Moscow: Gos. izd-vo, 1930. Item #1549
(Moskva: 1-ya Obraztsovaya tip.). 224 pp.: ill., portrait. 13.4x19.3 cm. In original illustrated publisher’s wrappers. Rubbed spine, frontispiece is slightly loose. Otherwise near fine. With numerous photographs and illustrations throughout.
Scarce. Second corrected edition. First edition published in 1929. Translated from the original English version (1923) by the noted Soviet writer and critic Yevgeniy Lundberg (1883-1965). Remarkable wrapper design by Ivan Rerberg (1892-1957), a Soviet artist and book designer. This is the Russian translation of Carl Akeley’s famous autobiographical work ‘V serdtse afriki’ [i.e. In Brightest Africa].
In the book, the author, a well-known American biologist, sculptor, and inventor, Carl Akeley (1864-1926), describes his life story, from learning taxidermy to killing leopard with his bare hands. Concentrating on the African expeditions,the edition offers a first-hand account of Akeley’s travels in the dark continent.
The explorer first traveled to Africa as an employee of the Field Museum of Columbia in 1896. The next three trips took place in 1905, 1909 (under the leadership of Theodore Roosevelt), and 1921 respectively. During the expeditions, Akeley “collected” different animals to develop innovative taxidermy techniques and produce habitat dioramas for different museums. One of his most notable works, the Fighting African Elephants (Field Museum), was created as a result of the 1905 African journey in which Carl and his wife Delia killed two elephants. Another extremely important expedition was a trip to Mt. Mikeno, the purpose of which was to “collect” mountain gorillas. In the process, Akeley’s attitude was fundamentally changed and for the remainder of his life Carl worked for the establishment of a gorilla preserve in the Virungas Mountains.
In this travel narrative, Akeley describes his experiences hunting buffalo and rhinoceros near the Tana River, lions in the Mau Valley, elephants in Uganda, gorillas in the Virunga Mountains, as well as kudu and other antelope species. Importantly, the author recounts his encounter with a leopard that he was forced to kill by shoving his hands in the animal’s mouth and a blood-curdling incident in which he was almost killed by an enraged bull. A separate chapter is dedicated to Bill, a Kikuyu who joined Carl Akeley in British East Africa in 1905 at 13 years of age and soon became his faithful companion. The book includes numerous rare black-and-white photographs and drawings illustrating Akeley’s journey, as well as an introductory article with biographical notes about the author. There is also the Annotation part written by one of the greatest Soviet zoologists of all time Nikolai Plavil’shchikov (1892-1962).
Akeley died of dysentery during his fifth expedition to Africa in 1926. The conservationist went down in history as the father of modern taxidermy and inventor of shotcrete and “pancake” camera, which was widely used during World War I. The Akeley Hall of African Mammals of the American Museum of Natural History is named after him.
No copies found in Worldcat.
Price: $350.00Status: On Hold