The Last Great Ape: A Journey Through Africa and a Battle for the Heart of a Continent

Ofir Drori and David McDannald. Pegasus, $27.95 (320p) ISBN 978-1-60598-327-1
“Nearly from the time I could talk, I’d planned to travel to Africa, a place as different as I wanted to think I was,” writes Drori in his call-to-action memoir. The book opens where it will eventually end, with an arrest of African poachers made possible by Drori’s NGO, the Last Great Ape Organization (LAGA). Most of the book, however, relates Drori’s love affair with Africa, starting with a trip to Kenya in 1994. A former Israeli army officer, Drori lives at the edge of death. Fearless, his search for adventure in Africa verges on recklessness: he travels solo without enough food or water, arrives in dangerous cities on the verge of revolution, and barely escapes a bus accident in Nigeria. Initially drawn to his charisma, some friends and lovers ultimately reject him for his intensity. But he is a man in search of a cause and he finds it in Future, a chimp he saves from being sold as bushmeat. Skillful storytelling saves the book from being a marketing piece for LAGA and its founder, though readers who share Drori’s affection for Africa or his passionate animal activism will not be disappointed. Agent: Melissa Chinchillo, Fletcher & Co. (June)
Reviewed on: 03/05/2012
Release date: 04/01/2012
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