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The New Foundations of Evolution: On the Tree of Life
Jan Sapp
Out Of Africa - Isak Dinesen, Karen Blixen This was a total disappointment. I had heard about the movie, but somehow never got around to watching it. A couple of months ago I found the book, and I make it rule to try to read the book first, as well as judge the book and movie separately. I've still got to watch the movie, but only because I like Meryl Streep.
Right from the start, I hated the colonialist attitude pouring out of the pages. But I was willing to let that slip, since most of the events mentioned and described happened almost a hundred years ago, and I was willing to let the Danish baroness in Kenya have her patronizing way. The too often seen "love-my dogs-more-than-the-natives" attitude. I read reviews of people being touched by the sadness described on having to move back to Europe and leaving everything behind. But in my opinion, leaving Africa was hard on her more because of the loss of her land (and her independency along with it), than because of a loss of home. In general, the relationship of the author to Africa (the continent, the climate, the culture, the people?) seems more like one of an owner, and not of an inhabitant. It seems to me to be a question of possesion, not of belonging.
To sum up, I do not recommend this book. It's packed with sexism, rasism, annoying and insulting generalizations, constant divisions on us and them... Also, the author seems to be asking the reader for compassion, but doesn't disclose any of the really important details of her life - the social position, the illness, the relationship with her male friends, etc. - I found them in the Notes including a short biography. As to the descriptions of Africa, I read more inspiring ones in tedious archeology and anthropology books.