Between Man and Beast: An Unlikely Explorer, the Evolution Debates, and the African Adventure that Took the Victorian World by Storm

Between Man and Beast: An Unlikely Explorer, the Evolution Debates, and the African Adventure That Took the Victorian World by Storm - Monte Reel "Between Man and Beast" is the story of Paul du Chaillu, a rather unlikely explorer who is the first person to see and document the lowland gorillas of Africa.Monte Reel's exceptionally well-researched book (there are more than 70 pages of endnotes and bibliographic references) introduces us to Paul as a teenager living in Africa; his earlier years are a matter of conjecture, as he changes his story so often when he tells people where he is from. In any event, he lives with a missionary family and develops a love for Africa that never goes away.Du Chaillu lives and works in England for a time, and decides he wants to return to Africa to bring back specimens for the Royal Geographic Society and the Natural History Museum, both of which agree to sponsor him. He sends many specimens to them, but never receives payment. This goes on for quite a while, until Du Chaillu quits England in frustration, along with his most important specimens.He travels for a while in America, exhibiting his mounted specimens (including two gorillas), and then returns to England ... where he is denounced as a huckster by the more established scientific community that had initially embraced him. Their reason? His documentation did not agree with already known information. So he offers to go back to Africa yet again ... after intensive studies in cartography, astronomy and even the relatively new science of photography.Du Chaillu was not only embraced upon his return as a true explorer, but his non-fiction books inspired many writers ... including Edgar Rice Burroughs, who wrote the "Tarzan" novels. He also authored several adventure books for children.This biography was a very entertaining read, and is highly recommended for those who want to know more about the world's fascination with explorers during the 19th C.(Review based on uncorrected advance proof.)