I just recently got a book published by the Henry Holt Company call “Kingdom Under Glass.” I was going to wait till I was finished before giving any sort of critique, but I’ve found it very interesting indeed. I am only on chapter 7, but am purposefully taking my time, and allowing the books contents to seep down into my memory.
You would be hard pressed to guess what Jay Kirk has written about in his “Kingdom Under Glass,” but the subtitle wet my appetite enough to explore the pages. It says “A tale of obsession, adventure, and one man’s quest to preserve the worlds greatest animals!” The story is about Carl Akeley who revolutionized modern taxidermy, and created the famed “Akeley Hall of African Mammals” at the New York Museum of Natural History. Akeley is unique in regards to collecting (shooting) his own specimens to preserve. Akeley and his wife traveled the globe in pursuit of everything from small birds to African elephants. He once strangled a leopard with his bare hands, and was left for dead by an enraged bull elephant, while hunting in Kenya with Teddy Roosevelt!
The facts, research, and history of this book are enough to make any hunter/outdoors person want to be informed about the evolution of their sport, the art of taxidermy, and the ultimate question, “Do we save nature, destroy it, or just stare at it under glass?” It’s a great book to take to camp, read in your blind, or just relax in front of the fireplace with it. I will be writing more as I progress along the 376 pages of this intriguing book.
You can order one online (like I did) from Jason Liebman at “Jason.Liebman@hholt.com” or call him at 646-307-5385 and he’ll get you one shipped out. There are many historical facts about the “Golden Age of Safaris” tucked into the life of Carl Akeley. Jay Kirk did a wonderful job of re-introducing the readers to a man that played such an important roll in every major Natural History Museum in the world.