achieve: to find a bushmaster in the wild. But eighty years later, will Dan have any more luck? Through the author's own quest, Bushmaster reveals the life of a pioneer herpetologist, wildlife filmmaker, and zoo curator.

Critique: A non-fictional biography and nature study that reads as smoothly and engagingly as a deftly crafted novel, "Bushmaster: Raymond Ditmars and the Hunt for the World's Largest Viper" is an informative and compelling read from cover to cover. While very highly recommended and certain to be an enduringly popular addition to both community and academic library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Bushmaster" is also available in a paperback edition (9781628727661, $16.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.29).

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Title Annotation:Bushmaster: Raymond Ditmars and the Hunt for the World's Largest Viper
Author:Dunford, Michael
Publication:MBR Bookwatch
Article Type:Book review
Date:Aug 1, 2017
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