River Monsters: True Stories of the Ones That Didn't Get Away - Jeremy Wade First I should admit that I love the River Monsters television program, partly because of the many fishing trips in my childhood - ah, fishing nostalgia. I also studied documentary film in grad school, so I'm always up for an animal/travel documentary. Those are my biases right up front, and so I was predisposed to enjoy the book. I read River Monsters hoping for more background on what it was like to film in such difficult situations, and the book definitely provided many interesting stories, some specifically about the difficulty of filming for television (and under a deadline). One thing I hadn't expected was so much background on Wade, the author, and why he has a continued to look for fish in such obscure places - not to mention how he started making such trips in the first place. It's very much a personal mission for him and not just a sport - his catch-and-release mode of fishing is not just for the camera. Wade repeatedly stresses the problems of a diminishing fish population as well as loss of habitat. The book's bibliography was a plus, though sadly many of the texts are ones that are no longer in print (because I did want to hunt down a few!).A quote to give you an idea of Wade's style:Page 148 - on having caught his first river stingray"...I'm momentarily transfixed, torn between curiosity and fear. I can pull it up the gently sloping mud bank, but then what? Already thought is lagging behind events, as the blotchy brown mass slides up wet mud toward me, its amorphous margins flowing into the craters left by retreating feet. In the center of the yard-wide disc is a raised turret where two eyes open and close, flashing black. And it's bellowing. A loud rhythmic sound that is at first inexplicable until I realize that those blinking eyes are its spiracles, now sucking in air instead of water, which it is pumping out via gill slits on its underside. And all the while it brandishes that blade, stabbing the air like a scorpion..."And a quote about how an early attempt didn't work out:Page 56"...The Congo trip was a disaster. The destination this time was the People's Republic of Congo, the former French colony west of Zaire - and a more user-friendly part of the river. But again water conditions were wrong... In the end we floated down on a log raft that was steered by a small tug skippered by an incompetent drunkard. I had persuaded Martin to join us on this adventure of a lifetime, and it did indeed live up to its billing. He remembers to this day the moment a Congolese man stepped over my prone body as I lay passed out with chronic malaria. "I thought I was going to come back home without you," he's told me many times since. "The man just shrugged and said it was possible that you were going to die."From these quotes you can see that Wade is describing not the usual quiet fishing trip, but hardships and bizarre creatures. It's not all action - there are many more sections of thoughtful descriptions and Wade's concerns for the future of certain fish. If you enjoyed Wade's television program but wished more detail about the places, the wildlife, and the science, then you should find this an enjoyable read.