This book is profoundly beautiful. I bought my own copy of this in paperback after reading a library copy. That alone should tell you how much this bo...moreThis book is profoundly beautiful. I bought my own copy of this in paperback after reading a library copy. That alone should tell you how much this book moved me - I don't like to hold on to books, but this one is an exception. This book will travel with me and I will read it over and over.
While the entire essay is not more than 100 pages (in the 30th anniversary reprint edition), there are three sections: the first contrasts Fowles and his father and their views on nature, order, and chaos. The second part is a treatise on nature as art and science, but also a criticism on how nature is seen and "encapsulated" by humans. This was my favorite part of the book because it had so much substance. Nature philosophy and transcendence. The book ends with a walk around the English moors and meditations.
A small book, but so heavy in content. Initially I read the book cover to cover, and now I want to re-read and take it in chunks. It needs to be pondered. That's why I bought my own physical copy - which doesn't happen much anymore. It is just that good.
Fabulous book and great research. I liked the format with the biographical and historical information interspersed with the authors research in librar...moreFabulous book and great research. I liked the format with the biographical and historical information interspersed with the authors research in libraries and archives, and shopping trips to adventure outfitters. How had I never heard of the Fawcett mystery until now? It seems like a story ripe for Hollywood or various adventure stories, so it is a wonder that it took this long to have some quality research on the topic (or have I just been ignorant of this?)
Interesting aside - as I was reading this, my husband is reading Candice Millard's *River of Doubt* about Roosevelt's travels in Amazon. It was intriguing to hear the Grann citing that book, and for my husband and I to discuss the two expeditions and how they differed. I look forward to reading that book soon to continue my own little obsession with rainforest adventure stories...
This book describes a very different Amazon than the one I encountered on my trip to Peru in 2007 - of course, I was not in the deepest darkest part of the forest, but we were "roughing it" by a lot of standards... I guess that is because over the last century there have been significant strides in public health and sanitation, disease prevention, and research on tropical climes... even in the author's travels in 2006 and 2007, he describes a very different Brazilian rainforest than Fawcett encountered 80 years prior. This alone causes some concern that things can change so significantly in the relatively short span of years...(less)
Another beautiful book of writings by Diane Ackerman. Her writing style is so lyrical and her descriptions are so vivid - reading her work is like bit...moreAnother beautiful book of writings by Diane Ackerman. Her writing style is so lyrical and her descriptions are so vivid - reading her work is like biting into the juiciest of fruits. This particular collection highlights bats, crocodiles, penguins, and whales. Ackerman spends time with these animals, learning about their biology and psychology, talks with their keepers, trainers, and researchers.
While all of them were wonderful, the chapters on bats and crocodiles were my favorites of all - perhaps because I knew the least about these two creatures. The bat essay, in particular, sent me to my computer many times to see images and photos of these amazing animals. Just days after reading this essay, I had the experience of being in the open desert (Joshua Tree National Park in southern California) and witnessed the Mexican Free-Tailed bats coming out to feed at dusk... just me, my husband, and these beautiful bats. It was amazing, and is something that will stay with me for a long time. I am sure that I would have been amazed by this sight even if I had not read the book, but the experience was all the more enhanced by the knowledge I gained from this collection.
This is a book I will return to, I am sure, to remember these paragraphs filled to the brim with facts and stories... and will fall in love with the writing each and every time!(less)
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 focuse...moreGosh, 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.
The authors' style really resonated with me. He describes large earth-shattering revelations with such eloquence. Starting with the thesis that the de...moreThe authors' style really resonated with me. He describes large earth-shattering revelations with such eloquence. Starting with the thesis that the death/extinction of predators and "super"predators are to blame for many ecological/environmental, he delves into numerous case studies and ongoing research of many leading biologists. The first chapters discussion of the kelp forests along the Pacific rim was particularly interesting, and made a real case for the rest of the book: ecosystems MUST be looked at from the top-down, rather than the reverse. The scientists that Stolzenburg profiles methodically and systematically demonstrate how the top predators directly relate to such things as river ecology, plant/seed distribution, and seemingly unrelated things like Lyme disease.
While so many points in this book stood out, I particularly enjoyed the one time humans got it "right": the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone Park in Wyoming in the mid-1990s. It was a success story, and I presume that it remains so this day, over ten years later.
Simply put, this book was amazingly written and infinitely informative. If you care about nature, biodiversity, and the future of our planet and the creatures living on it, reading this book will help you gain insight on how setting life back into the natural balance will remedy many (unfortunately not all) of the ills we face. (less)