Dr. Peter Pritchard, Oxford scholar, conservationist, world traveler, and Renaissance man, is a multifaceted expert on turtles and tortoises. A cheloniological thread thus runs through his ""Tales from the Thebaide"", as he expands the study of his favorite animals into commentaries upon the universe itself, and includes brilliant, erudite, and always humorous accounts of his adventures in many lands seeking further insight into the shelled reptiles. His preoccupation that important players in his life and in his field should not be forgotten led to inclusion of several in-depth obituaries, including one of Florida's own Archie Carr. His wild adventures looking for tortoises in the Galapagos Islands make up a major section of the book, as does his scholarly discourses on the taxonomic status of sea turtles. There is a long section on why he set up his personal Thebaide, the Chelonian Research Institute, and his delight in the zany, sometimes unbelievable players of the past who launched their own Cabinets of Curiosities. Pritchard's reflections encompass his love of life, and his hope that his readers will share his delight in people, science, culture, conservation, argument, scholarship, and (of course) turtles.
Peter C. H. Pritchard, M.A., Ph.D., is best known as an authority on the biology and conservation of turtles and tortoises. Both before and after receiving his doctorate in 1969, he has undertaken extensive field work with turtles in all continents. He has established a permanent field station for turtle conservation in northwestern Guyana. Since 1998 he has been director of the Chelonian Research Institute in Oviedo, Florida, and is an adjunct professor of biology at Florida Atlantic University and the University of Central Florida. Dr. Pritchard has been recognized as a ""Champion of the Wild"" by the Discovery Television Channel, and as a ""Hero of the Planet"" by Time Magazine. In 2001, he was declared ""Floridian of the Year"" by the Orlando Sentinel newspaper.
Chapter 1 The Master Turtler; Chapter 2 Tortoise Life; GALAPAGOS; Chapter 3 A Walk to Remember; Chapter 4 A Tale of Two Cities; Chapter 5 Whatever Happened to the Pinta Tortoise?; Chapter 6 The Toughest Tortoises in the Galapagos; SEA TURTLES; Chapter 7 Arribadas I Have Know; Chapter 8 A Response to Nicholas Mrosovsky: Sustainable Use of Hawksbill Turtles; Chapter 9 A Review of Predicting Extinction: Fundamental Flaws in IUCN's Red List System; Chapter 10 Ponencia Magistral; Chapter 11 Distribution and Conservation Status of the Black Turtle; Chapter 12 Life and Death in Oaxaca; Chapter 13 Les d'Entrecasteaux Enfin!; Chapter 14 Larceny among the Leatherbacks; Chapter 15 Turtle Conservation in the Guianas; SCHOOLDAYS; Chapter 16 Old Masters Remembered; PERSONALITIES AND HISTORY; Chapter 17 Origins; Chapter 18 O.U.E.N.P.63; Chapter 19 Greenie Remembered; Chapter 20 Hal Scott; Chapter 21 Leo Brongersma - An Appreciation; Chapter 22 Jacques Fretey Award; Chapter 23 The Turtle Campaign; Chapter 24 Fundamental Dilemmas of Life.