A TRAVELER'S GUIDE TO THE END OF THE WORLD

TALES OF FIRE, WIND, AND WATER

Excellent environmental journalism, light on optimism.

A climate change polemic that attempts to be less apocalyptic than most.

Early on in his latest book, award-winning nature writer Gessner, author of All the Wild That Remains, presents a droll cartoon illustrating how to write a nature essay in six panels: “Find something. Contemplate it. Express awe. Quote Thoreau. Describe threats. End hopefully.” Despite admitting that “my faith in number six is wavering,” he aims to describe what the world will be like when his daughter reaches his age, in 2063. A veteran journalist, he has no trouble finding bad news. Climate change has damaged places he has lived—hurricanes in North Carolina, fires in Colorado—and he chronicles his travels to Norfolk, Virginia, where Atlantic tides are already rolling through downtown, and southern Louisiana. The latter has become a poster child for environmental ruin after a massive oil spill followed by a steady annual ooze and five recent hurricanes that have left a landscape of abandoned towns, crumbling homes, a forest of oil rigs that continue to provide close to 20% of U.S. oil production, and countless dead birds and other wildlife. Perhaps uniquely in the U.S., few quarrel with estimates that the region will be underwater within a century. Despite a few bright spots—e.g., Glen Canyon’s lake in Arizona is not doing badly—the future looks grim, as the environment remains a low priority for most Americans and the subject itself has been swept up in witless sectarian politics. Gessner quotes veteran geoscientist and climate activist Orrin Pilkey: “What we are experiencing, along with the rising sea, is a tsunami of anti-intellectualism. Science is at a new low in the public’s view….I think the coal and oil companies, aided by politicians, have done fundamental damage to science in this country. It’s true we are not always right. But we deserve to be listened to.”

Excellent environmental journalism, light on optimism.

Pub Date: June 20, 2023

ISBN: 9781948814812

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Torrey House Press

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2023

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ELON MUSK

Alternately admiring and critical, unvarnished, and a closely detailed account of a troubled innovator.

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A warts-and-all portrait of the famed techno-entrepreneur—and the warts are nearly beyond counting.

To call Elon Musk (b. 1971) “mercurial” is to undervalue the term; to call him a genius is incorrect. Instead, Musk has a gift for leveraging the genius of others in order to make things work. When they don’t, writes eminent biographer Isaacson, it’s because the notoriously headstrong Musk is so sure of himself that he charges ahead against the advice of others: “He does not like to share power.” In this sharp-edged biography, the author likens Musk to an earlier biographical subject, Steve Jobs. Given Musk’s recent political turn, born of the me-first libertarianism of the very rich, however, Henry Ford also comes to mind. What emerges clearly is that Musk, who may or may not have Asperger’s syndrome (“Empathy did not come naturally”), has nurtured several obsessions for years, apart from a passion for the letter X as both a brand and personal name. He firmly believes that “all requirements should be treated as recommendations”; that it is his destiny to make humankind a multi-planetary civilization through innovations in space travel; that government is generally an impediment and that “the thought police are gaining power”; and that “a maniacal sense of urgency” should guide his businesses. That need for speed has led to undeniable successes in beating schedules and competitors, but it has also wrought disaster: One of the most telling anecdotes in the book concerns Musk’s “demon mode” order to relocate thousands of Twitter servers from Sacramento to Portland at breakneck speed, which trashed big parts of the system for months. To judge by Isaacson’s account, that may have been by design, for Musk’s idea of creative destruction seems to mean mostly chaos.

Alternately admiring and critical, unvarnished, and a closely detailed account of a troubled innovator.

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2023

ISBN: 9781982181284

Page Count: 688

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023

THE ELEPHANTS OF THULA THULA

A heartwarming and inspiring story for animal lovers.

The third volume in the Elephant Whisperer series.

In this follow-up to An Elephant in My Kitchen, Malby-Anthony continues her loving portrait of the Thula Thula wildlife reserve, which she co-founded in 1998 with her late husband, South African conservationist Lawrence Anthony, who published the first book in the series, The Elephant Whisperer, in 2009. Following his death in 2012, Malby-Anthony sought to honor his legacy by continuing his vision “to create a massive conservancy in Zululand, incorporating our land and other small farms and community land into one great big game park.” At the same time, the elephants gave her “a sense of purpose and direction.” In the Zulu language, thula means quiet, and though the author consistently seeks to provide that calm to her charges, peace and tranquility are not always easy to come by at Thula Thula. In this installment, Malby-Anthony discusses many of the challenges faced by her and her staff, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic. These included an aggressive, 2-ton rhino named Thabo; the profound loss felt by all upon the death of their elephant matriarch, Frankie; difficulty obtaining permits and the related risk of having to relocate or cull some of their animals; the fear of looting and fire due to civil unrest in the region; and the ongoing and potentially deadly struggles with poachers. Throughout, the author also shares many warm, lighthearted moments, demonstrating the deep bond felt among the humans and animals at the reserve and the powerful effects of the kindness of strangers. “We are all working in unity for the greater good, for the betterment of Thula Thula and all our wildlife….We are humbled by the generosity and love, both from our guests and friends, and from strangers all around the world,” writes the author. “People’s open-hearted support kept us alive in the darkest times.”

A heartwarming and inspiring story for animal lovers.

Pub Date: April 25, 2023

ISBN: 9781250284259

Page Count: 320

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 22, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2023

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