Just looking at the cover of Tim Flannery’s Chasing Kangaroos: A Continent, a Scientist, and a Search for the World’s Most Extraordinary Creature, you get a good sense of the book. It turns out that kangaroos are even stranger and more wondrous than I had ever imagined them to be. But this is more than just the story of kangaroo life styles and life cycles, their mating habits, and their child-rearing techniques. It’s also the story of the country the author loves best, Australia, and how its history and development are intertwined with that of its most iconic animal inhabitants. Part geology, part travelogue, part ecology, part ethology, part anthropology, part history, part paleontology, part natural history, and all of it always interesting, Flannery’s book is a first-rate example of popular science writing. The first line of the introduction will give you a good sense of Flannery’s style: “When I was young I met a man whose arse bore the bite-mark of a Tasmanian tiger.” Who could resist that?