Into the Porcupine Cave and Other Odysseys: Adventures of an Occasional Naturalist

Overview

William Warner's adventures have taken him from the southernmost point of South America to North America's northernmost permanent Eskimo community. He's been mobbed by howler monkeys in the Guatemalan rain forest, cruised the Florida Keys in the company of hardcore birders, and experienced the solitude of Maine's most isolated lighthouse. Always and everywhere, he has looked around him with the fascination of a born naturalist.
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Overview

William Warner's adventures have taken him from the southernmost point of South America to North America's northernmost permanent Eskimo community. He's been mobbed by howler monkeys in the Guatemalan rain forest, cruised the Florida Keys in the company of hardcore birders, and experienced the solitude of Maine's most isolated lighthouse. Always and everywhere, he has looked around him with the fascination of a born naturalist.
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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Elegant, low-profile, life-shaping events in the outdoors, from naturalist Warner. Collected here in ten essays are just the type of experiences that in their undramatic way quietly become the stuff of memory. For Warner, these indelible episodes took place in nature, and the why of this is explained in a moving introductory piece on his first forays into the wild under the tutelage of his irascible step-grandfather, who served in lieu of a father. The incidents cum adventures include digging for fossils in central Utah with a friend and a professor from Princeton in 1941 (said friend then shipping out after Pearl Harbor and dying in the Pacific), and hearing the thunderous slap of orcas' flukes reverberate through the Patagonian hills ("I wanted to explore la tiera mas austral del mundo I would do this entirely on my own, using only public transportation wherever such existed") again in the early 1940s. During the same war that killed his friend, he first viewed a coral reef community through a pair of Hawaiian spear-fishing goggles made of wood and glass and an inner tube, and began asking all the right questions: Why all the color? Why all the variety? Why does this phenomenon touch me so? Some of the locales are impossibly remote or just plain difficult to get to—Ellesmere Island, the Virginia barrier islands—while other places ensnare him in their force field, such as the Dry Tortugas, where amid the noddies and frigates and boobies of every persuasion a merlin dives and plucks a warbler from the air within inches of his ear. Such breadth of subject matter is no problem for Warner, who has a natural storyteller's talent for enthralling readers on any topic he chooses.Some 20 years ago, Warner won a deserved Pulitzer for his transcendent book Beautiful Swimmers: Watermen, Crabs, and the Chesapeake Bay. These essays have an equal understated beauty and display the same seasoned understanding of the natural world. .
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780792276883
  • Publisher: National Geographic Society
  • Publication date: 6/1/2000
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.49 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.58 (d)

Table of Contents

A Prologue, By the Sea 1
Into the Porcupine Cave 16
Shorty, Slim, and the Cave Demon 35
The Night of the Whales 61
The Fishes of Peleliu 84
The River and the Howlers 113
Watching the Birds, Watching the Watchers 149
With a Little Help 174
A Short Journey to the Unknown 203
Saddleback 223
Author's Note 239
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