A career-spanning collection of Bruce Berger's beautiful, subtle, and spiky essays on the American desert
Occupying a space between traditional nature writing, memoir, journalism, and prose poetry, Bruce Berger's essays are beautiful, subtle, and haunting meditations on the landscape and culture of the American Southwest. Combining new, unpublished essays with selections from his acclaimed trilogy of "desert books"--The Telling Distance, There Was a River, and Almost an Island--A Desert Harvest is a career-spanning selection of the best work by this unique and undervalued voice.
Wasteland architecture, mountaintop astronomy, Bach in the wilderness, the mind of the wood rat, the canals of Phoenix, and the numerous eccentric personalities who call the desert their home all come to life in these fascinating portraits of America's seemingly desolate terrains.
Part adventure story, part manifesto, the legendary ocean explorer's passionate plea for sustaining life on earth.
Explorer, diving pioneer, filmmaker, inventor, and activist, Jacques Cousteau was blessed from his childhood with boundless curiosity about the natural world. As the leader of fascinating, often dangerous expeditions all over the planet, he discovered firsthand the complexity and beauty of life on earth and undersea and watched the toll taken by human activity in the twentieth century.
In this magnificent last book, finally available for the first time in the United States, Cousteau describes his deeply informed philosophy about protecting our world for future generations. Weaving gripping stories of his adventures throughout, he and coauthor Susan Schiefelbein address the risks we take with human health, the overfishing and sacking of the world's oceans, the hazards of nuclear proliferation, and the environmental responsibility of scientists, politicians, and people of faith. Cousteau's lyrical, passionate call for action to protect our earth and seas and their myriad life forms is even more relevant today than when this book was completed in 1996. Written over the last ten years of his life with frequent collaborator Schiefelbein, who also introduces the text and provides an update on environmental developments in the decade since Cousteau's death, this prescient, clear-sighted book is a remarkable testament to the life and work of one of our greatest modern adventurers."
Blue-green surf, pillowy white sand, and a warm salty breeze -- when it comes to restoring body and soul, no place in the world can compete with the beach. Nature's most potent antidepressant, the seashore is today -- but wasn't always -- everyone's favorite getaway spot. With an entertaining historical account as its narrative framework, this elegantly designed volume charts the evolution of the seaside from a wasteland at the margins of civilization -- remote, terror filled, and exotic -- to its present role as the central staging ground for diversions of all sorts: escape, re-creation, and congregation. A marvelous selection of images evokes the beach's hypnotic appeal -- everything from impressionist paintings and fascinating lithographs to archival photographs and quirky advertising art -- as the text explores the histories of sexuality, fashion, and sport; the rise of great resorts from Coney Island to Cap d'Antibes; and the evolution of leisure itself. Also included is an appendix of the world's most beautiful, luxurious, and unspoiled beaches. The Beach will be a pleasure to any reader who loves to settle down on the sand with a great -- and fascinating -- book.
So begins Joy McCann's Wild Sea, the remarkable story of the world's remote Southern, or Antarctic, Ocean. Unlike the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, and Arctic Oceans with their long maritime histories, little is known about the Southern Ocean. This book takes readers beyond the familiar heroic narratives of polar exploration to explore the nature of this stormy circumpolar ocean and its place in Western and Indigenous histories. Drawing from a vast archive of charts and maps, sea captains' journals, whalers' log books, missionaries' correspondence, voyagers' letters, scientific reports, stories, myths, and her own experiences, McCann embarks on a voyage of discovery across its surfaces and into its depths, revealing its distinctive physical and biological processes as well as the people, species, events, and ideas that have shaped our perceptions of it. The result is both a global story of changing scientific knowledge about oceans and their vulnerability to human actions and a local one, showing how the Southern Ocean has defined and sustained southern environments and people over time.
Beautifully and powerfully written, Wild Sea will raise a broader awareness and appreciation of the natural and cultural history of this little-known ocean and its emerging importance as a barometer of planetary climate change.
Hailed as "the great nature writer of this generation" (Wall Street Journal), Robert Macfarlane is the celebrated author of books about the intersections of the human and the natural realms. In Underland, he delivers his masterpiece: an epic exploration of the Earth's underworlds as they exist in myth, literature, memory, and the land itself.
In this highly anticipated sequel to his international bestseller The Old Ways, Macfarlane takes us on an extraordinary journey into our relationship with darkness, burial, and what lies beneath the surface of both place and mind. Traveling through "deep time"--the dizzying expanses of geologic time that stretch away from the present--he moves from the birth of the universe to a post-human future, from the prehistoric art of Norwegian sea caves to the blue depths of the Greenland ice cap, from Bronze Age funeral chambers to the catacomb labyrinth below Paris, and from the underground fungal networks through which trees communicate to a deep-sunk "hiding place" where nuclear waste will be stored for 100,000 years to come. Woven through Macfarlane's own travels are the unforgettable stories of descents into the underland made across history by explorers, artists, cavers, divers, mourners, dreamers, and murderers, all of whom have been drawn for different reasons to seek what Cormac McCarthy calls "the awful darkness within the world."
Global in its geography and written with great lyricism and power, Underland speaks powerfully to our present moment. Taking a deep-time view of our planet, Macfarlane here asks a vital and unsettling question: "Are we being good ancestors to the future Earth?" Underland marks a new turn in Macfarlane's long-term mapping of the relations of landscape and the human heart. From its remarkable opening pages to its deeply moving conclusion, it is a journey into wonder, loss, fear, and hope. At once ancient and urgent, this is a book that will change the way you see the world.
"Riveting. . . . Some readers will find Mr. Wallace-Wells's outline of possible futures alarmist. He is indeed alarmed. You should be, too."--The Economist "Potent and evocative. . . . Wallace-Wells has resolved to offer something other than the standard narrative of climate change. . . . He avoids the 'eerily banal language of climatology' in favor of lush, rolling prose."--Jennifer Szalai, The New York Times "The book has potential to be this generation's Silent Spring."--The Washington Post "The Uninhabitable Earth, which has become a best seller, taps into the underlying emotion of the day: fear. . . . I encourage people to read this book."--Alan Weisman, The New York Review of Books
The Invisible Killer is an essential book for our times and a cautionary tale we need to take heed of.
Winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction
In Amity and Prosperity, the prizewinning poet and journalist Eliza Griswold tells the story of the energy boom's impact on a small town at the edge of Appalachia and one woman's transformation from a struggling single parent to an unlikely activist.
Stacey Haney is a local nurse working hard to raise two kids and keep up her small farm when the fracking boom comes to her hometown of Amity, Pennsylvania. Intrigued by reports of lucrative natural gas leases in her neighbors' mailboxes, she strikes a deal with a Texas-based energy company. Soon trucks begin rumbling past her small farm, a fenced-off drill site rises on an adjacent hilltop, and domestic animals and pets start to die. When mysterious sicknesses begin to afflict her children, she appeals to the company for help. Its representatives insist that nothing is wrong.
Alarmed by her children's illnesses, Haney joins with neighbors and a committed husband-and-wife legal team to investigate what's really in the water and air. Against local opposition, Haney and her allies doggedly pursue their case in court and begin to expose the damage that's being done to the land her family has lived on for centuries. Soon a community that has long been suspicious of outsiders faces wrenching new questions about who is responsible for their fate, and for redressing it: The faceless corporations that are poisoning the land? The environmentalists who fail to see their economic distress? A federal government that is mandated to protect but fails on the job? Drawing on seven years of immersive reporting, Griswold reveals what happens when an imperiled town faces a crisis of values, and a family wagers everything on an improbable quest for justice.
The Last Whalers: Three Years in the Far Pacific with a Courageous Tribe and a Vanishing Way of Life
In this "immersive, densely reported, and altogether remarkable first book [with] the texture and color of a first-rate novel" (New York Times), journalist Doug Bock Clark tells the epic story of the world's last subsistence whalers and the threats posed to a tribe on the brink.
"An amazing account . . . Spectacular and deeply empathetic." --Sebastian Junger, The Perfect Storm. "A monumental achievement." --Mitchell Zuckoff, 13 Hours. "A true work of art . . . Lyrically written and richly observed." --Michael Finkel, The Stranger in the Woods. "An extraordinary feat of reportage and illumination." --Leslie Jamison, The Empathy Exams. "Remarkable, gorgeously written." --Bronwen Dickey, Pit Bull.
On a volcanic island in the Savu Sea so remote that other Indonesians call it "The Land Left Behind" live the Lamalerans: a tribe of 1,500 hunter-gatherers who are the world's last subsistence whalers. They have survived for half a millennium by hunting whales with bamboo harpoons and handmade wooden boats powered by sails of woven palm fronds. But now, under assault from the rapacious forces of the modern era and a global economy, their way of life teeters on the brink of collapse.
Award-winning journalist Doug Bock Clark, one of a handful of Westerners who speak the Lamaleran language, lived with the tribe across three years, and he brings their world and their people to vivid life in this gripping story of a vanishing culture. Jon, an orphaned apprentice whaler, toils to earn his harpoon and provide for his ailing grandparents, while Ika, his indomitable younger sister, is eager to forge a life unconstrained by tradition, and to realize a star-crossed love. Frans, an aging shaman, tries to unite the tribe in order to undo a deadly curse. And Ignatius, a legendary harpooner entering retirement, labors to hand down the Ways of the Ancestors to his son, Ben, who would secretly rather become a DJ in the distant tourist mecca of Bali.
Deeply empathetic and richly reported, The Last Whalers is a riveting, powerful chronicle of the collision between one of the planet's dwindling indigenous peoples and the irresistible enticements and upheavals of a rapidly transforming world.
The book combines intensive research with keenly observed personal experiences to present a portrait of Americans devoted to the natural diversity and spectacular uniqueness of our country. It also includes an extensive guide on where and how readers can get involved.
WINNER OF THE NATIONAL OUTDOOR BOOK AWARD
A CHICAGO TRIBUNE TOP TEN BOOK OF 2018
A GUARDIAN, NPR's SCIENCE FRIDAY, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, AND LIBRARY JOURNAL BEST BOOK OF 2018 Hailed as "deeply felt" (New York Times), "a revelation" (Pacific Standard), and "the book on climate change and sea levels that was missing" (Chicago Tribune), Rising is both a highly original work of lyric reportage and a haunting meditation on how to let go of the places we love. With every passing day, and every record-breaking hurricane, it grows clearer that climate change is neither imagined nor distant--and that rising seas are transforming the coastline of the United States in irrevocable ways. In Rising, Elizabeth Rush guides readers through some of the places where this change has been most dramatic, from the Gulf Coast to Miami, and from New York City to the Bay Area. For many of the plants, animals, and humans in these places, the options are stark: retreat or perish in place. Weaving firsthand testimonials from those facing this choice--a Staten Islander who lost her father during Sandy, the remaining holdouts of a Native American community on a drowning Isle de Jean Charles, a neighborhood in Pensacola settled by escaped slaves hundreds of years ago--with profiles of wildlife biologists, activists, and other members of these vulnerable communities, Rising privileges the voices of those too often kept at the margins. In a new afterword for the paperback edition, Rush highlights questions of storytelling, adaptability, and how to powerfully shift conversation around ongoing climate change--including the storms of 2017 and 2018: Hurricanes Harvey, Maria, Irma, Florence, and Michael.
A NATIONAL BESTSELLER
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK
AN NPR BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
ONE OF JANET MASLIN'S MUST-READ BOOKS OF THE SUMMER
A NEW YORK TIMES EDITOR'S CHOICE
ONE OF OUTSIDE MAGAZINE'S BEST BOOKS OF THE SUMMER
ONE OF AMAZON'S BEST NONFICTION BOOKS OF THE YEAR SO FAR
"A powerful and affecting story, beautifully handled by Slade, a journalist who clearly knows ships and the sea."--Douglas Preston, New York Times Book Review
"A Perfect Storm for a new generation."
--Ben Mezrich, bestselling author of The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook
On October 1, 2015, Hurricane Joaquin barreled into the Bermuda Triangle and swallowed the container ship El Faro whole, resulting in the worst American shipping disaster in thirty-five years. No one could fathom how a vessel equipped with satellite communications, a sophisticated navigation system, and cutting-edge weather forecasting could suddenly vanish--until now.
Relying on hundreds of exclusive interviews with family members and maritime experts, as well as the words of the crew members themselves--whose conversations were captured by the ship's data recorder--journalist Rachel Slade unravels the mystery of the sinking of El Faro. As she recounts the final twenty-four hours onboard, Slade vividly depicts the officers' anguish and fear as they struggled to carry out Captain Michael Davidson's increasingly bizarre commands, which, they knew, would steer them straight into the eye of the storm. Taking a hard look at America's aging merchant marine fleet, Slade also reveals the truth about modern shipping--a cut-throat industry plagued by razor-thin profits and ever more violent hurricanes fueled by global warming.
A richly reported account of a singular tragedy, Into the Raging Sea takes us into the heart of an age-old American industry, casting new light on the hardworking men and women who paid the ultimate price in the name of profit.
An Indies Introduce Selection for Summer/Fall 2019
A 2019 Okra Pick
A Publishers Weekly "Pick of the Week" From New York Times opinion writer Margaret Renkl comes an unusual, captivating portrait of a family--and of the cycles of joy and grief that inscribe human lives within the natural world. Growing up in Alabama, Renkl was a devoted reader, an explorer of riverbeds and red-dirt roads, and a fiercely loved daughter. Here, in brief essays, she traces a tender and honest portrait of her complicated parents--her exuberant, creative mother; her steady, supportive father--and of the bittersweet moments that accompany a child's transition to caregiver. And here, braided into the overall narrative, Renkl offers observations on the world surrounding her suburban Nashville home. Ringing with rapture and heartache, these essays convey the dignity of bluebirds and rat snakes, monarch butterflies and native bees. As these two threads haunt and harmonize with each other, Renkl suggests that there is astonishment to be found in common things: in what seems ordinary, in what we all share. For in both worlds--the natural one and our own--"the shadow side of love is always loss, and grief is only love's own twin." Gorgeously illustrated by the author's brother, Billy Renkl, Late Migrations is an assured and memorable debut.
A sweeping, beautiful survey of all things winter.
Brunner masterfully does in words what resilient and adventurous people have done in their lives for centuries; he finds beauty in blizzards and ice and the crystallized enchantment of snow."
--Dan Egan, Pulitzer finalist and author of The Death and Life of the Great Lakes
In Winterlust, a farmer painstakingly photographs five thousand snowflakes, each one dramatically different from the next. Indigenous peoples thrive on frozen terrain, where famous explorers perish. Icicles reach deep underwater, then explode. Rooms warmed by crackling fires fill with scents of cinnamon, cloves, and pine. Skis carve into powdery slopes, and iceboats traverse glacial lakes.
This lovingly illustrated meditation on winter entwines the spectacular with the everyday, expertly capturing the essence of a beloved yet dangerous season, which is all the more precious in an era of climate change