For those ready to do battle to save endangered species, Ellis's book provides plenty of factual ammunition.
— The Washington Post
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) frequently relies on medicines created from the body parts of animals that are rumored to have curative properties. Sea horses, for example, when consumed in large quantities, are alleged to cure everything from asthma to impotency. A worldwide interest in alternative medicine and the ease of international commerce have put dozens of species worldwide-such as American bears and African rhinos-at risk. The problem is serious, which makes it all the more unfortunate that veteran nature writer Ellis (The Empty Ocean) dilutes the issue by devoting so much space to other reasons why various species are on the verge of extinction. He also seems reluctant to blame TCM itself for creating the problem, especially given the lack of evidence of medical benefits for many of its practices. Ellis repeatedly puts forth the altruistic notion that if people only knew these remedies were obtained at the risk of other species' extinction, demand would decrease. Similarly, he suggests that making Viagra widely available will reduce the market for animal-based aphrodisiacs. Such optimism suggests that, while Ellis displays an exemplary knowledge of the animal kingdom, he has a few things left to learn about human nature. B&w photos. (June 30) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Richard Ellisis the author of many books including The Empty Ocean (Island Press, 2003), Great White Shark (Harper Collins, 1991), Imagining Atlantis (Knopf, 1998), The Search for the Giant Squid (Lyons, 1998), Aquagenesis (Viking, 2001), and No Turning Back (Harper Collins, 2004). Ellis is a research associate at the American Museum of Natural History, as well as a celebrated artist whose works have been exhibited in museums worldwide.