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Books on Nature & Ecology - Reviews 

The Geography of Nowhere: The Rise and Decline of America's Man-Made Landscape by James Howard Kunstler 
In this "eminently relevant and important book" (Library Journal), the author traces the evolution of America's landscape, where every place looks like no place in particular, and where accommodating the automobile jeopardizes the individual and the environment.  -- Synopsis,
The Tracker by Tom Brown, William J. Watkins 
A story that is timeless and life-changing. I first read this book in the late 1970s and it changed my life. This book encouraged me in an already fanatical interest in tracking, which has since become a lifelong pursuit. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about nature and how to understand the intricacies of the natural world. Through intriguing stories of his own early life, Tom brings alive for the reader the lessons he learned in nature and awakens an interest in all things natural. If you want to read a book that will cause you to change the way you look at the world, that will awaken interests and feelings of wonder at the environment around you, then this is the book for you. Be prepared for a "wild" ride. (Pun intended.) -- A reader from California 
The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight: Waking up to Personal and Global Transformation by Thomas Hartmann 
Without oil to use as fuel, fertilizer, and raw material, the food supply for the planet is adequate for no more than one billion people. What will happen when the oil supplies begin to run out? How can disaster be avoided? In this call to consciousness that combines spirituality and ecology, Hartmann addresses these questions, exposes the pervasive cultural insanity that threatens the Earth, and provides realistic answers. -- Synopsis,
Searching for Yellowstone: Ecology and Wonder in the Last Wilderness  by Paul D. Schullery In 1997 Yellowstone celebrated its 125th anniversary as a national park, the keystone in the federal system of reserved and protected places. The celebration was somewhat marred by debates over wolf reintroduction, road improvement, resort building, and "bioprospecting," the search for economically useful plant materials. Paul Schullery, a longtime resident and student of the park, tells us that such debates are not new. In his deeply personal yet sweeping history of Yellowstone, he shows that the place known from the start as "Wonderland" has always been the subject of pro- and anti-development forces, has always been seen through sometimes bitterly contrasting points of view. With balance and grace, Schullery weaves his narrative through countless such arguments, noting that "Today's parks, for all the press of humanity lined up to get in, still seem short of friends, or at least lacking in just the right combination of friends to ensure adequate budgets and reasonable protection." His fine book may help widen Yellowstone's circle of champions.  -- Nature and Ecology Editor's Recommended Book,
Riddle of the Ice: A Scientific Adventure into the Arctic by Myron Arms 
The work of Myron Arms represents the best qualities of literary science writing; his intelligent, curious mind spins lyrical accounts of natural phenomena and the world around us. During a 1991 sailing expedition off the coast of Labrador, the author is blocked by a surprising and frustrating mass of ice--an unusual event occurring out of season and during a particularly warm summer. Riddle of the Ice is the result of that trip, and although the riddle is never really answered, we are treated to a fun--and informative--shaggy-dog inquiry that probes nautical science, weather patterns, and deep shifts in our environment. All of this is told in an engaging voice capable of turning an implacable mass of ice into a richly textured character at the center of a strange mystery.  -- 
The Adirondacks: A History of America's First Wilderness  by Paul Schneider The vast Adirondack region of upstate New York is very much a wilderness, but one ringed by towns and close enough to major cities that it is heavily traveled. Long viewed as a natural playground, the Adirondacks were a favorite haunt of transcendentalist philosophers Henry Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, of conservationists such as Franklin Burroughs and Theodore Roosevelt, of bohemians and hippies, and of back-to-the-land types. Still wild enough that wolf reintroduction has been proposed for the Adirondacks, the territory remains a powerfully inspiring place of refuge and recreation. Paul Schneider tells the story of this river-laced, forested land with imagination and a flair for just the right anecdote.  -- Nature and Ecology Editor's Recommended Book,
In a Dark Wood: The Fight over Forests and the Rising Tyranny of Ecology by Alston Chase 
Chase begins by tracing the swath of logging from east to west, the efforts of silviculturists to achieve timber sustainability, and the evolution of ideas that have led to the "teleological myth" of ecology. Next he recounts the attempts by ecologists, principally Earth First!ers, to block logging in the Northwest, initially to preserve old-growth forests. In addition to finding biocentric beliefs offensive, Chase also appears to find the Earth First!ers' lifestyles as nasty as their terrorist tactics, and the narrative devolves into irrelevant tattle and ridicule. Perhaps because of this antipathy, he is persuasive in his sympathetic depiction of the plight of the logging community. Chase's pro-forestry contribution to the ongoing controversy of whether habitat preservation is essential, nonessential, or detrimental to species survival is also effective, and examples are provided of some deleterious consequences of preservation, such as the nationwide overabundance of deer. 
-- Brenda Grazis, Booklist Copyright© 1995, American Library Association. All rights reserved 
The Dying of the Trees: The Pandemic in America's Forests by Charles E. Little 
Environmentalist and journalist Charles Little argues that the present-day phenomenon of widespread tree death in America has less to do with normal rhythms of decline and regeneration than it has to do with the accumulated consequences of some 150 years of headlong economic development and industrial expansion.  -- Booknews, Inc.
Eastern Forests (Audubon Society Nature Guides) by Ann Sutton, Myron Sutton, National Audubon Society, Charles Elliott (Editor) 
A comprehensive field guide, fully illustrated with color photographs, to the trees, wildflowers, insects, birds, and other natural wonders of North America's eastern forests and woodlands, from Hudson Bay to Florida.  -- 
The River Reader (The Nature Conservancy Readers) by John A. Murray 
The selections in this inaugural volume of what promises to be a superb classic on contemporary nature writing are simply stunning. Spanning three continents and two centuries, River flows through banks lush with the words and observations of Thoreau and Hemingway, Barry Lopez and Annie Dillard, Mark Twain and Meriwether Lewis, John James Audubon and Joseph Conrad. "Pick a river, any river," challenges Murray in his broad introduction. "If you sit beside it long enough you will hear many things, and most of them are worth waiting for." He might just as well have applied the test to the pieces he's chosen here. Pick one, any one, it really doesn't matter. Each is worth a good deal more than the time it will take to dip in, read, and savor.  --Jeff Silverman,
Gifts from Nature by Matthew Mead, Monica Buck (Photographer), Jill Kirchner Simpson 
"Nature is an extraordinary gift," says designer Matthew Mead, "one that is perennially given to us, and one that we can give and share with others." And you don't need your own garden, either--Mead explains how to make the most out of nature walks, beachcombing treks, or an outdoor wintertime excursion, and he offers numerous mail-order sources in case you're stuck in the city or your foraging trips don't yield all the materials you need. Guiding us through every season, Gifts from Nature is packed with a multitude of ideas, including recipes. Spring offers the delights of early blooms, a garland of pastel Easter eggs, a floral May basket. From the endless bounty of summer come fruit-filled taste treats, pressed flowers and ferns, home accessories featuring seashells and beach glass. Autumn affords crafting with colorful leaves and berries, brewing up spicy teas, cooking with cranberries. The unique beauty of winter gives us graceful natural arrangements for table, mantel, and tree; there's even a seaside Christmas utilizing beach treasures. Many ideas are meant to be enjoyed with loved ones (particularly the edible ones), but even more than making presents for others, this is a book about giving the gift of nature to yourself, using it to fill your home and thereby sharing it with the world.  --Amy Handy,
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