Tinkering With Eden

( 1 )

Overview

A bewitching look at nonnative species in American ecosystems, by the heir apparent to McKibben and Quammen.
Mosquitoes in Hawaii, sea lampreys in the Great Lakes, mountain goats in the Olympic Mountains of Washington State—not one of these species is native to the environment in which it now flourishes. Kim Todd's Tinkering with Eden is a lyrical, brilliantly written history of the introduction of exotic species into the United Sates, and how the well-meaning endeavors of ...

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Overview

A bewitching look at nonnative species in American ecosystems, by the heir apparent to McKibben and Quammen.
Mosquitoes in Hawaii, sea lampreys in the Great Lakes, mountain goats in the Olympic Mountains of Washington State—not one of these species is native to the environment in which it now flourishes. Kim Todd's Tinkering with Eden is a lyrical, brilliantly written history of the introduction of exotic species into the United Sates, and how the well-meaning endeavors of scientists, explorers, and biologists have resulted in ecological catastrophe. Todd's assured voice will haunt her readers, and the stories she tells—such as the druggist who brought starlings to America because he wanted the landscape to feature every bird mentioned by Shakespeare—will forever change how we see our increasingly afflicted landscape and its unanticipated inhabitants.

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Editorial Reviews

BookPage
A fascinating narrative enhanced by Todd's far-reaching research and rich story-telling abilities.
Bookpage
A fascinating narrative enhanced by Todd's far-reaching research and story-telling abilities.
Caroline Fraser
[B]eautifully written natural history.
Discover
Todd re-creates the all-too-often neglected human dramas...that attended the arrival of nearly a score of exotics.
New York Times Book Review
You really can't fool Mother Nature, as Kim Todd vividly shows in her fascinating, cautionary first book.
Library Journal
Many people are aware that starlings and gypsy moths are exotic species, but readers may be surprised to learn that such common critters as honeybees, ladybug beetles, brown trout, ring-necked pheasants, and many others were intentional introductions. Each chapter of this carefully researched work by a former journalist recounts the situation or problem that prompted a human to try to improve on nature, by releasing a nonnative species. Todd does a good job of explaining motivations and helping provide understanding of why people did what they did. Each chapter concludes with a description of the consequences of the introduction. With genetically modified organisms and their release being debated, there may be renewed interest in the impact of exotics. The final chapter urges readers to develop a sense of biological history. Recommended for all ecology collections and larger public libraries. Nancy Moeckel, Miami Univ. Libs., Oxford, OH Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
Todd, the recipient of the PEN/Jerard Award for this book while it was a work-in-progress, recounts how some of the approximately 4,500 exotic insects, mammals, and plants have been introduced to North America, occasionally for the better (such as with the Vedalia ladybug)<-->but more often wreaking destruction on native species. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393323245
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/1/2002
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 302
  • Sales rank: 834,365
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Winner of the PEN/Jerard Award, Kim Todd holds a B.A. from Yale University and an M.F.A. from the University of Montana. She lives in San Francisco, California.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 3
I. Initial Forays
1. The Pigeon's Progress 9
2. The Land of Milk and Honey 24
3. War Stories 39
4. Flight of the Mosquito 47
5. An Artificial Wedding 62
II. Victorian Embellishments
6. Following Silk Threads 77
7. Flush with Success 90
8. Trout Diplomacy 104
9. The Bug Hunters 118
10. Words on the Wing 135
11. Mission to the North 148
III. Here and Now
12. Improving the Olympics 169
13. Tarzan in the Empire of Sunshine 183
14. Swamp Riches 195
15. A Borderline Case 213
16. A Fly in Every Seed Head, a Weevil in Every Root 230
17. Narrow Miss 245
Afterword 251
Endnotes 257
Bibliography 267
Acknowledgments 287
Index 289
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2003

    Winner of the 2002 Sigurd Olson Nature Writing Award

    In addition to being a great book, Tinkering with Eden won the 2002 Sigurd Olson Nature Writing Award, given by the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institiute of Northland College. The award is presented to the author of a book that reflects and carries on the tradition of Sigurd Olson's writings.

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