Brooks (Shark, p. 493, etc.) compiles a survey of nature writers at their best and worst. Not the typical descriptive examination of the wonders of animal life, weather, plants, insects, etc., this collection seeks to expose both the arrogant thinkers of bygone years (D.C. Peattie and Arthur H. Beavey), the masters (Jean-Henri Fabre and W. H. Hudson), and the prescient observers (e.g., Rachel Carson). Brooks spotlights every writer's unique bias during this kaleidoscopic, sometimes jarring tour through the African savanna of Joanna Greenfield, the desert landscape of Edward Abbey, and the ""waterland"" of Graham Swift. Glances at nature, from the minuscule to the magnificent, are deepened by Brooks's introductory essays. Curiously absent is a sense of story, although ""The Bat"" by Theodore Roethke and ""The Owl"" by Randall Jarrell toss poetry into the mix, leavening a volume that is otherwise burdened by seriousness. The philosophical tone and intellectual subject matter may be in search of an audience, but some readers will treat this as a sampler before going on to some of the original sources from which these selections were culled.