cover image Eyelids of Morning

Eyelids of Morning

Chronicle Books, Alistair Graham, A. D. Graham. Chronicle Books, $24.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-87701-539-0

Originally published in 1973 and long out of print, this is Graham's account of his expedition to Lake Rudolf in Kenya to study the remaining Nile crocodile population there. The author, a conservation consultant, has a peculiarly ambiguous attitude: although he opposes the traditional view of crocodiles as contemptible, he rails against the sentimentality of conservationists who ``cherish a fantasy of communion with a mysterious nature.'' But Graham offers an impressive narrative of the arduous task of hunting down crocs for ecological analysis, of their feeding habits, and of the effects of overcrowding. He imparts a wealth of information about the mythology of crocodiles (such as a g tale of the Egyptian city of Crocodilopolis), their evolution, habitat and diet. We also learn much about the Turkana, natives who inhabit the west side of Lake Rudolf. Many of Beard's more than 200 photographs depict an entrancing beauty, but others unnecessarily unsettle the reader with images of piles of crocodiles that have been skinned, dissected for scientific observation and cast aside. (Aug.)