Champions of Yellowstone and the truly wild West already know Turner’s work. This one merits a wide audience, particularly...



Roughly elegant meditations on one of the wildest of wild places.

Nature writer and wilderness guide Turner (Teewinot: A Year in the Teton Range, 2000, etc.), a habitué of Yellowstone National Park and environs for half a century, marvels at the place. Greater Yellowstone houses the tallest peaks in Wyoming and Montana, the headwaters of three of the country’s largest rivers, the “largest glaciated region in the contiguous states” and a lot of bears, elk, mountain lions, wolves, bison and other assorted critters. It is also immense, taking in some 18 million acres, which, Turner notes, is just about the size of the state of West Virginia. Yet, he argues, it could stand to be bigger, at least by protecting corridors to the north and south that permit the free movement of migratory animals that don’t know the difference between the private and the public domains. The park’s antelope, for instance, migrate 200 miles south in cold weather, while one radio-collared wolverine “traveled hundreds of miles through national parks, national forests, BLM land, and private property.” But civilization is increasingly coming to Yellowstone, hemming it in with vacation homes and resorts, “replete with Ivy League cowboys, Hummers, and log mansions.” Turner climbs the highest peaks and ventures out into the loneliest, most bear-haunted valleys to get a good look at Yellowstone before it…well, not exactly disappears, but becomes something other than what it is, thanks to the current mania for development. He is plain-spoken in his detestations: “Saudi Arabia is butt-ugly from energy development. Do you want the Yellowstone country to look that way? I don’t.” (Don’t even get him started on snowmobiles.) He is just as plain-spoken with respect to his enthusiasms, from fly-fishing on the cheap to wandering without a plan through untraveled territory to hanging out with the grizzlies.

Champions of Yellowstone and the truly wild West already know Turner’s work. This one merits a wide audience, particularly in the Department of the Interior.

Pub Date: April 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-312-26672-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2008

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A tiny book, not much bigger than a pamphlet, with huge potential impact.

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A collection of articulate, forceful speeches made from September 2018 to September 2019 by the Swedish climate activist who was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Speaking in such venues as the European and British Parliaments, the French National Assembly, the Austrian World Summit, and the U.N. General Assembly, Thunberg has always been refreshingly—and necessarily—blunt in her demands for action from world leaders who refuse to address climate change. With clarity and unbridled passion, she presents her message that climate change is an emergency that must be addressed immediately, and she fills her speeches with punchy sound bites delivered in her characteristic pull-no-punches style: “I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.” In speech after speech, to persuade her listeners, she cites uncomfortable, even alarming statistics about global temperature rise and carbon dioxide emissions. Although this inevitably makes the text rather repetitive, the repetition itself has an impact, driving home her point so that no one can fail to understand its importance. Thunberg varies her style for different audiences. Sometimes it is the rousing “our house is on fire” approach; other times she speaks more quietly about herself and her hopes and her dreams. When addressing the U.S. Congress, she knowingly calls to mind the words and deeds of Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy. The last speech in the book ends on a note that is both challenging and upbeat: “We are the change and change is coming.” The edition published in Britain earlier this year contained 11 speeches; this updated edition has 16, all worth reading.

A tiny book, not much bigger than a pamphlet, with huge potential impact.

Pub Date: Nov. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-14-313356-8

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Penguin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2019

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Exemplary writing about the world and a welcome gift to readers.


Distinguished natural history writer and explorer Lopez (Outside, 2014, etc.) builds a winning memoir around books, voyages, and biological and anthropological observations.

“Traveling, despite the technological innovations that have brought cultural homogenization to much of the world, helps the curious and attentive itinerant understand how deep the notion goes that one place is never actually like another.” So writes the author, who has made a long career of visiting remote venues such as Antarctica, Greenland, and the lesser known of the Galápagos Islands. From these travels he has extracted truths about the world, such as the fact that places differ as widely as the people who live in them. Even when traveling with scientists from his own culture, Lopez finds differences of perception. On an Arctic island called Skraeling, for instance, he observes that if he and the biologists he is walking with were to encounter a grizzly feeding on a caribou, he would focus on the bear, the scientists on the whole gestalt of bear, caribou, environment; if a native of the place were along, the story would deepen beyond the immediate event, for those who possess Indigenous ways of knowledge, “unlike me…felt no immediate need to resolve it into meaning.” The author’s chapter on talismans—objects taken from his travels, such as “a fist-size piece of raven-black dolerite”—is among the best things he has written. But there are plentiful gems throughout the looping narrative, its episodes constructed from adventures over eight decades: trying to work out a bit of science as a teenager while huddled under the Ponte Vecchio after just having seen Botticelli’s Venus; admiring a swimmer as a septuagenarian while remembering the John Steinbeck whom he’d met as a schoolboy; gazing into the surf over many years’ worth of trips to Cape Foulweather, an Oregon headland named by Capt. James Cook, of whom he writes, achingly, “we no longer seem to be sailing in a time of fixed stars, of accurate chronometers, and of reliable routes.”

Exemplary writing about the world and a welcome gift to readers.

Pub Date: March 20, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-394-58582-6

Page Count: 592

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Nov. 26, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

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