To a very large degree, the future of wildlife on this planet will be determined irrevocably before the dawn of the twenty-first century."" And this is the last chance for the forty breeds under discussion here. Similar in coverage to, but more up-to-date than, Philip Street's Vanishing Animals (1963) this is a solid plea for conservation; evidence that mankind, ""the custodian of life,"" has been miserably falling down on the job. Mr. Caras has thoroughly investigated the past and probable future of such increasingly rare specimens as the Arabian Oryx, the Javan Rhinoceros, the Pygmy Hippopotamus, the Komodo Dragon. Even more familiar animals such as the Cheetah, Mountain Gorilla, Giant Panda and Polar Bear are in danger of extinction. The author's argument that man should become equally as proficient at conservation as he has become at killing is certainly substantiated. The forty full page illustrations (not seen here), will hopefully validate the price which some may find prohibitive.