A Life on Our Planet: My Witness Statement and a Vision for the Future

Grand Central. Oct. 2020. 272p. ISBN 9781538719985. $26. NAT HIST
In this companion to the 2020 documentary of the same name, filmmaker, natural historian and best-selling author Attenborough recounts a life spent exploring and documenting wild places. Describing his first job at the BBC and his desire to show animals outside of studios and zoos, Attenborough explains how he first ended up in front of the camera. The first sections of the book detail many of the scientists, artists, crew, and individual animals that Attenborough worked with during decades of award-winning nature TV series. Later chapters look ahead to the economic, political, and environmental devastation possible within the next several decades if drastic changes aren’t made by individuals, groups, companies, and governments. Attenborough proceeds to map out sustainable actions and concludes by considering optimistically the innovative possibilities of life in the Anthropocene.
VERDICT Attenborough’s iconic sense of narration is present throughout this career biography and testimonial. Longtime devotees as well as newcomers will find much to learn about the man and his mission.

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