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Wild Thoughts from Wild Places (edition 1998)

by David Quammen

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248346,284 (3.99)6
Member:Marensr
Title:Wild Thoughts from Wild Places
Authors:David Quammen
Info:Scribner (1998), Hardcover, 304 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Nonfiction, Essays, Nature, Read, Signed by Author

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Wild Thoughts from Wild Places by David Quammen

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Quammen writes very short, often interesting essays in this book, but I found his all-American childhood, stories of his visits to the Cincinnati Zoo, the history of the old family house more captivating than the writing that directly concerns nature and wild things. Sure, I learned some interesting tidbits of information about the coyotes of Los Angeles, and mountains lion hunting, but it all seemed too superficial. Some of the points he makes about the bioethics of zoos, ethics of hunting, and the role of the human in changing/destroying/trying to fix its environment are well-put, but again, nothing new or revolutionary here. In fact, some essays seem more like summaries of what such-and-such expert said in this book and so-and-so believes than Quammen contributing anything new to the question at hand. So for a good intro to many bioethical arguments and interesting nature factoids, this is a great book. For someone like me, it may be too light.

Quammen's writing style is journalistic for sure, but I found that I wanted more humor, more a sense of direction, which he does not provide. I wanted a bit of Bryson or even Chatwin in there. Some of the articles certainly get lively with rather testy ethical issues, like the one about mountain lion hunting, so that was fun. ( )
  bluepigeon | Dec 15, 2013 |
Simply the best natural history essayist around today. ( )
  JNSelko | Jun 20, 2008 |
I read most of the stories in this collection, but found they got duller toward the end. A typical example is: he goes into the mountains north of Los Angeles one morning looking for coyotes. He doesn't see any coyotes but he does find a coyote skull. Trigger epiphany and end of story. He did put more effort into some of the earlier stories, though, so it is worth browsing through. ( )
1 vote breic2 | Apr 5, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 068485208X, Paperback)

In this collection of "Natural Acts" columns from the pages of Outside magazine, wide-ranging ecojournalist David Quammen turns his attention to all manner of earthly matters: the physics of flowing water and the thrills of kayaking, the evolution of supercoyotes, and the lives of famous naturalists (Charles Darwin, Gilbert White). Above all, Quammen celebrates the joys of life in the outdoors, especially in his favorite haunts in the mountains and trout streams of Montana. "We never know what he have lost, or what we have found," he writes. That may be, but in these pages you'll know that you have found a lively intelligence and wonderful natural history writing.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:27:20 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

For the past two decades, David Quammen has followed winding trails and fresh lines of thought through the world's outback.This book is a collection of twenty-three of Quammen's most intriguing, most exciting, most memorable pieces. In it you will meet seasoned professional kayakers on the Futaleufu River of southern Chile, where Quammen describes how it feels to travel in fast company and flail for survival in the river's maw. You will be introduced to the commerce in pearls (and black-market parrots) in the Aru Islands of eastern Indonesia and taken ambivalently along on a lion-hunting excursion through the mountains of Montana. At the Cincinnati Zoo, there is a lesson to be learned about the ugly truth behind those beautiful white tigers, and the celebration of a fiftieth wedding anniversary serves as occasion for pondering Einstein's ideas on the relativity of time. Even within the boundaries of smog-choked Los Angeles, Quammen finds wildness - embodied in an elusive population of urban coyotes, too stubborn and too clever to surrender to the sprawl of civilization.… (more)

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