An engrossing history of conservation and its accomplishments.



A fine history of the genesis of the conservation movement.

Nijhuis, a project editor at the Atlantic and co-editor of The Science Writers’ Handbook, admits that the sixth extinction shows little sign of slackening, and people are still killing too many animals and destroying too much habitat. On the bright side, modern conservation movements have many victories to their credit—and even some political clout. The author delivers a vivid account of the movements’ past and present along with compelling minibiographies of the lives of many brilliant and energetic if not always admirable men and women. Without their work, there would be “no bison, no tigers, and no elephants; there would be few if any whales, wolves, or egrets.” Like many histories of the natural world, Nijhuis looks at Carl Linnaeus and Charles Darwin, but readers will encounter many other intriguing names and factoids. For example, who saved the first animal from extinction? William Hornaday, who almost single-handedly saved the bison and went on to become the director of the Bronx Zoo. Other lively characters populating this illuminating narrative include Rosalie Edge, who established the first reserve for birds of prey in 1934; and the well-known crusaders (Aldo Leopold, Julian Huxley, Rachel Carson) who converted environmentalism into a mass movement. The author concludes with a review of current efforts to preserve wildlife and wilderness, and she believes that in addition to ecological concerns, “conservationists need to pay a lot more attention to human complexity.” Despite progress in many areas, in 2019, “a global assessment by an international panel of biodiversity experts estimated that a million species were in danger of going extinct within decades—including as many as a quarter of all plant and animal species.” Compassionate yet realistic and candid throughout, Nijhuis makes a significant contribution to the literature on environmentalism.

An engrossing history of conservation and its accomplishments.

Pub Date: March 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-324-00168-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A welcome reference, entertaining and information-packed, for any outdoors-inclined reader.


The bad news: On any given outdoor expedition, you are your own worst enemy. The good news: If you are prepared, which this book helps you achieve, you might just live through it.

As MeatEater host and experienced outdoorsman Rinella notes, there are countless dangers attendant in going into mountains, woods, or deserts; he quotes journalist Wes Siler: “People have always managed to find stupid ways to die.” Avoiding stupid mistakes is the overarching point of Rinella’s latest book, full of provocative and helpful advice. One stupid way to die is not to have the proper equipment. There’s a complication built into the question, given that when humping gear into the outdoors, weight is always an issue. The author’s answer? “Build your gear list by prioritizing safety.” That entails having some means of communication, water, food, and shelter foremost and then adding on “extra shit.” As to that, he notes gravely, “a National Park Service geologist recently estimated that as much as 215,000 pounds of feces has been tossed haphazardly into crevasses along the climbing route on Denali National Park’s Kahiltna Glacier, where climbers melt snow for drinking water.” Ingesting fecal matter is a quick route to sickness, and Rinella adds, there are plenty of outdoorspeople who have no idea of how to keep their bodily wastes from ruining the scenery or poisoning the water supply. Throughout, the author provides precise information about wilderness first aid, ranging from irrigating wounds to applying arterial pressure to keeping someone experiencing a heart attack (a common event outdoors, given that so many people overexert without previous conditioning) alive. Some takeaways: Keep your crotch dry, don’t pitch a tent under a dead tree limb, walk side-hill across mountains, and “do not enter a marsh or swamp in flip-flops, and think twice before entering in strap-on sandals such as Tevas or Chacos.”

A welcome reference, entertaining and information-packed, for any outdoors-inclined reader.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12969-2

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?


A straightforward, carefully detailed presentation of how ``fruit comes from flowers,'' from winter's snow-covered buds through pollination and growth to ripening and harvest. Like the text, the illustrations are admirably clear and attractive, including the larger-than-life depiction of the parts of the flower at different stages. An excellent contribution to the solidly useful ``Let's-Read-and-Find-Out-Science'' series. (Nonfiction/Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 30, 1992

ISBN: 0-06-020055-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1991

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet