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REVIEW: Savannah Lives.


In this book Staffan Ulfstrand attempts to describe and analyse how the changing shape of the African savannah has had an effect on the entire evolution of the human species.

Ulfstrand begins by describing the savannah and the particular features that make it one of the most unique environments on Earth. The reader is told about the different types of savannah and how each of them came into being together with the changes that are being forced upon them that are causing them to continue their adaptation. In this section I certainly learnt a lot about the habitat and was more than impressed with the amount of detail that Ulfstrand went into - it is clear that for much of the author's life he has been exploring and observing the various aspects of the African savannah.

The next part of the book is dedicated to the wildlife that can be found on the savannah - from buffalo to giraffes and lions to wildebeest. Ulfstrand also details the effect that each of the species are having on both the landscape and on the evolution of the animals around it. The interplay between the varying species that Ulfstrand describes is quite fascinating and at times pretty convoluted - I am just glad that the writing style that the whole book is presented in is easy to follow and the author does not descend into using complicated biological terms when layman's English will suffice.

Finally, the last third or so of the book is dedicated to us humans. We are taken through our evolution from when we came down from the trees and began walking upright all the way through to establishing camps and forging tools. All the way through our evolutionary journey Ulfstrand is telling us of the outside effects that have shaped our form and attitudes - no matter if this was caused by other species, weather or the environment. This was my favourite section as it did deal with the evolutionary history and stimulus for the human race, although I have to admit the preceding parts were well worth reading through to get here.

CONCLUSION: 'Savannah Lives' is extremely informative yet most of the way through the reader can really feel the passion that the author feels for the African savannah, its history, wildlife and the effect it had on the most dominant species on Earth.

Title: Savannah LivesAuthor: Staffan UlfstrandPublished by: Oxford University PressISBN: 0-19-850925-1Price: GBP18.99Reviewer: Ian Sanderson
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Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:M2 Best Books
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jun 18, 2003
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