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Nature's Ghosts: Confronting Extinction from the Age of Jefferson to the Age of Ecology

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  28 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews

The rapid growth of the American environmental movement in recent decades obscures the fact that long before the first Earth Day and the passage of the Endangered Species Act, naturalists and concerned citizens recognized—and worried about—the problem of human-caused extinction.

 

As Mark V. Barrow reveals in Nature’s Ghosts, the threat of species loss has haunted America

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Hardcover, 512 pages
Published October 15th 2009 by University of Chicago Press (first published 2009)
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David Spanagel
Jan 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Several sections of Mark Barrow's book could serve as excellent targeted reading assignments in my interdisciplinary course on Extinctions. In particular, I am excited about pointing future students to Mark's cogent discussions of:
- the global awakening that some Americans experienced after early 20th century efforts to negotiate a Migratory Bird Treaty ("Crossing Boundaries" pp. 140-148);
- efforts to understand and prevent extinction of the heath hen ("The Trials and Tribulations of the Heath
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David Bates
Apr 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
In Nature’s Ghosts Mark Barrow relates the slow progress of the idea of extinction within scientific thought during the 19th and 20th centuries. Only slowly did the understanding that a species could entirely vanish from the vast realm of nature, or that humankind could be responsible, gain a foothold. In the early nineteenth century the possibility did not accord with the general belief in the stability of the created world, and the Great Chain of Being. Confronted with fossil specimens forward ...more
Kirsten
Nov 04, 2010 rated it liked it
This dude gets an A+ for thorough research, and at times this book flew by. At other times, it dragged on.
Essentially this book chronologically lays out the study of natural history from the earliest European hobbyists and some native cultures to the environmental movement in the 1970s. It only talks briefly about what is being done now.
There are a lot of names, old dead people, and moldy studies on extinct animals, but it is interesting to see the progression and change of attitudes through t
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Nathan
A brisk yet cursory overview of the conservation movement in its various iterations. The narrative is energetic and broad, though sometimes at the expense of detail and almost always at the expense of emotional appeal. Just as well; Barrow's refusal to fetishize the more charismatica animals and his dispassionate analysis of the disappearance of species is more effective than if he had aimed for an emotional appeal.
His history of the political machinations behind various conservation movements,
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Craig
Jun 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Enjoyed the book. Use it as a reference to advocate for wildlife by learning from the ones who started the movement. I see what was successful and try to apply it as they did.
Stephen
Sep 14, 2010 rated it liked it
Good overview. Seemingly without bias. Factual and well written.
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