The Last Unicorn: A Search for One of Earth's Rarest Creatures

Category: Book
By (author): DeBuys, William
Subject:  NATURE / Animals / Wildlife
  NATURE / Endangered Species
  NATURE / Environmental Conservation & Protection
  NATURE / Essays
Audience: general/trade
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Published: October 2015
Format: Book-paperback
Pages: 384
Size: 8.25in x 5.50in x 1.00in
Our Price:
$ 27.25
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Additional Notes

From The Publisher*An award-winning author's quest to find and understand a creature as rare and enigmatic as any on Earth

In 1992, in a remote mountain range, a team of scientists discovered the remains of an unusual animal with exquisite long horns. It turned out to be a living species new to Western science--a saola, the first large land mammal discovered in fifty years.

Rare then and rarer now, a live saola had never been glimpsed by a Westerner in the wild when Pulitzer Prize finalist and nature writer William deBuys and conservation biologist William Robichaud set off to search for it in central Laos. Their team endured a punishing trek up and down white-water rivers and through mountainous terrain ribboned with the snare lines of armed poachers who roamed the forest, stripping it of wildlife.

In the tradition of Bruce Chatwin, Colin Thubron, and Peter Matthiessen, The Last Unicorn chronicles deBuys's journey deep into one of the world's most remote places. It's a story rich with the joys and sorrows of an expedition into undiscovered country, pursuing a species as rare and elusive as the fabled unicorn. As is true with the quest for the unicorn, in the end the expedition becomes a search for something more: the essence of wildness in nature, evidence that the soul of a place can endure, and the transformative power of natural beauty.
Review Quote*One of Men's Journal's Best Books of 2015

"The Last Unicorn is a book you simply must read. For one thing Bill deBuys has a real gift for storytelling. And this story, the quest for an animal that was driven to the point of extinction almost as soon as it was "discovered", is a true adventure. Bill's powerful prose leads us deep into the wilderness in an almost unknown part of the world. And it sends out a clarion call bidding us to redouble our efforts to save the last wild places and vanishing animals before it is utterly too late."-Jane Goodall, Ph.D., DBE, Founder, the Jane Goodall Institute & UN Messenger of Peace
Review Quote*"Lyrical... An adventure tale and a meditation, an evocative read that makes clear why wild places matter and how difficult it will be to save them."-Emily Anthes, New York Times
Review Quote*"Simultaneously an adventure story, a melancholy parable of the challenges of conservation in an increasingly crowded world, and an engaging introduction to the biota of a unique ecosystem... However intractable the human tendency to pillage our environments, deBuys and Robichaud show the strength of an opposite impulse -- to approach nature with wonder, knowledge, and a deep appreciation of beauty. DeBuys paints the disappearing landscapes of his journey with beautiful and evocative prose."-Nick Romeo, Christian Science Monitor
Review Quote*"Not only a gorgeous adventure in one of the most remote forests on earth, but also a strategy for hope in an age of mass species extinction.... May this beautifully written book inspire a renewed commitment to the work."-Dean Kuipers, Orion Magazine
Review Quote*"The author deftly chronicles both the physical and emotional challenges that come with group travel through an isolated region.... The author's immersive narrative and numerous photos of the unremitting poaching inflicted upon the region's wildlife cause both reader engagement and heartache. A riveting and disturbing account of the clash between the beauty of the wilderness and civilization's unrelenting demands on the natural world."-Kirkus (starred review)
Review Quote*"The Last Unicorn celebrates the marvels of the great forest and its wildlife, and William deBuys enlivens its pages with perceptive accounts of local people and cultures. Inspired and entranced by visions of the saola, DeBuys examines what little is known of its enigmatic life as he searches the landscape for glimpses of what we must hope is an enduring future for the natural treasures surviving in these remote mountains."-George Schaller, author of Tibet Wild; VP, Panthera; and senior conservationist, Wildlife Conservation Society
Review Quote*"This is a great excuse for an adventure--and having taken the excuse, Bill deBuys delivers. What a wonderful account of a 19th century drama in the 21st century, a story the likes of which we may never read again."-Bill McKibben, author of Wandering Home
Review Quote*"Conservation journalist deBuys deftly takes the role of a quiet observer while conveying a sense of immersion and intimacy.... With a wilderness-loving voice that is lyrical but never saccharine, deBuys elicits a sense of mystery and beauty befitting the creature itself."-Publishers Weekly
Review Quote*"The author dives deeper than any ecological treatise, showing readers the beauty of gibbon chatter and "blown-glass waterfalls" and the sheer emotional toil of losing these things. In the tradition of John McPhee and Wallace Stegner, deBuys offers a profoundly personal, richly atmospheric account of a place that the world would be poorer for losing."-Talea Anderson, Library Journal