A Celebration of the World's Barrier Islands / Edition 1

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Overview

From the Carolina Outer Banks to New York's Fire Island, from Iceland to the Netherlands and Colombia to Vietnam, barrier islands protect much of the world's coastlines from the ravages of the sea. Although these islands are vastly different in many ways, they also share many common features. Most dramatic among these is their dynamism — barrier islands are in almost constant motion, their advances and retreats powerful testimony to the force and beauty of nature — and their vulnerability in the face of a different kind of force, commercial and residential development.

This first-of-its-kind survey of barrier islands around the globe had its genesis in 1993, when geologist Orrin Pilkey met artist Mary Edna Fraser at Cape Lookout National Seashore in North Carolina. They soon realized they shared a passion for the barriers, one heightened by the many threats the islands face from development and global warming. These fragile and irreplaceable jewels, Pilkey and Fraser determined, needed to be better understood, and, as important, to be seen in a new way, if they were to be saved.

Every bit as dynamic as the islands they depict, Mary Edna Fraser's spectacular original batik artwork (silk cloth colored by hand using a modern variation of an ancient dyeing technique) has been exhibited in both science and art museums. Combined with Orrin Pilkey's engaging and informative text, they create a treasure of a book that is at once beautiful and rigorously scientific. Pilkey identifies three major types of barriers — coastal plains, Arctic, and delta — each with its own geological characteristics and particular morphologies, which are themselves shaped by several factors, including the absence or presence of underlying rock formations, tidal patterns, and vegetation. Employing the latest advances in geological mapping, Pilkey also identifies traces of ancient barriers marking long-lost shorelines — a further reminder that in the geological dance of land and sea, change is the only constant.

Praise for Mary Edna Fraser and her art:

"Pilot with a palette... as much of an artist in the midst of the creative process as Picasso laboring over his easel." — Michael Kilian, Chicago Tribune

"Fraser's works depict an organization and sensuousness in the land that is visible only from the air." — Susan Lawson-Bell, National Air & Space Museum

"Exhibited and collected around the world, her batiks have a common theme: promoting the awareness of environmental beauty and change on the planet as seen from the air. " — Carolyn Russo, Women and Flight

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Coast - Mary Ellen Riddle
A book that not only is intellectually stimulating but aesthetically pleasing...Pilkey's book is eye opening and should be required reading.
Fiberarts Magazine - Linda Kaun
Pilkey's and Fraser's collaboration produces an emotional response to the beauty of our planet, one which proves that science and art can together deepen understanding.
Palaois - Laura J. Moore
If there is one book poised to have a positive impact on the future of the world's disappearing barrier islands, this is it.
Geomorphology - Derek J. McGlashan
This is an interesting and yet unusual book... It is a welcome addition.
Choice
[Pilkey] uses lively, engaging language to explain the origin, the long-term evolution, and the day-to-day processes that determine the distribution and morphological splendor of barrier islands... Original illustrations are magnificent and complement the elegance of the book.
Coast
A book that not only is intellectually stimulating but aesthetically pleasing...Pilkey's book is eye opening and should be required reading.

— Mary Ellen Riddle

Fiberarts Magazine
Pilkey's and Fraser's collaboration produces an emotional response to the beauty of our planet, one which proves that science and art can together deepen understanding.

— Linda Kaun

Palaois
If there is one book poised to have a positive impact on the future of the world's disappearing barrier islands, this is it.

— Laura J. Moore

Geomorphology
This is an interesting and yet unusual book... It is a welcome addition.

— Derek J. McGlashan

Richmond Times-Dispatch - Ann Lloyd Merriman
The fragility of those coastal areas is explored in Orrin Pilkey's A Celebration of the World's Barrier Islands which takes readers on an illustrated jaunt to many of the barrier islands worldwide.
Times Higher Education Supplement - Andrew Goudie
The global scope of this book is impressive.... this attractive book will succeed in stimulating other scientists to write about geomorphological features for the general public.
Oceanography - Harold D. Palmer
This is an attractive and thoughtful book...Highly recommended to all whose interests include coastal environments.
Charleston Post
A marriage of expertise and aesthetics.
New Yorker
Delicate renderings of the islands by artist Mary Edna Fraser look like vivid aerial-view paintings but are actually batik prints of the coasts, counterbalancing Pilkey's careful study of the 'restless ribbons of sand.'
New Scientist
It's a wonderful tour, richly illustrated with colour and black and white photos. Mary Edna Fraser's silk batiks deserve special mention. They capture the sense of the islands remarkably well, giving us a keen birdseye view of the land.
Richmond Times-Dispatch
The fragility of those coastal areas is explored in Orrin Pilkey's A Celebration of the World's Barrier Islands which takes readers on an illustrated jaunt to many of the barrier islands worldwide.

— Ann Lloyd Merriman

Natural History
Pilkey provides an informative guide to the wheres and wherefores of barrier islands — from the vacation meccas off the east coast of North America, to the exotic carbonate archipelagos of Mozambique, to the ice-battered slivers of tundra that line the Arctic Ocean. Aerial and satellite photographs illustrate each geological peculiarity that the text brings into focus, but the most remarkable images in the book are the batiks created by Mary Edna Fraser.
Choice

[Pilkey] uses lively, engaging language to explain the origin, the long-term evolution, and the day-to-day processes that determine the distribution and morphological splendor of barrier islands... Original illustrations are magnificent and complement the elegance of the book.

Southeastern Naturalist
This book serves as a fine introduction to the world's diverse barrier islands, yet provides an enormous wealth of information.
Times Higher Education Supplement
The global scope of this book is impressive.... this attractive book will succeed in stimulating other scientists to write about geomorphological features for the general public.

— Andrew Goudie

Oceanography
This is an attractive and thoughtful book...Highly recommended to all whose interests include coastal environments.

— Harold D. Palmer

The New Yorker
After the Great Mississippi Flood, in 1927, which cost more than a thousand lives and a billion dollars in damages, a massive network of levees was constructed to tame the river's turbulent flow. The river had been constantly shifting to find the shortest distance to the ocean, thereby depositing a fan of rich sediment into the Gulf of Mexico. As Mike Tidwell reports in Bayou Farewell, these levees, along with other man-made intrusions, have accelerated erosion in the Delta. "The whole ragged sole of the Louisiana boot, an area the size of Connecticut -- three million acres -- is literally washing out to sea," Tidwell writes. As the marshland recedes, a distinct regional culture is going with it. On the Cajun bayou, Tidwell fishes near sunken cemeteries and hitches a ride with a shrimp-boat captain who steers the wheel with his toes. By airplane, Tidwell observes the death by drowning of some of the region's barrier islands, which serve equally as avian habitats and buffers for hurricanes.

The marine geologist Orrin H. Pilkey extols the value of barrier islands in the Louisiana Delta, but questions the cost of preservation, asserting that attempts to slow the natural "rolling over" of such islands are futile. "Very large amounts of money will be expended to hold the line in the mud," he writes in A Celebration of the World's Barrier Islands. Delicate renderings of the islands by artist Mary Edna Fraser look like vivid aerial-view paintings but are actually batik prints of the coasts, counterbalancing Pilkey's careful study of the "restless ribbons of sand." Citing the inland transplant of lighthouses, as at Cape Hatteras, Pilkey urges beach lovers not to demand permanency: "The barrier islands of the world are telling us that they need to be free to survive."

(Lauren Porcaro)
Library Journal
Pilkey (geology, Duke Univ.) has written a highly engaging and intelligent book on the fragile beauty of barrier islands. Accompanied by artist Fraser's original batik artwork, his text identifies and then discusses the various types of barrier islands found across the world, giving the reader a clear idea of why these fragile ecosystems deserve both our attention and our protection. Chapters are broken down by island type, with each discussing the history, lore, and potential ecological future of each type, supplemented by relevant photographs, batiks, and references. The appendix provides useful and relevant information, such as island distribution, barrier island types, and endangered and threatened species that use barrier island habitats, and a glossary assists those unfamiliar with any of the terms. A highly recommended and affordable work for most, if not all, academic libraries, particularly those that support coastal, environmental, or marine programs.-Susan E. Brazer, Salisbury Univ. Lib., MD Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231119702
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 6/11/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Orrin H. Pilkey is James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of Geology and director of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Duke University. He is the recipient of many awards, including the Francis Shepard Award for Excellence in Marine Geology, and the author or editor of many books, including The Beaches Are Moving: The Drowning of America's Shoreline, Living by the Rules of the Sea, and The Corps and the Shore.Mary Edna Fraser is a renowned artist specializing in the production of large-scale batiks, many based on aerial photographs. Her work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, the Duke University Museum of Art, the National Science Foundation, and the National Academy of Sciences.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

List of IllustrationsPrefacePrologue1. Dennis Roars Ashore: A Beneficial Catastrophe2. The Global Picture3. The American Barrier Island Scene: Hot Dogs and Drumsticks4. Barrier Islands and Human Realities: Awash in Politics5. Delta Barrier Islands: That Sinking Feeling6. Colombia's Pacific Islands: A Subsiding Tropical Paradise7. The Carbonate Islands: Tropical Permafrost8. Lagoon Barriers: The Quiet Ones9. The Icelandic Islands: Of Fire and Ice10. The Arctic Islands: The Cold and Dark Ones11. False Islands: Things Aren't What They Seem to Be12. Requiem for Some FriendsArtist's NotesGlossary of TermsReferences CitedAppendixTable 1. Global Barrier IslandsTable 2. Delta Barrier IslandsTable 3. Arctic Barrier IslandsTable 4. Endangered Species

Columbia University Press

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