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Camping with the Prince and other tales of science in Africa

by Thomas A Bass

  Print book : Biography

Camping with the Prince and other tales of science in Africa   (2013-01-12)

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by wppalmer

Review of Camping with the Prince and other tales of science in Africa by Thomas A. Bass.

Citation: Bass, T. A. (1990). Camping with the Prince and other tales of science in Africa. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Reviewer: Dr W P. Palmer

It is some years since I read this book, but I thought it worthwhile to look at it again to renew my interest in science in Africa. Since it was published more than twenty years ago, much has changed in science in the African continent. The book does have the advantage of being wide-ranging, both scientifically and geographically. Scientifically Bass write on areas as diverse as paleoanthropology, evolutionary biology, economics, ecology, medicine, insect physiology and tropical agriculture. Geographically his examples include East, West and Central Africa.

There are seven instances of good science being carried out by African scientists which Bass describes. He notes that a number of large scale Western financed projects have failed "Africa littered with the bleached bones of white elephants". Instead he states "I offer test cases- ideas in action- that are meant to convey the incredible richness Africa offers the enquiring mind."

Bass offers an optimistic picture of African science from his experiences in the 1980s. We now need other books offering a similar positive message.

BILL PALMER




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