Eiseley's baroque blending of nature and science ever touched by the ineffable may not be to everyone's taste, and at times seems forced. For the fans, however, this collection represents the author's favorite pieces, chosen shortly before his death in 1977. Here is the essay in which Eiseley is struck by the pure Neanderthal features of a farm girl encountered in his early fossil-collecting days out west; the one which has him playfully romping with a baby fox; and the title piece about the man on the beach, who, in the midst of avaricious shell collectors, finds still-living starfish and throws them back to sea. The prose is rich, adorned with words like glaucous, coruscating, inchoate, numinous--the latter perhaps describing the essence of Eiseley's feelings about man and nature. In addition to the autobiographical essays of reverie and revelation, there are some interesting studies of Thoreau and other 19th-century naturalist romantics. Clearly Eiseley could be identified with them, as W. H. Auden points out in an early New Yorker review reprinted here as an introduction. Some examples of Eiseley's verse are also included, workmanlike pieces very much in keeping with the nature-romantic prose style. Reading through the collection (which should have been annotated and dated), one wishes that Eiseley had tried his hand more at fiction. Some of his evocations have a darkly Gothic touch, and one piece called ""The Dance of the Frogs"" is worthy of inclusion in any anthology of fantasy and the supernatural.