An Explorer's Notebook

Overview


Best known today for The Weather Makers, his #1 international bestseller, Tim Flannery is one of the world’s most influential scientists, a foremost expert on climate change credited with discovering more species than Charles Darwin. But Flannery didn’t come to his knowledge overnight. With its selection of exhilarating essays and articles written over the past 25 years, An Explorer’s Notebook charts the evolution of a young scientist doing fieldwork in remote locations to the major thinker who has changed the ...
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An Explorer's Notebook: Essays on Life, History, and Climate

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Overview


Best known today for The Weather Makers, his #1 international bestseller, Tim Flannery is one of the world’s most influential scientists, a foremost expert on climate change credited with discovering more species than Charles Darwin. But Flannery didn’t come to his knowledge overnight. With its selection of exhilarating essays and articles written over the past 25 years, An Explorer’s Notebook charts the evolution of a young scientist doing fieldwork in remote locations to the major thinker who has changed the way we think about global warming.

In over thirty pieces, Flannery writes about his journeys in the jungles of New Guinea and Indonesia, about the extraordinary people he met and the species he discovered. He writes about matters as wide-ranging as love, insects, population, water and the stresses we put on the environment. He shows us how we can better predict our future by understanding the profound history of life on Earth. And he chronicles the seismic shift in the world’s attitude toward climate change. An Explorer’s Notebook is classic Flannery—wide-ranging, eye-opening science, conveyed with richly detailed storytelling.

“Tim Flannery is in the league of all-time great explorers like Dr. David Livingstone.”—Sir David Attenborough

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
11/04/2013
With 33 essays spanning 27 years, the collection from Australian scientist, explorer, and conservationist Flannery covers a lot of ground, both geographically and philosophically. This range is both an asset and a drawback. Given the breadth of coverage, there’s likely something for everyone, but the short essays do not fully satisfy. Many of the early pieces were published in Australian Natural History and detail some of Flannery’s expeditions to wild places like the Star Mountains of Papua New Guinea and the Gold Ridge of Guadalcanal. While the adventures are interesting, the writing feels lackluster. The book’s largest section consists of book reviews, most of which were originally published in the New York Review of Books. Even though many of the titles covered are now over a decade old, the reviews are a joy to read, as Flannery embeds his analysis in a larger scientific and political context. The final section includes essays on climate change, and while Flannery’s passion is evident, the short pieces are superficial. They are also dated; the optimism of his final essay in which he asserts that meaningful global understanding and change is finally occurring has certainly not panned out as he assumed. (Feb.)
From the Publisher

“[Flannery] is a cultural landmark. . . . Long may he write. . . . Enthusiasm, wonder, the love of the chase, are all part of Flannery’s science, as is the writerly engine of not knowing how things are going to turn out until the business is done. . . . Flannery’s writerly art stirs the imagination to pay attention.”—Australian

“Richly detailed accounts of his work and life as an explorer.”—Booklist

“Highly readable. . . . In this book, Flannery offers readers insight into his extraordinary career. . . . Accessible, provocative and well worth investigating.”—Kirkus Reviews

“[Flannery’s] reviews are a joy to read.”—Publishers Weekly

“It’s . . . an ongoing pleasure to review Flannery’s books. . . . Take away all the other things Flannery has done in his 19th-century-style crowded life and you still have one hell of a writer. . . . There’s a tone of undisguised wonder running through virtually all the pieces in this latest collection.”—Open Letters Monthly

Library Journal
09/15/2013
An international best-selling author who has discovered more species than Charles Darwin, Flannery presents 30 pieces written over 25 years that constitute a portrait of his education as a scientist. Readers travel to New Guinea and Indonesia to meet the people and animals Flannery has encountered.
Kirkus Reviews
2014-01-04
An eminent Australian scientist and environmentalist's collection of 33 highly readable essays and book reviews published between 1985 and 2012. Flannery (Among the Islands: Adventures in the Pacific, 2012, etc.) began his career as a student field biologist in the 1970s. By the 1980s, he was studying fossils as well as the evolution of kangaroos. Realizing that "rainforests were the habitat of much of Australia's flora and fauna," the author began studying living rain forests. This led to an interest in how climate influenced life on the planet both in the past and present. In this book, Flannery offers readers insight into his extraordinary career through selected essays he wrote about his own work as well as about the books that have shaped his thinking. The first section focuses on articles Flannery produced during almost 20 years in the field. It includes fascinating accounts of journeys he made to New Guinea to rediscover the elusive Bulmer's fruit bat and to study rare species of tree kangaroos. In the second section, Flannery gathers together the reviews he wrote for the New York Review of Books and the Times Literary Supplement. His reading tastes run the gamut from ecological investigations by Sir David Attenborough to natural histories of man-eating predators and scorpions to biographies about John James Audubon and Rachel Carson; the reviews are both eloquent and trenchant. In the third section of the book, Flannery shares his articles on climate change. Written in the first decade of the 21st century, most of these essays critique the Australian government's "disparagement" of renewable energy in favor of "dirty" and/or dangerous sources like coal and nuclear power. This last section is the weakest of the book, largely due to the fact that the essays (which were published between 2006 and 2007) are somewhat dated. Accessible, provocative and well worth investigating.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802122315
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/4/2014
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 1,407,190
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Tim Flannery is a scientist, explorer and conservationist. He has published more than 130 peer-reviewed scientific papers and many books including the international bestseller The Weather Makers, which has been translated into more than 20 languages, Throwim' Way Leg, Here on Earth, and Among the Islands. He was named Australian of the Year in 2007 and in 2011 he was appointed to head the Climate Change Commission established by Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

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