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Wild Thoughts from Wild Places

Wild Thoughts from Wild Places

by David Quammen, Maria Guarnaschelli, Renee Wayne Golden

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A two-time winner of the National Magazine Award takes readers from the central Amazon to the streets of New York to explore scientific facts, ideas, and wonders.


A two-time winner of the National Magazine Award takes readers from the central Amazon to the streets of New York to explore scientific facts, ideas, and wonders.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
"Humanity badly needs things that are big and fearsome and homicidally wild," contends acclaimed science writer Quammen (The Song of the Dodo) in this collection of short pieces, most of which appeared originally in Outside magazine. Quammen is an eloquent and witty apologist for the forces of nature that "civilized" people often want tamed: whitewater rivers, avalanche-prone peaks, even cougars or coyotes living near suburban backyards. Despite the dangers and inconveniences such forces might pose to people, "they give us perspective," Quammen writes. "They testify that God... might not be dead after all." Though his point of view is often not especially original and his analyses are necessarily brief, Quammen brings a well-honed sense of irony to essays that range from meditations on trout habitats to an exploration of Tasmanian geography and genocide. He is at his best when he muses on the deeper meanings of such phenomena as the physical properties of vortices, the life cycles of the barnacle or the evolutionary benefits of mammalian monogamy. Some essays, however, like "You Can Run," which deals with viral outbreaks, seem datedas do the several pieces on kayaking and skiing competitions. While Quammen's sportswriting is superior to most, it isn't outstanding enough to merit inclusion here. Nevertheless, the collection as a whole is distinguished by Quammen's broad-ranging intelligence, keen wit and unabashed passion for wild things and places. (Feb.)
Library Journal
Quammen (Song of the Dodo, LJ 3/1/96), a former columnist for Outside magazine, where most of these pieces originally appeared, has compiled 28 of his essays for this book. His subjects range from kayaking to telemark skiing to cancer to urban pigeons. Quammen is an often perceptive viewer of the landscape and a persistent interviewer. Occasionally, his essays go on too long, as evidenced by his fascination with telemark skiing. Others demand greater investigation, such as his examination of emerging viruses. In these cases, Quammen offers a starting point for further study. His choice of topics is sometimes quirky and highly eclectic, but usually he manages to engage the reader. Recommended for public libraries with active natural history collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 10/1/97.]Randy Dykhuis, Michigan Lib. Consortium, Lansing
NY Times Book Review
He has a wide range of knowledge, an agile pen and a generous heart.

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6.49(w) x 9.56(h) x 1.15(d)

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