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Gerald Durrell's Books: A Complete List

Updated on August 17, 2013

Funny and Wonderful Stories From A Famous Naturalist

An internationally renowned naturalist and author, Gerald Durrell was a funny, smart writer who published thirty three books about his childhood on Corfu, his Zoo on Jersey, and his many amazing trips into the far corners of the world collecting wildlife. I grew up reading his books, and I attribute at least part of my interest in wildlife, and the fact I recognise many obscure animals, to the many creatures he introduced me to. He is one of the few authors that my entire family sought out and collected unquestioningly, from the ages of about eight to adulthood.

Whether you enjoy animal anecdotes, wildlife themed travel stories, meeting an incredible array of characters (both human and not), conservation triumphs and tragedies, tales of Corfu and eclectic families, or trips behind the scenes at zoos, Gerald Durrell's books span his entire life from UK to Corfu, childhood pets to keeping his zoo afloat, as well as a couple of fiction books, including the children's book The Fantastic Flying Journey (another childhood favourite).

He is still one of my favourite writers, and while my family managed to own all his books between us, I'm happily collecting them all again for my own personal library. His zoo is still going strong, and involved in many major conservation efforts, such as releasing back into the wild the offspring of highly endangered species that Gerald Durrell himself once collected.

Money from his books goes back to funding the zoo and its conservation efforts. So not only are they worth buying in themselves, but the money goes back to something worthwhile. Jersey Zoo is unique in that it is dedicated to captive breeding programs of endangered species, and does not house any other species.

This page is a guide to his books, organised both by content, type and by publication date. For more about his legacy and conservation work, see the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and for further reading about him, the zoo and the people he inspired, see Books About Gerald Durrell and His Legacy of Conservation.

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An eclectic handful of Gerald Durrell's books from my bookshelf
An eclectic handful of Gerald Durrell's books from my bookshelf

Who Was Gerald Durrell?

Gerald Durrell: Conservationist and Animal Observer

Gerald Durrell was born in India in 1925, lost his father young and moved back to the UK with his mother, two older brothers and older sister, and the whole family headed out to sunny Corfu when he was ten. There he indulged his lifelong obsession with nature, keeping an enormous variety of pets and constantly observing and learning from the world around him. He was to continue this passion, and keen observational habits, into the rest of his life. Forced back to England by the second World War, a teenaged Gerald Durrell was forced to accept that keeping large animals was not practical in a suburban family home, and he pursued experience in a zoo, to allow him to go on collecting expeditions.

Gerald Durrell:

The Authorized Biography

Then followed many years of wildlife collecting trips around the world, in which we meet hundreds of incredible species of all sizes and during which time he became increasingly dissatisfied with the state of zoos. At last, he founded his own zoo, based on the principles of conservation, education and research.

He began to publish his stories in magazines and radio broadcasts, in later years setting out to publish actual books. He actually hated writing and wrote mostly to fund his collecting trips and his zoo - which he set up to be one of the first real conservation orientated zoos in the world, at a time when most zoos were of the dreadful concrete box and no breeding programme variety.

  1. The subtle difference between us is that he loves writing and I don't. To me it's simply a way to make money which enables me to do my animal work, nothing more.
  2. (in comparison to his brother, Lawrence Durrell, a famous writer).

Rosy Is My Relative

But his love for animals, almost all animals (famously, he only ever encountered one or two species he couldn't bring himself to like), shines through.

Unfortunately he died in 1995. His last book was The Aye-Aye and I: A Rescue Mission in Madagascar, published in 1992. His humour, insight and activism probably had the greatest impact on conservation that any one person could have, not only through the species he personally saved, but the people he inspired and trained - the 'Durrell's Army' - and the awareness raised through the vast number of people around the world who have picked up his books.

The Fantastic Flying Journey

Nonfiction

The majority of Gerald Durrell's books were autobiographical, documenting either his early family life or his conservation work and collecting trips. While they are probably embellished and edited to some degree, they are generally considered accurate (and even got him into a little trouble with his family!). He was a keen observer and scrupulous note taker from a very young age, and used these many notes to write books years later.

He also wrote a couple of natural history books, and a series of technical essays, as well as a large number of magazine articles and book reviews.

Fiction

He wrote three novels, and several stories for children and young adults, as well as a small assortment of short stories.

His work was usually illustrated, either lavishly in his children's picture books, or by black and white sketches of animals, from a variety of illustrators.

Writers Like Gerald Durrell...

If you like Gerald Durrell, you would probably enjoy books by James Herriot, Laurie Lee and Bill Bryson, and David Attenborough's documentaries.

Gerald Durrell's Books on eBay - It's easy to find his books second hand!

With books published regularly almost every year from 1953 to 1992, numerous reprints and republished versions, and a large number of best selling titles, Gerald Durrell's books are easy to find second hand. Actually, it only gets difficult if you're after a particular edition! And if you want a nice, shiny new version, scroll back up and check out the Amazon links!

UK DVDs About Gerald Durrell

Recently released DVDs only available from the UK

There are some excellent videos about Gerald Durrell that have not been released overseas, and can only be ordered from Amazon.co.uk. These were all originally released on VHS and have recently been made available on DVD. They include an early BBC television series based on his childhood in Corfu, and a documentary series about his life, the life of Jambo the gorilla, and his last collecting trip to Madagascar, three years before his death.

An early and excellent television series based on his book of the same name. The more recent film is available in the US as well.

Features on his life and work, starring John Cleese and David Attenborough.:

All about Gerald Durrell, his life, his conservation work and his zoo.

Following the story of the famous gorilla from his Jersey Zoo.

A documentary of his last collecting trip to capture the elusive Aye-aye. Narrated by Sir David Attenborough.

Buy them all together!

More About Gerald Durrell and His Books - Other lenses that look more closely at other aspects of his life and work

My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell
My Family and Other Animals is Gerald Durrell's story of his childhood on the Greek island of Corfu. Full of the most eccentric characters - from his sibling...

The Fantastic Flying Journey
The Fantastic Flying Journey is a picture book written by renowned conservationist Gerald Durrell and illustrated in full colour by Graham Percy. I love this...

The Talking Parcel written by Gerald Durrell
*** "If the words are not looked after and given exercise, they simply fade away and vanish, poor little things, said Parrot. That's my job. Once a year...

The Isle of Jersey
I was born and raised on the tiny British island of Jersey. It wasn't until I moved to London at the age of 17 that I realized just how lucky I was to grow u...

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    • profile image

      Sue-DN 4 years ago

      I remember reading 'My Family and Other Animals' when I was schoolgirl. Very funny. This is a great lens - all you ever wanted to know about Gerald Durrell!

    • suepogson profile image

      suepogson 4 years ago

      One of my favourite people in the world. I love his books and was so sad when he died. Now I realise I haven't rad them all! Thank you

    • Ibexing profile image

      Ibexing 4 years ago

      My family and other Animals is one of my favourite books of all time. Great lens.

    • Chocolatealchemy profile image

      Chocolatealchemy 5 years ago from London, United Kingdom

      You've created a great Lens and a fantastic list of all Gerald Durrell's books. And thanks for linking my Lens https://hubpages.com/literature/the-talking-parcel - it was such a lovely surprise to find it on your Lens!

    • profile image

      seegreen 5 years ago

      I've read My Family and Other Animals a few times. I haven't looked at any of his other books but I will keep an eye out for them now.

    • VladimirCat profile image

      Vladimir 5 years ago from Australia

      I think I've read everything by Gerald Durrell and my favourite is 'My Family and Other Animals'.

    • jolou profile image

      jolou 5 years ago

      This is the first I've heard of him to be honest, but his work sounds interesting.