Endangered Liaisons
Reviewed by Richard D. Estes
(November 2009)
     
         
 
My coffee table is piled high with coffee-table books, almost all of them filled with beautiful pictures of African wildlife. But Endangered Liaisons is usually on top, as though it was the biggest piece in a jar of mixed objects when you shake it. Actually it's not the biggest volume, but it's the book I enjoy reading as much as I enjoy the pictures, because the text is as lively and literate as it is informative. Mr. Shay has an unusual turn of phrase and his take on an event or animal is often unexpected and amusing.

The text is tightly linked to the pictures, which represent the distillation of thousands of photos taken on numerous safaris over a span of 20 years. Mr. Shay is also a publisher and well-known author. So the book has about everything anyone could want.

As a behavioral ecologist who has spent the past 45 years studying African mammals, it is gratifying to discover that the author of a photographic volume has read the two books on their behavior that I wrote and thereby increased his awareness of their behavioral repertoire. This awareness shows in photos taken at the decisive moment. Also in his accurate thumbnail descriptions of the species' social and mating system.

 


3.9.2009
Endangered Liaisons has been selected as first-place winner in Travel and Africa categories, and is also recipient of the Karen Villanueva Award for Best Global Book of the Year...

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1.19.2009
The Press Enterprise, "Memoir Pays Homage to Africa"

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10.28.2008
African Wildlife Foundation Newsletter, "Homage to African Wildlife Goes Beyond the Printed Page"

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11.4.2008
Writer-photographer Don Shay’s Endangered Liaisons, has been selected as Award-Winning Finalist in the categories of Photography-Nature and Travel-Essay of the National Best Books 2008 Awards...

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9.27.2008
Author Don Shay launches Endangered Liaisons with a reunion party attended by dozens of safari veterans, some from afar, who have traveled with him to Africa over the past twenty years...

  Launch Video >>


9.15. 2008
Endangered Liaisons, a coffee-table book by Don Shay, draws upon twenty years of African travel experiences to take readers on the ultimate wildlife safari...

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Endangered Liaisons
Reviewed by Don George
Adventure Collection (April 2009)
donsplace.adventurecollection.com
   
       
 
"A Love Affair with Africa"

Don Shay's Endangered Liaisons presents an extraordinarily impassioned and eloquent evocation of riches revealed and lessons learned in two decades of African adventures.

For many travelers, an African safari is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. At least, that’s what they think before they embark. Don Shay thought just that two decades ago, when he undertook an African photo safari. But what he found on that journey – the wild animals and wild places – got inside him and changed him. In the ensuing years he has returned 13 times, visiting nine countries and dozens of wildlife preserves in two- to four-week increments.

Shay’s coffeetable book, Endangered Liaisons, is an eloquent and sumptuous evocation of the love affair that ensued. Each of the book’s nine chapters focuses in photos and words on a different journey in Africa, including tracking the Great Migration in the Serengeti, following a lioness as she hunts in the Masai Mara, climbing the Virunga volcanoes of Rwanda for a poignant encounter with mountain gorillas, and cruising the Chobe River on a quest for elephants.

Over the years Shay has accumulated encyclopedic knowledge of the intricate interrelations of the African ecosystem, and he shares that information with enthusiasm, passion, and a graceful sense of perspective. He is wonderfully down-to-earth in his descriptions of his African adventures, mingling disappointment with drama, and infusing all with a heightened awareness of the fragile beauty of the land and its inhabitants.

Shay’s images and tales are equally vivid, compelling, and illuminating. Endangered Liaisons is clearly a labor of love, and it rewards readers with a new appreciation of Africa’s wild -- and all too often endangered – wonders.

   
       
 
Endangered Liaisons
The Midwest Book Review
Small Press Bookwatch (October 2008)
www.midwestbookreview.com
   
       
 
Endangered Liaisons is a stunningly beautiful coffee-table book of African wildlife photography. From the lunge of a hyena warding off the carrion bird that would compete for its kill, to a Nile monitor on the prowl, to dwarf mongooses populating a termite mound den to a close-up of the crowned crane and much more, Endangered Liaisons is a wondrous glimpse of nature’s creatures, sometimes even at their more inopportune moments – like zebras rolling the dust, and even copulating elephants! Most of the photographs are allowed to speak for themselves, but the text frequently comments on the challenges and threats to the survival of the animal species, from habitat destruction to human predation to inbreeding among their own gene pool. The perfect giftbook for wildlife lovers, a welcome addition to photography shelves, and truly an amazing sight to behold from cover to cover.
   
       
 
Endangered Liaisons
Reviewed by Irene Watson
Reader Views (September 2008)
www.readerviews.com
   
       
 
After 20 years of safaris, Don Shay presents an array of photographs and text for the armchair traveler to get in touch with the reality of the wildlife of Africa. From the beginning of the coffee-table book to the last page, the reader is mesmerized with the beauty of the land, enthralled by the stances of endangered species, and moved by the challenge of predators upon their prey. Shay’s own experiences are captured in the text, giving the book a feel of a memoir and enhancing the armchair travel to a point of wanting to take an African safari in person.

I’ve always been drawn to primates so I was excited to see pictures of the various species. Reading Shay’s experience with them was of most interest to me and brought even more life to the photographs. His writing is very vivid and made me feel like I was there on the safari with him.

As a point of interest, Shay writes “A repository of Guinness records, Africa lays unchallenged claim to the largest, the tallest, the fastest, the most animals of any place on earth. More than a thousand species of land creatures coexist on the continent, each providing a vital link in the overall ecosystem.” Understanding an ecosystem is essential, one begins to realize the necessity of predators and prey. Shay captures the splendor of a lion with a wildebeest kill, a cheetah feeding on a pregnant gazelle, and a hyena warding off a competitor.

Poignant, compelling and exuberant, Endangered Liaisons is one of those books that provides the reader an experience of a lifetime, much like an actual safari would. I find myself going over and over the photographs and each time I’m drawn in to another aspect of the journey. It is not much wonder Don Shay and his wife Estelle keep returning to Africa, to yet experience another realm of wonderment.