On Extinction: How We Became Estranged from Nature

Overview


Realizing the link between her own estrangement from nature and the cultural shifts that led to a dramatic rise in extinctions, award-winning writer Melanie Challenger travels in search of the stories behind these losses. From an exploration of an abandoned mine in England to an Antarctic sea voyage to South Georgia's old whaling stations, from a sojourn in South America to a stay among an Inuit community in Canada, she uncovers species, cultures, and industries touched by extinction. Accompanying her on this ...
See more details below
Paperback (First Trade Paper Edition)
$13.69
BN.com price
(Save 23%)$17.95 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (11) from $6.06   
  • New (6) from $10.15   
  • Used (5) from $6.06   
On Extinction: How We Became Estranged from Nature

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$15.49
BN.com price
(Save 44%)$28.00 List Price

Overview


Realizing the link between her own estrangement from nature and the cultural shifts that led to a dramatic rise in extinctions, award-winning writer Melanie Challenger travels in search of the stories behind these losses. From an exploration of an abandoned mine in England to an Antarctic sea voyage to South Georgia's old whaling stations, from a sojourn in South America to a stay among an Inuit community in Canada, she uncovers species, cultures, and industries touched by extinction. Accompanying her on this journey are the thoughts of anthropologists, biologists, and philosophers who have come before her. Drawing on their words as well as firsthand witness and ancestral memory, Challenger traces the mindset that led to our destructiveness and proposes a path of redemption rooted in our emotional responses. This sobering yet illuminating book looks beyond natural devastation to examine “why” and “what's next.”
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Award-winning poet Challenger (Galatea) imbues this ambitious meditation with the courage of an explorer, the scientific curiosity of a botanist and a geologist, the excited digging of an archeologist, the compassion of a cultural anthropologist, the long reach of a historian, and the urgent concern of an environmentalist. She travels from a writer’s solitary cabin on the Ding Dong Moor, close by the ruins of a tin mine in Cornwall, England, to a journey to Antarctica with the British Antarctic Survey, back to the North Yorkshire town of Whitby, and on to the tundra of the Arctic where the language and culture of the Inuit barely survive. Eventually Challenger comes to rest in a narrowboat on the River Cam in Cambridgeshire. At every stop in her “peregrination,” she muses on evolutionary changes marked by extinctions past and present. The chief culprit of our “estrangement from nature” in the 20th century is, for her, “the urge to fuse humans and technology.” Throughout this beautifully written, moving, and important book, Challenger yearns to find that feeling of belonging to a particular place. Her connection, one comes to feel, is to the past and present of our whole precarious planet. Agent: Jessica Woollard, the Marsh Agency. (Dec.)
From the Publisher

Praise for On Extinction

On Extinction is a strange hybrid of travelogue and natural science, misted over with a wanderer’s lonesome observations of a world in the process of disappearing… Amid this solid research, there is fine and truly poetic prose…The big loops of this peregrinating work intersect in interesting ways…a strangeness is evoked, a strangeness that conveys how, in spite of all our erudition, we walk the earth in the 21st century as in a dream." —The New York Times Book Review

"A deep look at the human capacity for extinction twined with roamings to the far ends of the earth, from poet and fledgling natural historian Challenger…She has a rangy curiosity that extends well past ignorance and alienation as the sole agents of the man-made extinction…A formidable inquiry into why the marvels of nature and the distinctiveness of cultures are constantly imperiled."—Kirkus

“Erudite and impassioned, Melanie Challenger’s On Extinction is a ruminative examination on the way our 21st century world is changing quickly . . . A timely and important book, On Extinction will make you think, one of the finest things a book can do.” —The Dallas Morning News

“[Challenger] has a keen awareness of how the past is layered beneath the present, and how transient both natural and human systems are… [On Extinction] lets the reader observe a creative and intelligent mind at work on problems that face all of us.” —Columbus Dispatch

"A book which eloquently explores the unhallowedness of species extinctions and which also depicts humanity's resultant bereftness: their loss is ours."
—Jay Griffiths, author of Wild: An Elemental Journey

Library Journal
Poet Challenger (Galatea) begins this book by recalling a childhood visit to a natural history museum and her burgeoning desire to understand why extinction matters. She ends with her return to Cambridge University by way of Antarctica, and in between engages in an extended discussion of humanity's estrangement from nature in concert with a dizzying number of references to ideas, names, and places. Challenger reflects on her past, her travels, and the extinction of languages, cultures, and species, returning to a nostalgia born of industrial change, creative destruction, and distance from the natural world. VERDICT Sometimes thought provoking, sometimes enjoyable, the book is also tiring in its frenetic movement from place to place and topic to topic. Nevertheless, there is much to appreciate here. Challenger writes well and delivers some beautifully descriptive passages. Recommended for those interested in an exploration of humanity's growing distance from nature and its connection to modern society and technological innovation.—Jon Bodnar, Emory Univ. Lib., Atlanta
Kirkus Reviews
A deep look at the human capacity for extinction twined with roamings to the far ends of the earth, from poet and fledgling natural historian Challenger (Galatea, 2006, etc.). Spurred by her lack of belonging to a particular place and her sense of alarm over her ignorance of the natural world, the author struck out to investigate how such a mindset could lead to extinction of both creatures and cultures. She has a rangy curiosity that extends well past ignorance and alienation as the sole agents of the man-made extinction. As she travels from abandoned whaling stations on South Georgia Island to the wildness of Bird Island to the fraught lifestyle changes afoot in Nunavut, she examines such ideas as nostalgia being a trigger for extinction; the effects of a Hobbesian industry of survival; a grief-stricken burying of the past in a headlong rush that devastates nature; the notion, from early Christianity to Locke, of dominion; the rise of industrialization and globalization, in the process squashing the intimate and particular relationship with a place, that feeling of safety and confederacy with the land. She faces the elemental question of exactly what is natural, when all is in flux to the turbulent, indefatigable forces of change. What rises so pungently from her travels and ruminations are the vanishing cultures, the ways of life that capture the idiosyncrasy of place, how "[t]his move from distinctive cultural knowledge born of the varied attributes of landscapes to the universal cultural knowledge of technologies available worldwide is akin to the disappearance of diversity in nature." A formidable inquiry into why the marvels of nature and the distinctiveness of cultures are constantly imperiled.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781619021945
  • Publisher: Counterpoint Press
  • Publication date: 10/15/2013
  • Edition description: First Trade Paper Edition
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 1,395,330
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Melanie Challenger is the author of Galatea, an award-winning first collection of poems, and co-author, with Zlata Filipovic, of Stolen Voices, a history of twentieth-century conflict compiled through war diaries. She has received a British Council Darwin Award for her work. She lives in the Scottish Highlands.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)