I was sent a copy of The Snake Charmer to review here on foXnoMad by the publisher. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and would like to give you a chance to as well. I’ll send the book to the first person to leave an insightful comment on this post.
Herpetologist (snake scientist) Joe Slowinski’s biography brings you on the search for dangerous reptiles, from his childhood in the Midwest to a tragic end in the uncharted jungles of Southeast Asia. The book, The Snake Charmer, written by biographer Jamie James, blends the interest for snakes with the life of a dedicated and sometimes reckless, but brilliant Joe.
No snake kills with more ruthless efficiency that the many-banded krait…
This is the first sentence to a wonderful book that will indulge your passion for wildlife, adventure travel, and connect you to a man who gave up his life in pursuit of knowledge. Every chapter of the book begins with a few lines to peak your interest about a particular snake and where each species crossed paths with Slowinski’s life – ending with the krait, the one to which Slowinski lost his life, at age 38, in the uncharted jungles of north Burma.
James is adept at impressing upon us, snake by snake, Slowinski’s seemingly bizarre fascination with them. Subtly as the book goes on it connects you with Slowinski. You begin to develop a camaraderie with a man who is at times careless with an uneasy enthusiasm for animals most people do their best to avoid. Slowinski drinks beer before going out in the middle of the night to handle highly poisonous creatures – that’s my kind of guy. He’s so pure you can’t help but gladly take his final adventure with him to Burma.
The Snake Charmer is a great travel book, all else aside. The trek (here’s a map) through the mostly uncharted dense jungles of nothern Burma, with leaches chasing Slowinski’s team from the trees, is seductive to the traveler at heart. All the time knowing this is Slowinski’s last adventure, you feel the compelling desire to pack your bags and take off, saddened by the fact that there’s one less guy in the world just like that.
I love the people who are willing to take risks. Even though what Slowinski was doing was dangerous and ended up killing him, he was just living his life the way he wanted to, doing what made him happy. I won’t go searching for venomous species of snakes, but I can definitely relate to the character in that I always try to stray from the regular path, especially when traveling. It’s important to experience new things!
I agree Deniz – it’s passionate people who ultimately push the world forward. I’ll send you the book tomorrow, I’m sure that you will enjoy it.
Thanks for the comment!
And very well written review, by the way 🙂
Thanks for writing first and getting the book, Deniz! Anil, please don’t even think of sending me a copy, you know I am not interested in this species. I agree however that it is good to experience new things but keep in mind that the risk is there-you should be cautious otherwise you could die young like him!!
The circumstances behind Joe Slowinski’s death are somewhat controversial, as were his methods. He was much more likely to die from malaria or infection while traveling through the remote forests of north Burma.
As with anything, caution is advised cautiously 😉