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The Ragged Edge of the World: Encounters at the Frontier Where Modernity, Wildlands, and Indigenous Peoples Me et

3.62  ·  Rating Details  ·  107 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
A noted environmental writer relives his experiences of how earth's far corners have yielded to or resisted modernity.

For forty years Eugene Linden has explored global environmental issues in books and for publications ranging from National Geographic and Time to Foreign Affairs. Linden's diverse assignments have brought him to ragged edges of the globe, the sites where
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published March 17th 2011 by Viking
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Feb 08, 2013 Booknblues rated it really liked it
The Ragged Edge of the World
by Eugene Linden
4 stars
pp. 260

I once imagined myself as adventurous and thought that I would one day visit the ragged edge of the world. Now I realize that I am quite content at home with my three cats and a book which will take me there and Eugene Linden does a superb job of escorting me around various ragged edges of our planet as New Guinea, Congo, Antarctica, Peru, Borneo and Midway Island.

Linden has long been a journalist, beginning in the Vietnam war and since t
Dec 31, 2015 Lauren rated it it was amazing
Gosh, this book was fabulous. Linden has such an engaging style - like you are just having a casual conversation. Each chapter is an essay that focuses on a location or people group that he has encountered during his long career as a foreign correspondent and journalist. After reading each chapter, I did my own research and further reading... he has a way of really piquing the reader's interest to learn more.

Feb 18, 2012 Claudia rated it it was amazing
Eugene Linden traveled the world on assignments as a journalist. Often times he would learn compelling facts and make observations not on point with his current assignment. He kept these facts and this book is a compilation of these compelling tidbits from the four corners of the globe.

First stop Is Borneo. The inhabitants saw all sorts of miraculous items come from the Europeans. However they never could quite believe the (inept) Europeans were the actual creators of these products that came f
Jan 08, 2014 Sarah rated it it was amazing
One of the best non fiction books I've read. Period. Fascinating, sobering, inspiring. Takes you to amazing corners of the globe and illustrates the people and creatures found in these out of the way places - and how their surroundings are rapidly changing or have been changed. And in the end the author suggests an interesting idea to hopefully curb the loss of these treasures. I will definitely be reading this again.
Ryan Niman
Jan 21, 2016 Ryan Niman rated it it was amazing
This book is a combination of The Lost City of Z, Edward O. Wilson's The Future of Life and, to a degree, The World Without Us. On one level it is an adventure story about going to those places where 'civilization' meets nature and native peoples. If that is all it was it would still be worth reading, but Linden has a bigger purpose with this book: To really show the impact that we're having on culture and the environment around the world. To this end he succeeds brilliantly. The picture he pain ...more
Todd Martin
Mar 20, 2013 Todd Martin rated it liked it
In The Ragged Edge of the World Eugene Linden (writer and correspondent for Time and National Geographic magazines, among others) describes his travels to remote corners of the globe and his encounters with environmental degradation, habitat destruction, species loss and the pressures of cultural homogenization on traditional populations. The topics are familiar ones for environmentalists: global warming, wolf reintroduction in Yellowstone, the ozone hole, sea ice disintegration and the plight o ...more
May 16, 2011 Dan rated it really liked it
In Ragged Edge of the World, Eugene Linden aims to tell the untold stories of his globetrotting adventures as a journalist covering environmental and cultural loss and resilience at the intersection of the modern world and wilderness and the societies that live in the wilderness.

The earlier chapters seemed to lack cohesiveness and came off like anecdotes remembered from long-ago adventures, rather than stories with beginnings, ends and meanings. I have a feeling they'd be more enjoyable to a rea
Jan 08, 2012 Deb rated it really liked it
During the late 20th and early 21st century, the indigenous peoples and unspoiled environments of the world have been quickly assimilated and/or decimated by the modern consumer culture. Eugene Linden has spent the past 40 years as a journalist traveling to these wild places at "the ragged edge of the world" to see firsthand and to document the changes in enviroment and culture in these remote areas as the world encroaches upon them.

This series of essays serves as a 40-year travelogue of Linden
Ryan Mishap
Though these are the stories that didn't fit into the magazine articles he wrote, Linden can't shed the journalistic-style--when he does, it is less like reading the New York Times and more engaging.

Civilization is killing the planet and erasing indigenous cultures worldwide and the places where this happens are the places Linden has traveled during his long career. The anecdotes, facts, encounters, science, and descriptions are often good. These are places--Easter Island, Antarctica, Africa--w
Mark Schomburg
Jan 31, 2015 Mark Schomburg rated it really liked it
Globe-spanning, yet brief. Puts environmental conservation up from local to global scale. A travelogue that looks with great depth into natural ecosystems in the context of local customs, animal intelligence and human practices. References many other works by the same author and other prominent works throughout the text.
Michael Foley
Mar 20, 2013 Michael Foley rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
If Linden ever wrote a bucket list of places to visit, he must surely have done it all twice by now. This is a fascinating study of where modernity and indigenous cultures collide, from the frozen North to the jungles of Cuba (and everywhere in between). The world is at risk of losing indigenous knowledge as more and more people leave behind their tribal life. Its disturbing that we may lose thousands of years of collective knowledge in just a few generations. Linden is sending out a warning tha ...more
Mignon De Klerk
Sep 19, 2012 Mignon De Klerk rated it it was amazing
The author draws on his remarkable 40-year career as an ecological journalist to tell the (yes, depressing) story of the world's vanishing wildlife and indigenous human cultures. I was able to forgive the book's almost complete disregard of problematic women's issues in many of the places discussed, because of the importance behind the primary message: modern civilization and the consumer society are pushing the planet and its delicate ecosystem of animals (the human animal included) and ecology ...more
Oct 09, 2011 Brian rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
This should have been much better than it was, given the author's extensive travels and the amount of time he had to collect the various pieces that appear here, many of which are actually ancillary or supplemental narratives related to his reporting for National Geographic and other publications. The effect is episodic, but somehow less than the sum of its parts, and I was surprised, given my deep interest in the topic, that I found myself bored at several points in this one. I hope the appeara ...more
Jul 31, 2016 Molly rated it liked it
Fascinating book, but also so tragic the way we are destroying the planet and indigenous cultures.
Apr 12, 2015 Kayla rated it it was amazing
I am completely impressed with this well-written book reflecting on the sociological, environmental, and economical impact of different cultures in this world. For my full review, visit:
Daniel Milano
Mar 16, 2014 Daniel Milano rated it liked it
We get a bit lost in the numerous trips that sometimes barely have a relation to the sub title of this book. I wish rather than being plainly descriptive the author had made an effort to show what could have been and at what point is the tipping point of irreparable cultural and ecological damage is done.
Bobby Garmon
Apr 06, 2015 Bobby Garmon rated it liked it
Great book pointing out how screwed we have made the world we live in
Victoria Bolkhovitina
Great book, truly sad.
Feb 26, 2012 Du rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
I read a different book than I thought I was going to read. The flap sounded much more travel or government based. The reality is good, but not what I wanted. It was much more environmental, which makes sense for someone who writes for National Geographic and Smithsonian. The text was very well written and flowed really well, which is why I kept reading. Some of the places the author visits are amazing and the details are great. That said, I am not too interested in the wild flora of Vietnam.
Mar 05, 2014 Michael rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
An interesting collection of travel essays, focusing on deep forested, undeveloped, raw wilderness regions. The essays focus on conservation efforts in Indonesia, but mostly Africa. The bulk of experience Eugene shares is from travels in Central Africa, the CAR & DROC. A quick, interesting read, good for a college class in conservation. Most of the stories are from the 1990s; more current info would have been nice.
Aug 17, 2012 LuAnn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Well, then ... this was a new and interesting take on the way humans have encroached on wildlife, animals and hidden tribes. It was one man's opinion (the author) as he traveled to do some environmental reporting for various publications. I enjoyed reading his thoughts, however, I found many of them a bit outdated as he has been collecting these stories for decades. A good read, all in all, though.
Sue Hedin
Sep 23, 2013 Sue Hedin rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
Linden is a noted environmentalist writing about the remote corners of the earth (from the jungles of Vietnam to the Arctic) and the impact of modernity on the native populations. He starts out with surprising biological finds, but goes on to map out the many grievous loses both environmental and cultural and ends with creative global plans. All of it held my attention and interest.
Apr 20, 2011 samm rated it it was amazing
Eugene Linden is amazing. I can't put this down! Every story sucks you in. The book is a collection of vignettes about the places that Linden has traveled and what he has seen there. I highly recommend this to anyone who is interested in culture and the environment.

I learned things in this book that weren't even on my radar before. I'm so glad I decided to pick it up.
Jun 17, 2013 Daven rated it really liked it
Fully enjoyed getting lost (no pun intended) in this engrossing journey to distant, remote and often-brutal locations - along with Linden's informed commentary on humankind's ongoing impact. Loved getting up early while at camp this past week, when all was still quiet, and sitting with a cup of coffee or two and this fascinating read.
Jun 18, 2012 Catharine rated it it was ok
I liked the idea of what this book would be about, but I don't think it was carried off very well. The writing was disjointed and didn't form a cohesive narrative. I think selecting the "encounters" more carefully and a different writing style would have been very successful.
Marguerite Czajka
Nov 03, 2013 Marguerite Czajka rated it really liked it
An excellent overview of disappearing areas of the world. The author describes trips to some of the most endangered areas on the planet - in terms of disappearing flora, fauna, and culture.
Jun 24, 2011 Erica rated it liked it
Strong collection of essays about the "edges of the world" that Eugene Linden has visited while working as a journalist.
Dec 21, 2012 Kira rated it it was amazing
A fascinating second look at places and people overlooked in the pursuit of other, more immediate news.
Apr 04, 2012 giao rated it liked it
The section on Vietnam's forests is incredibly powerful to me...
Steven Farmer
Jun 09, 2011 Steven Farmer rated it it was amazing
Excellent read.
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“Traveling can never be taken for granted, no matter how meticulous the preparations.” 4 likes
“Time and again our best and brightest have alerted society to looming problems, but our persistent pattern has been to ignore the warnings and suffer the consequences. The pathetic refrain of recent years --'Nobody saw this coming'--is always a self-serving lie.” 4 likes
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