A well-crafted story about a commitment to conservation.

A VANISHING KIND

A MEMOIR OF DR JOHN WAMSLEY IN CONVERSATIONS

A maverick environmentalist recounts saving nearly extinct animals in Australia.

In 2003, Australia’s prime minister named Wamsley Environmentalist of the Year. Wamsley’s memoir, one co-written with Davey, refreshingly touches on relevant portions of the environmentalist’s childhood and zeros in on what readers want to know: Who is this controversial environmentalist, and what was his impact on the preservation of endangered animals and plants? In excerpts from recorded interviews, Wamsley says: “I would gladly give my soul to the devil, to roast in hell for an eternity, if I could save one species of wildlife in exchange.” Davey makes cameo appearances in the story, describing the environmentalist as “unique and disciplined.” Wamsley’s radical work drew strong criticism. A segment of animal welfare activists vilified him as the “cat-hat man” after he wore a hat made of a large feral cat pelt to an award ceremony. The shock value drove his point home that feral cats and foxes posed an existential threat to certain marsupials (among them kangaroos, wallabies, platypus). The book explores the hot-button ethical issue of whether killing one species of animal to preserve another is justified. The co-authors feel strongly that it is, and Wamsley refers to the practice in scientific terms (prey switching) and notes that he “only shot one cat” in his lifetime. In 1969, Wamsley created Warrawong, an animal sanctuary. The author also protected the indigenous trees and plants in Australia’s natural habitats. To his surprise and delight, certain plants that produced a continuous supply of nectar attracted native birds year-round. Wamsley went on to establish a network of wildlife sanctuaries across Australia. The book includes period photographs and editorial cartoons from local newspapers.

A well-crafted story about a commitment to conservation.

Pub Date: Oct. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5043-2292-8

Page Count: 214

Publisher: BalboaPressAU

Review Posted Online: April 22, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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GREENLIGHTS

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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