Review of 'David Suzuki: The Autobiography'

David Suzuki: The Autobiography by David Suzuki

david_suzuki.jpg I remember as a child watching David Suzuki's “The Nature of Things” on the CBC enraptured by this figure who is able to explain the most complex scientific concepts in a way that makes it understandable to everyone. When he appeared at a speaker at my university I made sure to attend and learned that not only was he a face on television but also an avid environmentalist.

In this book, roughly a sequel to his 1987 autobiography “Metamorphosis: Stages in a Life” (which I have not read), Suzuki recaps this original book in the first five chapters then continues on from there to tell the reader what he has been up to since. Much of this later material focuses on his work with the “David Suzuki Foundation” as well as his experiences in Brazil and Papua New Guinea. This book is a bit dry and often difficult to read because of it with the details of specific events given in tremendous detail including those of his academic history and the founding of the foundation. However Suzuki does show his ability to communicate in several of the sections particularly those detailing his involvement with Paiakan, a Kaiapo Indian living on the Amazon leading a fight to prevent the building of a dam. Suzuki gets to know Paiakan and his family very personally, returning again and again to the area with his family. It is amazing to hear of the work he has done and the passion he has for it. Even as a “talking head” on television he explains how he took an active and personal interest in everything he did (and does).

He often name drops which comes across occasionally as being a bit pompous but I think this is more generally meant to convey the interest some of his activities has attracted as well as what he has done to attract interest to them. Bringing big names to a rock concert in British Columbia certainly brings attention to the destruction of wildlife habitat. When he talks of his reluctance before meeting the Dali Lama then his amazement of the man himself is wonderful in it's sincerity.

Suzuki does take some time to talk about his private life detailing his upbringing and remembering how his family were treated during the way. Later in the book he communicates the pride he has in his children who seem to take after their father. The story of their travelling to Rio de Janeiro for the Earth Summit in 1991 where Severn, his daughter, ended up speaking at the Global Forum is amazing and told with tremendous satisfaction. It is clear they all have his love of the environment and his passion to protect it. He expresses his joy and pride in what they have become without being too boastful.

An essential read for those fans of David Suzuki and those who are interested in the amazing work he has done as an environmental activist and understanding more about the man. It is not terribly easy to read but it is interesting.

Rating: “It is OK but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2018-02-18

Genre: Autobiography

Publisher: Greystone Books

Publication Date: 2006

ISBN: 9781553652816