African Naturalist
The Life & Times of Rodney Carrington Wood, 1889-1962

By David Happold
October 2011
Book Guild
ISBN: 9781846245558
Distributed by Trans-Atlantic Publications
264 pages, Illustrated
$37.50 Hardcover

Rodney Wood was a remarkable man a great naturalist who spent 50 years mainly in Nyasaland (now Malawi) studying and collecting mammals, birds, fish, insects, shells and plants. After a good education, he turned his back on the formalities of life in England and became a cotton farmer in Africa. He never settled always looking for new challenges and experiences. At various times, he owned a tea estate, was the first Game Warden of Nyasaland, a school teacher, and finally a beach-comber in the Seychelles. He was also a tracker and hunter who preferred to hunt with a bow and arrow rather than with a gun. Throughout his career, collecting in the most meticulous and scientific fashion was his all-absorbing passion. His valuable collections are now in prestigious museums and several species have been named after him, and yet his name is almost unknown except to the most ardent lovers of African natural history. Wood was a determined conservationist and was responsible for many conservation initiatives in Nyasaland, including establishing the first National Parks in the country. Wood had the ability to get on with people from all walks of life; from local fishermen, game scouts and farmers to colonial governors and knights of the realm. This delightful and absorbing account of Wood's life by a fellow African naturalist is based on Wood's diaries, notebooks and collections, and on the accounts of many people who knew him personally.

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