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Monday
Feb072011

King Features on Stolen World 

 Larry Cox reviewed Stolen World for King Features Syndicate in February:

     When many of us visit our American public zoos, we rarely consider the fact that some of the animals being exhibited were possibly stolen from other parts of the world and smuggled into this country by professional thieves.

    Jennie Erin Smith, an award-winning freelance science reporter, reveals this shady animal underworld in her new book, an incredible true tale that features unstable characters, shocking acts of thievery, brutal mind-boggling fights, and at the center of it all, splendid animals – many of which are on the endangered species list

... The author takes readers on a wild adventure that mainly focuses on two smugglers, Hank Molt, a former Kraft cheese employee who traveled throughout the world collecting rare and wonderful specimens, and Tommy Crutchfield, a Florida carpet salesman and gator wrestler, who was by the 1980s selling more snakes and lizards than almost anyone else in the business.  

     This is a remarkable book that is the result of over a decade of research.  The reporting is first rate and the narrative as exciting as a well-written novel.  One promise, if you read this excellent account, you will never see animals in a zoo quite the same way again.  “Stolen World” is haunting, passionate, and cuts to the very heart of the illegal reptile trading world.

Saturday
Feb052011

Wall Street Journal Reviews Stolen World 

The WSJ weighed in (with a touch of dyspeptia I'm afraid) Feb 5:

Discovering eccentric people who are passionately engaged in a fringe activity is the journalist's equivalent of striking gold. In "Stolen World," Jennie Erin Smith's investigation into the exotic-animal trade finds a rich vein. There's the Ohio man who ships rare snakes back from New Guinea, then diversifies from smuggling by opening a swingers' club. And the Texas gas-station owner who travels to Madagascar, passes himself off as a zoo director and returns with plowshare tortoises. His name: Leon Leopard. Read more.

Friday
Jan282011

Praise in New Scientist and The Week

New Scientist's Stephanie Pain reviewed Stolen World Jan 26, saying:

VILE, venomous and best kept under lock and key - and that's just the people in this gripping book. Jennie Erin Smith spent a decade investigating the strange world of reptile collectors and dealers who specialise in rare species. I couldn't put this book down, partly because it's a ripping yarn of wildlife cops versus reptile robbers, but also because I was mesmerised by the horror of it all .. Read more

And The Week, in its Jan 28 print edition, summed up earlier praise from the Christian Science Monitor, Salon, and the Washington Post -- this is oddly not available online.

Wednesday
Jan262011

Interview on Inquiry, New England Public Radio

This Jan 20 interview about Stolen World was the most in-depth yet, as WICN host Mark Lynch proved frighteningly knowledgable about reptiles and the trade. 

Friday
Jan072011

Washington Post on Stolen World: "Absolutely Marvelous"

Book World: Jennie Erin Smith's 'Stolen World' captures rascals in their element

I'm trying to think of the best way to say how absolutely marvelous "Stolen World" is and wondering if the answer can't be found in the subtitle: "A Tale of Reptiles, Smugglers, and Skulduggery." Yes, it's got all that, along with screwball comedy and a subtle, understated sermon on ecological values. But wait! - as they say in those zany TV commercials - there's more!