The Wit and Wisdom of David Attenborough – Chas Newkey-Burden | Book Review @allthatchas @Octopus_Books @RandomTTours

A fascinating and entertaining collection of facts, quotes and stories, celebrating Sir David Attenborough’s wicked sense of humour and astute wisdom.

David Attenborough is a national treasure, known for his soothing voice, calming presence, passion for the natural world, and his humble, easy-going nature. Despite his incredible talent and influence, he tends to play it all down, one time stating that, ‘I can’t believe I’m still employed’.

So if he won’t celebrate himself, we’ll have to do it for him. Filled with facts, tributes and anecdotes, as well as beautiful illustrations, this enormously positive book celebrates Sir David, providing a fascinating insight into his life as well as showcasing his brilliant sense of humour. Running chronologically, this book begins with his early days, to his first job at the BBC, to eventually becoming the most esteemed naturalist on the planet, as he is today.

Such revelations include:
– There are 18 plants and animals named after him
– When asked by a reporter how many degrees he had, he said it would be ‘rude to count’*

Blending his quips galore with his powerful messages on the environment and future of the planet, this timely book showcases everything we love about Sir David, making it the perfect gift for any fan.

* He has over thirty!

Publisher: Gaia (an imprint of Octopus Publishing)
Format: Ebook and Hardback (26 October 2023)
Source: Copy to review

MY THOUGHTS

My thanks to Anne of Random Things Tours for the invite and to the publisher for the copy to review. This is outside of my normal reading but it looked such an inviting and different read, I couldn’t resist saying yes please.

I don’t know about you but whenever I see David Attenborough’s name trending on X, I worry. Aged 97, Sir David is a national treasure and a wonderful ambassador for the animal world and the planet. This book is a celebration of the man and his career. The author makes it clear that it is not affiliated nor endorsed by DA and under various headings and different timelines the book shines a light on aspects of the man and his remarkable achievements and broadcasting career, which spans 8 decades. There are many anecdotes and tributes both touching and funny – an early official BBC memo opined whilst he was an intelligent young man and an excellent trainee producer, he should not be used as an interviewer again as his teeth were too big. Despite his many interactions with deadly creatures including scorpions and snakes, it is apparently a fear of rats that has him almost jumping up onto tables. It seems he will forever be known as the man who, whilst Controller of BBC Radio 2 in the 1960’s rejected a job application from Terry Wogan – a radio and TV presenter icon who went on to enjoy over 50 years as a broadcaster.

It is not a biography (although there is so much detail it could easily be) but a collection of facts and stories displayed in an easy to read format. This book may be small in size but it is full of information. Peppered with black and white illustrations this is a charming and insightful read and a superb tribute to a much loved man.


Writer Chas Newkey-Burden is the author of over 30 books including Great Email Disasters and a best-selling biography of Amy Winehouse. His magazine work has included interviewing celebrities like David Beckham and Ricky Gervais.

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