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BOOK REVIEW: NEXTINCTION by Ralph Steadman & Ceri Levy

| 7 October 2015 | Reply

BOOK REVIEW: NEXTINCTION by Ralph Steadman & Ceri Levy
Bloomsbury Australia — rrp$69.99
August 2015
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

Nextinction by Steadman & Levy cover

Steadman and Levy released the wonderfully detailed yet ultimately shockingly sad book EXTINCT BOIDS a couple of years ago, ramming home the point that since the year 1500, 140 birdlife species (that we know of) have become extinct while man grows more and more corpulent and obese living off the fat of the land.

In Nextinction this terribly talented twosome revisit their theme with the 192 birds on the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) Red List – birds which are Critically Endangered and likely to become extinct in the next 10 – 20 years. “The next in line for extinction… are waiting for…” writes Steadman, “nextinction.”

These are birds at threat from agriculture, logging, climate change, hunting and other species, along with some lesser threats. Steadman also chimes in with a few wacky creations of his own, such as the Unsociable Lapwing and the Black Flutterwot, ensuring some levity prevails as well as the book’s use as a reminder that it’s not too late to save these creatures. It’s also a lavish and wonderful resource to enlighten us to many lesser-known species.

Steadman’s illustrations are as gorgeously rendered as they are confronting – as expected from the man who assisted Hunter S Thompson invent gonzo journalism with Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas.

A red-headed vulture, splattered with blood-red ink spots, stands atop a decimated carcass stating, “just cleaning up the mess!! Nothin’ Personal!!”

A rainbow lorikeet, awash with a rainbow of watercolours, perches atop a slender branch.

A woodlark (not endangered but under observation by the IUCN) and a black-hooded coucal sit astride a bar of musical notes, willing to give the skylark a run for its money in the tunes department.

Such is the imagination of Steadman that his skill with paints and brushes, Levy’s witty & informative text, and the subject matter will make any reader in awe of the end result. A magnificent achievement, we can only hope a book such as this will have some impact in alerting people to how many creatures will vanish off the planet if something dramatic is not done to alter mankind’s all-devouring course.

Category: Book Reviews

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