Kingdom Under Glass
Kingdom Under Glass: A Tale of Obsession, Adventure, and One Man’s Quest to Preserve the World’s Great Animals by Jay Kirk
The relationship between man’s empire and nature is critical, as we are finding out today. Overwhelmingly the relationship is one of sheer exploitation, but the style and content of our attitude towards nature in all its forms has taken vastly different form in different societies.
Nature and empire is an impossibly sprawling and complex field, encompassing everything from Temple Grandin and humane slaughterhouse practices to the fracking controversy to the history of British gardens to modern genetic recombination. We need nature’s stored energy and stored beauty, but we seem to be tragically clumsy in our extraction of it. As to animals in particular, we cherish wildlife in zoos and children’s movies even as we demolish it with our insatiable demand for its habitat. Recent books like Andrea Wulf’s The Brother Gardeners and Jorge Cañizares-Esguerra’s Nature, Empire, and Nation explore how different cultures capture nature, both in commerce and in the imagination.
In his new biography of the early Twentieth Century naturalist Carl Akeley, author Jay Kirk examines many of these contradictions: Akeley, sometimes labeled the father of modern taxidermy, was a hunter (“collector”) as well as a preservationist, a safari explorer as well as museum curator. Coming at a time when Americans are coming to terms with their own “empires” of nature, the book raises timely questions.
Objective: Read the book review of Jay Kirk’s Kingdom Under Glass and the interview with the author, then discuss Kirk’s depiction of Akeley and his relationship to the natural world.
I think Akeley was a very smart person. He was a hunter, but he was also a preservationist. Akeley only hunted the overpopulated. He was a true activist to save wildlife. Kirk said that the species Akeley feared would be extinct is still alive to day and doing better than he would of imagined. Our empire is moving vastly across the country. We need people like Akeley to save the beautifil nature we have and the gorgeous animals in those habitats.
Human beings that live in either urban or suburban civilization’s get so caught up in their own lives that they totally forget about Mother Nature. This article is sobering to the fact that we do share this planet with animals and plants and other living things. We live our lives vicariously through technology thus we forget about the real world that is out there. For many years mother nature and man in some ways have been at war. Maybe one day we will wake up and find the error of our ways.
Akeley was a preservationistand a hunter and he want to save the wildlife. If Akeley were alive today, he would probably be trying to save the wild life he once killed. When Kirk was interviewed, he was asked “Whas did Akeley fear?” The biggest fear was that these species would one day be extinct. It’s a good thing he is not around today, since many of them ARE extinct.
After reading this article, I admire Professor Kirk for his work as a historian. He understands Akeley’s drive to preserve these species but he also understands that the population as a whole would not understand Akeley’s work because the sole purpose of “colonizing” land to the population is to make it beneficial and resourceful. As a result animals are disrupted out of their habitats.
Prof. Jay Kirk wrote a story on a man, Akeley. He is a character that lived a life for personal gain and amusement with art. He hunted animals for taxidermy not really seeking the perseverance of animals. Later in his life he changed from hunting without remorse to helping save species from extinction. The primary animal he helped save was the mountain gorilla. The article tells a story of a hunter for taxidermy and how he changed his life over to make a difference for the better. The article on the book “Kingdom Under Glass” is a interesting and informative piece.
“Works of history are first and foremost acts of the imagination.” This has to be my favorite sentence throughout this whole article. I admire Akeley’s actions, because not only did he protect species that were on the verge of extinction, he tried to maintain a balance in nature by becoming a “accidental conservationist” by hunting animals that were overpopulated. I, however, have trouble believing that Akeley would be pleased with present day africa. Hunter’s in todays world have no remorse for the killing of endangered animals or the law, thus leaving africa with such a high number of endangered species. But, overall, i do admire akeley’s actions to preserve nature’s wildlife.
Professor Kirk is a good guy for his work and what he did in his feild. I admire Akeley’s actions, because he protected a species that were about to go extinct. He basically showed them that the hunting animals that were overpopulated is wrong and people should stand up against it.
Akeley went and did something that others wouldn’t. He protected a species that was on the brink of extinction. He stood up against the hunters and opened the world’s eyes to the negative effects of hunting overpopulated animals. The positive thing that can come out of this is the possibility for others to join his fight for protecting the wildlife.