Tuesday, September 23, 2008 - Killing Mister Watson by Peter Matthiessen

Alternatively, read part I of Shadow Country, a revised and condensed version of the trilogy, reviewed in Orion

Matthiessen interview with Charlie Rose

Monday June 23 - A Naturalist and Other Beasts by George Schaller

National Book Award winner Schaller (vice president & science director, Wildlife Conservation Soc.; The Serengeti Lion) has been a field biologist since the 1950s, and his research has taken him to some of the most remote and exotic places imaginable—e.g., the Serengeti, a savanna stretching across Tanzania and Kenya; Pakistan; Mongolia; and India. This collection of 19 of his essays focuses on animals. Some of his subjects will be well known to the reader—e.g., the tiger, jaguar, mountain gorilla—while others, such as the saola, capybara, and chiru, will be a new experience. Each relatively short essay includes an introduction by the author and describes his fieldwork and the place each animal inhabits in the greater biological web. The highlight is his recounting of personal experiences and his inclusion of numerous photos of himself, his family, and the animals in his research. Schaller makes powerful arguments for the need to continue conservation efforts. His writing will appeal to both general audiences and life scientists. Recommended for academic libraries, particularly those with natural history collections, and for all public libraries.—Marianne Stowell Bracke, Purdue Univ. Libs., West Lafayette, IN

Mar 24, 2008, Eating Stone by Ellen Meloy

Meloy offers uncommon insights into our relationship with the wild in a vivid study of desert bighorn sheep. These animals live on the most arid and rugged of terrains. Hidden, mythologized, and coveted, once abundant, then nearly extinct, bighorns have staged a stupendous comeback in spite of dwindling habitats. After closely observing these ruminative and light-footed creatures in Utah, Mexico's Chihuahuan Desert, and the Sierra Nevada, and reading up on their biology and lore, Meloy animatedly describes supermodel-perfect rams, alert ewes, and lambs given to springing "straight up in the air like a piece of toast." Between witty, self-disclosing, and metaphor-spiked field notes, Meloy offers provocative reflections on restoration ecology and the "politics of wildlife" and muses over how the loss of animals and wilderness diminishes our imagination and sense of wonder. excerpted from Donna Seaman, Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved ; Click here for another (lengthy) Review