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In 1936, Quentin Young, a 22-year-old Chinese American, led American socialite Ruth Harkness on a 1,500-mile expedition into the remote mountains of Sichuan. Braving warlords and primitive tribes, the duo captured a giant panda and brought it back alive, the first time a live panda had been seen by the Western world. Hunters and scientists assumed the pair had stolen the animal. When it became clear the find was genuine, Ruth Harkness became a celebrity. But Quentin Young, together with his brother and fellow guide, Jack, was swept into the chaos of World War II and became a spy. A few years ago, Michael Kiefer discovered Quentin, now elderly and living in the United States. The resulting book sets the record straight.
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Michael Kiefer covers courts, crime and politics for The Arizona Republic. A former associate editor at Outside magazine, he has reported extensively from Europe, North and South America, and his profiles and travel accounts have appeared in a wide range of newspapers and magazines, from USA Today to The New York Times and from Self magazine to Esquire and Playboy. He is the author of the novels Speaking English, The Lion Hunter and Another Monk’s Tale.From Publishers Weekly:
Wealthy American widow Ruth Harkness became famous in 1936 for bringing the first live giant panda to the United States, but little has been known about the two Chinese-American hunters who led Harkness on her trek through the Sichuan mountains in search of the panda. Kiefer, a freelance writer and former Outside magazine editor, tells the story of Quentin and Jack Young, dashing naturalists and adventurers. Kiefer first met Quentin in the late 1980s and spoke with both brothers (by then estranged), though he spent more time with Quentin. At the time of the expedition, the Young brothers and Harkness knew little about pandas (Quentin actually admits that he hated them), and Kiefer doesn't whitewash the cruelty of their mission. In the 1930s, only a handful of Westerners had seen these animals, and swashbucklers such as Theodore Roosevelt's sons, Ted Jr. and Kermit, had made a sport of hunting them. Once Chicago's Brookfield Zoo bought Harkness's panda, other zoos began to covet their own specimens, setting off a legacy of panda hunting that led to the animals' becoming endangered. At the same time, the author obviously admires Quentin, though he's aware how unfashionable and morally dubious his lifestyle as a hunter is considered today. As he puts it, "Quentin Young is the last specimen of an endangered species: the early twentieth century explorer-adventurer-naturalist." Readers interested in either this or the more traditional kind of endangered species will enjoy this well-researched, nuanced tale.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Four Walls Eight Windows, 2002. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M1568582234
Book Description Four Walls Eight Windows, 2002. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P111568582234