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The Great Lakes: The Natural History of a Changing Region

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  82 ratings  ·  10 reviews
Ever since French explorer Samuel de Champlain's first taste of what he called "la mer douce" -- the freshwater sea -- the Great Lakes have been admired, exploited, and renewed. This vast region is a study in contrasts: a hub of industry that's the resting spot for billions of migrating birds. 40 million residents, immense untamed forests. 95 percent of North America's fre ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 28th 2007 by Greystone Books (first published September 26th 2007)
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Tim Martin
This was a good, beautifully illustrated, almost-coffee-table-book overview of the natural history of the waters and land around (and beneath) the Great Lakes. I found it a nice, general introduction and it enjoyed how it was gorgeously illustrated with many excellent full color photos, some beautiful illustrations (the fish ones especially), and a huge variety of maps.

The first chapter, “The Freshwater Seas,” is a good overview of the Great Lakes as a whole and what this book in particular is
Emilian Geczi
Dec 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: natural-history
The author writes in clear, accessible language, with the meat of the book devoted to the history and ecology of the three main types of forests found in the Great Lakes basin: boreal, Great Lakes, and Carolinian. The lake waters themselves -- their food webs, native and introduces species, and the effects of industrial pollution -- are the focus of other large chapters of the book.

The book is beautifully illustrated, although with a very strong bias toward featuring sites from the Canadian shor
John P
Jun 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
At first glance, I was drawn to the opening chapters which cover the history. geology, formation, and glaciation of the Great Lakes basin. And to be honest I didn't think I would be that interested in the chapters and flora and fauna. The first chapters did not disappoint. The later chapters, to may delight, were very interesting and readable. Each page, it seems, contains one or more interesting tidbits which keep the interest high almost right to the end. The writer does a fine job with both h ...more
Mark Schultz
Feb 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The Great Lakes: The Natural History of a Changing Region, by Wayne Grady, 2007. Canadian science writer Wayne Grady has written a great book about the Great Lakes. I do not read much science, but this book taught me a lot while giving me lots of joy. I’d recommend it to anyone planning to spend some time in or around the Great Lakes. Wonderful insights into geology (the Niagara Escarpment runs from east of Niagara Falls all around the northern edge of Lake Michigan and forms the backbone of Doo ...more
Jun 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People very interested in an overview of the great lakes basin
I really enjoyed this book. It can be a bit dry and textbook-ish at times, but at other points it reads very well for the subject matter. Overall though, it is a great overview of the geology, history, science, ecology and human impact on the great lakes. Not to mention some great photography and informative illustrations.

The book obviously can't go very deep into each subject, it would just be too much. It does include and extensive "further reading" list at the end which may prove useful.

I lea
Kym Teslik
Apr 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Written sort of like a textbook, but with much more character, this is an excellent resource for anyone looking to learn about the Great Lakes (geologic history, ecology (including various ecoregions around them), current threats to its health and biodiversity). It feels like a class by a teacher who you can tell is really interested in what they're teaching (which is my favorite kind of class!).
Dec 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: outdoor, favorites
Not a book to typically read straight through from beginning to end, but I have really enjoyed this one. The first couple of chapters were a little dry, but the rest were informative and engaging. I lived for eight years near the shore of Lake Ontario. I now live a few hours from Lake Superior, and it's interesting to learn the natural history of the Great Lakes region.
Amy Paget
Jun 13, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: great, lakes, lake, superior
The Great Lakes: the national history of a changing region is a gracefully written natural history. Growing up beside Lake Superior, this was a 'must read' for me. The text is very readable and the pictures are glorious. Our continent's inland seas must be protected.
Feb 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
"They are still the Great Lakes,...they still have the power to make the spirit soar."
Oct 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Good book to scan if you live here or visit here. Especially intetesting are the geological and forestry sections.
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Wayne Grady is the award-winning author of Emancipation Day, a novel of denial and identity. He has also written such works of science and nature as The Bone Museum, Bringing Back the Dodo, The Quiet Limit of the World, and The Great Lakes, which won a National Outdoor Book Award in the U.S. With his wife, novelist Merilyn Simonds, he co-authored Breakfast at the Exit Café: Travels Through America ...more

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