Who doesn’t know David Attenborough? Everyone has watched at least one of his documentaries, listened to his elegant narrating voice, enjoyed his poetic, delicate, sometimes ironic comments on the world wildlife and plants. Richard Dawkins, in one of his books, referred to him as “arguably the most respected person in the UK”.
For my Italian readers who are fans of the late Piero Angela (arguably one of the most respected individuals in Italy), I think it’s pretty obvious that David Attenborough’s BBC documentaries have always been the model on which Angela based his work. By the way, David was born before Piero, and fortunately he is still alive!
Although I watched a lot of Attenborough’s documentaries, I had never read one of his books. In Living Planet, he gives us an overview of the various types of environment of our planet, and for each one of them he explains how it mutated over the course of thousands of years and how plants and animals have adapted to those changes, how old species have disappeared and how new ones have managed to arrive from elsewhere and fit in.
It is a wonderful adventure through plate tectonics, astronomy and climate change, where seeds, flowers and leaves on one hand and insects, fish, reptiles and mammals on the other, exploit and/or help each other to survive and proliferate, given the opportunities and the dangers that characterise the particular environment in which they happen to be born, live and die.
If you’ve enjoyed his documentaries (and I’m sure you did), you’ll love his books.
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