Kirkus Star


Conservation Heroes of the American Heartland
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Journalistic portraits of pioneering farmers, harvesters, and conservationists unafraid to fight for the protection of the American landscapes they cultivate.

Covering territory from the rambling Northwest to the Louisiana bayou, journalist Horn (co-author: Earth: The Sequel: The Race to Reinvent Energy and Stop Global Warming, 2008, etc.) delivers a cautionary yet compelling chronicle spotlighting threatened productive farmlands and introduces “the families who run the tractors and barges and fishing boats who are stepping up to save them.” Among those she profiles is a Montana frontiersman who prides himself on veteran stockmanship; he is praised for his effective collaborative strategies with other grassland ranchers and wildlife managers to peaceably “keep both livestock and wild carnivores alive.” In other sections, a Kansas prairie farmer uses environmentally trailblazing strategies to refertilize depleted soil after years of devastating drought conditions, and a marine transportation company CEO maintains a commitment to improved efficiency of his operations to preserve and maintain the Mississippi River’s infrastructure. Horn then directs her focus to the sea, which is just as endangered as the land and in need of dedicated champions like the Vietnamese shrimper who fights for the preservation of Louisiana’s estuaries and aquacultures and a Gulf of Mexico fisherman dedicated to balancing both commercial and sport fishing in the gulf to appease recreational anglers while keeping small, family-run businesses afloat. All of these valiant men and women, writes the author, are fiercely protective of the land and sea and its bounty not only because these delicately balanced ecosystems directly support their livelihoods, but because there is also an enduring love of the land itself and an allegiance to preserve it. A founder of the Clean Energy Program at the Environmental Defense Fund, Horn translates her passion for ecological balance and environmental sustainability into this passionate, unwavering tapestry of “conservation heroes” dedicated to coexisting with their American agricultural terrains.

An optimistic journal of promise for the future and a supremely motivational text for readers interested in Earth’s compromised biodiversity.

Pub Date: Sept. 6th, 2016
ISBN: 978-0393247343
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Norton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2016


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