The Way of the Panda: The Curious History of China's Political Animal

The Way of the Panda The Curious History of China s Political Animal Learn how the extraordinary impact of the panda from obscurity to fame is also the story of China s transition from shy beginnings to center stage Giant pandas have been causing a stir ever since thei

  • Title: The Way of the Panda: The Curious History of China's Political Animal
  • Author: Henry Nicholls
  • ISBN: 9781605981888
  • Page: 397
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Learn how the extraordinary impact of the panda from obscurity to fame is also the story of China s transition from shy beginnings to center stage Giant pandas have been causing a stir ever since their formal scientific discovery just over 140 years ago For almost a century they defied classification they outwitted hunters and escaped trappers, left the public elboLearn how the extraordinary impact of the panda from obscurity to fame is also the story of China s transition from shy beginnings to center stage.Giant pandas have been causing a stir ever since their formal scientific discovery just over 140 years ago For almost a century they defied classification they outwitted hunters and escaped trappers, left the public elbowing and zoo turnstiles spinning, were sent on diplomatic journeys, branded onto products and turned into company logos Thanks to the World Wide Fund for Nature this species became the face of global conservation Yet in spite of humankind s evident obsession with the giant panda, it is only in the last few decades that scientific research has begun to show us what this mysterious, frequently misunderstood creature is really like Henry Nicholls uses the rich and curious history of the giant panda to do several things to ponder our changing attitudes towards the natural world to offer a compelling history of the conservation movement and to chart the rise of modern China on its journey to become the self sufficient, twenty first century superpower it is today 16 pages of full color photographs

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    About "Henry Nicholls"

    1. Henry Nicholls

      Henry is a journalist, author and broadcaster, specialising in evolutionary biology, conservation and history of science His first book Lonesome George The Life and Loves of a Conservation Icon was about the Galapagos Archipelago and global conservation.He is also the author of The Way of the Panda The Curious History of China s Political Animal, which charts the intertwined fortunes of giant pandas and China over the last 140 years His third book, released in early 2014, is The Galapagos A Natural History.

    608 thoughts on “The Way of the Panda: The Curious History of China's Political Animal”

    1. As you might be able to guess from my profile picture, I have a bit of a thing about pandas. They are fascinating creatures but also, crucially, absolutely adorable. I’ve been to see the pandas currently residing at Edinburgh Zoo and, although I only saw one, it was an utterly magical experience. Thus I found this book something of a vindication - plenty of other people, including Teddy Roosevelt’s hunting-obsessed sons, have fallen under the spell of pandas ineffable cuteness. Rather than f [...]


    2. The life of a panda and its journey into the Chinese society is what makes the panda "the panda". This is a great book for understanding more about the Chinese culture and the panda that formed it. In this book the writer conveys their thoughts and research on how they believe that the panda helped form the Chinese society. This book gives great information on the current Chinese culture and how the panda is thriving in its famous body it gave itself. After reading the book I learned a lot about [...]


    3. Other than tigers, I would say that pandas are my favorite animals. The choice of tigers is an obvious one; born in the Chinese year of the tiger, I am always awed at the grandness, strength, and noble-like features of these giant felines. And pandas, oh well, who doesn’t like them?While on a trip to Chengdu in 2007, I had the chance to visit the Panda Research Base. It was here that I first encountered these beautiful bears. I can’t even describe the feeling of joy when watching one, two, t [...]



    4. Nicholls traces the history of the panda, from the first reported sightings in the late 1800's to today and ties the pandas fate to that of China's history. It's interesting to me how much we still don't know about pandas due to their elusive nature. I also found the sections on possible reintroduction of pandas into the wild to be interesting. The author references previous or upcoming chapters a bit too much and I'm not sure he entirely made the case that China's history directly connects to t [...]


    5. Very interesting. Kind of crazy however, when you think about all the effort and money going into saving the species. That's why there are these campaigns with sharks on them saying stuff like 'You're not going to save me because I'm not a panda?". Am impressed by the systematic work scientists do, and also the political significance of all these pandas.So what is Singapore doing with Kai Kai and Jia Jia? My first sighting of pandas was in Japan, in the Ueno Zoo. Unfortunately all I got was a sl [...]


    6. This book was right up my alley. I actually got a master's degree in environmental studies with my focus on the human aspects of endangered species conservation. This was a great read that brought back my enthusiasm for the subject. Living in the Washington, DC area, we are often inundated with panda news, especially last summer when cubs are born. I really enjoyed learning about the history of panda conservation and science. I think Nicholls did a great job presenting the history without being [...]


    7. I have a good friend who hates pandas. He thinks they are slow and stupid and not worth saving. He and I have had several conversations about this, and as he is the only one of my circle who has an opinion on pandas, it was nice to come across this book so I could see the other viewpoint. The story of the panda is absolutely fascinating. Nicholls's history starts out with their "discovery" by the Western world and moves chronologically to the present day. It was really interesting to not see how [...]


    8. Nicholls' book traces the "discovery" of the giant panda in China in the nineteenth century by Europeans and the attempts to bring one to the west, first a carcass, then a live specimen, and then the attempts to breed them in zoos in Europe and the United States. The startling fact is that the panda was basically unknown, even in China, until the 1860s due to its reclusive nature and mountainous habitat. Although the public is aware of the panda's look, it remains ignorant of its habits and quir [...]


    9. Nicholls traces the relationship of the west to pandas--from their "discovery" by a Jesuit priest/naturalist in 1869 and the resulting rush by western institutions to acquire one for themselves as symbols of Chinese passivity and peculiarness to the Chinese seizure of the initiative in declaring pandas a national treasure and turning them into key soft power tokens. When not recounting the political dancing, Nicholls also reveals the disastrously bad information zoologists were acting on in acqu [...]


    10. A succinct, serviceable account of the giant panda's rise to prominence in the global public eye and the animal conservation movement. I had hoped the book would explore the rise of the panda along with China's similar rise to the world stage and how China leveraged the panda to grow its political power. Unfortunately, that second story stays mostly hidden in the bamboo shoots.


    11. There were slow parts that almost caused me to put the book down but luckily I stayed with it. It got more interesting as it moved away from the history of pandas as political olive branches and talked about breeding problems in captivity.


    12. I need to read more of Henry Nicholls. His story of the discovery, conservation and research studies of the panda was fascinating and humorous. This book dispelled myths about pandas that I had believed. They are truly unique creatures.


    13. Interesting nonfiction book about the giant panda, how they found it, why it's in US zoos and what they are doing to make sure it's not endangered.


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