Books by Charles Siebert

THE SECRET WORLD OF WHALES by Charles Siebert
ANIMALS
Released: May 1, 2011

Straightforward text explores many facets of whale knowledge, from myths and legends to modern efforts of preservation and protection. The history of whale hunting describes the astonishing array of products made from whales. Ironically, for years much of what was known about these massive mammals was learned from their hunters. In more recent times, scientific research continues to fascinate, as new discoveries are made by people interested in protecting whales. The whale's brain is remarkably similar to that of a human, for instance, and scientists now know that whales communicate, use tools and have self-awareness—all factors that help in their conservation. While hunting is banned in most regions nowadays, whales face a new threat: sonar, air guns and other disruptive man-made noises in the oceans. Siebert makes very clear why whales are valuable and are in need of safekeeping. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book will go to the Natural Resources Defense Council. Baker's simple line drawings show texture and detail, while the palette accurately reflects the animals in nature. Photos and archival illustrations with captions supplement the artwork. The design is whimsical without overwhelming, giving it a breezy quality. Its use as an academic resource is limited by an absence of backmatter, but it is still an engaging and worthy read and may well spur further exploration. (Nonfiction. 7-12)Read full book review >
NON-FICTION
Released: June 1, 2009

"Humans damaged Roger, but it is Siebert's very humanity—open-minded and compassionate—that offers healing. A winner."
In a refuge "built to house and heal bad dreams," New York Times Magazine contributor Siebert (A Man After His Own Heart, 2004, etc.) communes with a chimp retired from the entertainment business. Read full book review >
A MAN AFTER HIS OWN HEART by Charles Siebert
NON-FICTION
Released: April 13, 2004

"Adroit blend of personal reflection, science, and history that presents the heart as no mere pump but as the seat of the human soul."
The mystique of the human heart and its role as the brain's emotional and psychological counterbalance. Read full book review >
ANGUS by Charles Siebert
Released: May 2, 2000

"Most dog-lovers (and many others) will be moved by Angus's stories and adore being drowned in his sensibilities, which Siebert invests with many powerful lyric moments indeed."
A memoir told telepathically by a dying Jack Russell terrier named Angus who's owned by author Siebert (Wickerby: An Urban Pastoral, 1997) and his wife Bex, known herein as Huge-Head and Sweet-Voice, a questionable device when Angus the terrier knows many place names as well as the names of people he's never met. Read full book review >
WICKERBY by Charles Siebert
HISTORY
Released: Feb. 1, 1998

An anti-Thoreauvian sojourn in the Canadian wilds turns eco- lyricism on its head by spurring an iconoclastic tribute to the big bad city's natural charms. Siebert, a poet and essayist whose work has appeared in the New Yorker, Esquire, and elsewhere, proves you can take the boy out of the city but you can't take the city out of the boy. Regularly lulled to sleep by gunfire and car alarms in his Brooklyn neighborhood, he spends his first night in a ramshackle wilderness cabin with lights on, ax in hand. Throughout his summer at Wickerby—the family hideaway of his ``near-wife,'' Bex, whose absence he's come north to brood upon—he remains a reluctant naturalist, not luxuriating in isolation so much as surviving it. His narrative of the season, written as a kind of extended entry in the ongoing Wickerby journal, switches back and forth between the cabin and his Crown Heights apartment, between escape and return. Both natural and man-made wonders attract Siebert's spare, descriptive prose (``the loud, waxen-winged scatter of a rooftop crow, like a broken fleck of night sky''; ``the unsprocketed flicker of subways through bridge trellises''), but it's the city that most vividly engages his intellect: He seems to have fled civilization chiefly to perceive it more clearly. Some invocations of superior urban splendor are laughable—``A city wears the changing seasons with more ardor than the country: the isolate blossoms, the thin sweetness of thawing cement''—but meditations on the senseless slaughter of polar bears at the Brooklyn Zoo, the activities of rooftop pigeon keepers, and the grand, unfulfilled vision landscape architects Olmsted and Vaux entertained for Prospect Park form a discursive but profound commentary on our conflicting impulses to connect with and subdue nature. A welcome departure from reverent naturalism, Wickerby survives its sillier moments on the strength of Siebert's fine writing and keen eye for beauty in the margins. Read full book review >