In May of 2007, noted American poet and novelist and son of Holocaust refugees Michael Blumenthal went to South Africa to volunteer at C.A.R.E., a rehabilitation center for orphaned and injured baboons founded by Rita Miljo. Rita was a Lithuanian-born childhood member of the Hitler Youth who had gone on to have a life as adventure-filled as Beryl Markham’s in West With the Night.
“A lot of people have asked me whether they could write ’my book,’ Rita wrote to Michael shortly thereafter, “and I said no, because I was envisaging a story both sad and happy, but certainly mixed with a lot of humor. But if you asked me, I would not say no.”
With that, for the only time in her life, Rita entrusted another human being with hours of interviews and with thirty years’ worth of her journals, and a rare and unusual collaboration was born. Because They Needed Me is that story, a chronicle of primate conservation and the intrepid and courageous woman who devoted her life to it. It is like no other book of its kind.
As famed primatologist Jane Goodall said, "Thank god there are people like Rita who are working for those species that other people don't like."
“A book about a remarkable woman and how she came to play a significant role in baboon conservation in South Africa. Blumenthal’s skill as a writer is apparent from the long list of publications he has penned over time. But what this book also makes apparent is his long-standing passion for nature and, in particular, primates.” - Dr. Thomas Lovejoy, first Biodiversity Chair of the H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment and University Professor of Environmental Science and Policy at George Mason University.
Pub date: Mar. 15, 2016 Price: $25 (casebound) ISBN 978-0-912887-38-8 Soon to be available in paperback and as an ebook.
Pre-order from the publisher's website at www.pleasureboatstudio.com or through Amazon.com.