Laurence Pringle (Bats, 2000, etc.) has assembled a superior overview of the environmental movement from its inception to the present. He begins with North America's first folly, when the settlers arrived, facing a brutal, merciless land that seemed inexhaustibly abundant. Pringle leads us through the first steps of the environmental movement, when few realized the abundance was far from inexhaustible. He describes the onset of the naturalists and the conservationists who were lead by the likes of John Muir and put into political practice by Theodore Roosevelt. Pringle highlights the foremost individuals of the movement and includes illustrative photographs. Pringle never shies from being blunt about the treachery of some political leaders or corporations, but neither does he paint a portrait too heavily weighted on one side, rather offering a fine journalistic balance of facts without histrionics or pedantry. The book is so engrossing and even uplifting that when it finally arrives at the nineties it is a sad declaration that despite all that has been achieved, the planet and its creatures still face incredible peril in many forms. Written with clarity and resonance, this leaves the reader with a sense of progress as well as urgency for further change. (lists of ecosystem services, environmental and government agencies, further reading, index, not seen) (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 31, 2000

ISBN: 0-688-15626-6

Page Count: 144

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2000

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In this entertaining companion volume to Mistakes that Worked (1994), Jones describes more of the often humorous incidents that resulted in inventions, products, and fashions. The telephone and photography are discussed as well as cellophane, Bakelite, Masonite, and dynamite. Another chapter offers speculation as to the origins of yeast, raisins, coffee, and vinegar, without much in the way of documentation, and a part of a chapter is devoted to the meanings of some nursery rhymes (it's never clear what they have to do with inventions). Nevertheless, this is entertaining reading, with whimsical black-and-white drawings, places to write for more information, a brief bibliography, and an index. (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: June 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-385-32162-7

Page Count: 86

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1996

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In this roughly hewn debut, a contemporary Scottish lad finds himself charged with confronting a huge magical whirlwind in order to break a centuries-old family curse. As curses go, this one seems ill-defined: When the first-born son in each generation passes his tenth birthday, a tornado rears up out of the sea and sucks out some inner quality that leaves him a gentle, slightly fuddled homebody with no stomach for any sort of travel or adventure. Thanks largely to his hysterically overprotective mother, Archie knows nothing of this until his father’s long-absent younger brother arrives to fill in the historical background; help him on the requisite Quest to recover magical tokens; and introduce the Ice Gulls, a vast army of size-changing birds who are, for unclear reasons, his allies in the coming battle. Heralded by powerful, malicious wind spirits, the storm builds to satisfyingly titanic fury, but the climax plays out in an overcomplicated, ritualistic way that never leaves the issue in any real doubt. In a truly ham-fisted aftermath, Archie’s sudden induction into a secret organization called the International Curse Exterminators opens the door to sequels. Perhaps they’ll hang together a little better. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2006

ISBN: 1-58234-781-6

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2006

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