Nature & Travel Book Reviews

HISTORY
Released: April 15, 2015

"A brilliant history of the Dark Ages showing the growth and development of science, business, fashion, law, politics and other significant institutions—a joy to read and reread."
Novelist, journalist and historian Pye (The Pieces from Berlin, 2004, etc.) challenges all our notions of the Dark Ages and shows the vast accomplishments completed long before the Renaissance.Read full book review >
BORDER ODYSSEY by Charles D. Thompson, Jr.
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: April 15, 2015

"A potent cri de coeur for a more compassionate, sane and humane border policy."
An exploration of 2,000 miles of fraught, rugged and deeply contested territory. Read full book review >

THE INTIMATE BOND by Brian Fagan
HISTORY
Released: April 14, 2015

"Though reminding us of the cruelties still visited upon animals and insisting that we respect them anew—not merely as pets or idealized creatures of the wild—Fagan offers no resolutions to our conflicting attitudes toward them, but his compelling, cohesive book calls for further enlightenment."
Fagan (Emeritus, Anthropology/Univ. of Calif., Santa Barbara; The Attacking Ocean: The Past, Present, and Future of Rising Sea Levels, 2013, etc.) brings consummate skill to this frequently horrifying study of humanity's interaction with animals.Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: March 24, 2015

"An earnest, eye-opening, important account for Western readers."
A brave, excoriating exposé of the systematic ruination of resource-rich countries of Africa, leaving "penury and strife" for its millions of inhabitants. Read full book review >
THE LAST UNICORN by William deBuys
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 10, 2015

"A riveting and disturbing account of the clash between the beauty of the wilderness and civilization's unrelenting demands on the natural world."
Dedicated conservationist deBuys (A Great Aridness: Climate Change and the Future of the American Southwest, 2011 etc.) undertakes an arduous trek through the wilds of central Laos in a quest to help save one of the most elusive animals on the planet, the large grazing mammal known as a saola.Read full book review >

THE AGE OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT by Jeffrey D. Sachs
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: March 10, 2015

"Required reading for policymakers and students, and general readers will finish the book realizing they actually understand what sustainable development is all about."
A leading economist offers a brilliant analysis of the worldwide need to balance economic development and environmental sustainability. Read full book review >
H IS FOR HAWK by Helen Macdonald
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 3, 2015

"Whether you call this a personal story or nature writing, it's poignant, thoughtful and moving—and likely to become a classic in either genre."
An inspired, beautiful and absorbing account of a woman battling grief—with a goshawk. Read full book review >
BECOMING A MOUNTAIN by Stephen Alter
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 3, 2015

"There are many treasures to discover in this insightful memoir of hiking and healing in the Himalayas."
With a naturalist's eye and a poet's pen, a victim of violence looks to the Himalayas for healing. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Feb. 17, 2015

"A work of enormous heart as well as research."
A satisfying, elegant personal journey in China's fabled Northeast. Read full book review >
ALL THE WRONG PLACES by Philip Connors
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 16, 2015

"Unlike other, neater narratives of being lost and found, Connors' story—told with harrowing insight and fierce prose—is messy and incomplete and makes no apologies for being anything but."
Connors (Fire Season: Field Notes from a Wilderness Lookout, 2012) reflects candidly on the years he spent unmoored after a family tragedy; he continuously found himself in places he felt apart from.Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Feb. 3, 2015

"A meticulously detailed feat of rare footage inside the DPRK's propaganda machinery."
Exhaustively researched, highly engrossing chronicle of the outrageous abduction of a pair of well-known South Korean filmmakers by the nefarious network of North Korea's Kim Jong-Il. Read full book review >
THE ITALIANS by John Hooper
HISTORY
Released: Jan. 29, 2015

"A thoroughly researched, well-written, ageless narrative of a fascinating people."
A compact but comprehensive study of the people of Italy. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Fatima Bhutto
April 14, 2015

Set during the American invasion of Afghanistan, Fatima Bhutto’s debut novel The Shadow of the Crescent Moon begins and ends one rain-swept Friday morning in Mir Ali, a small town in Pakistan’s Tribal Areas close to the Afghan border. Three brothers meet for breakfast. Soon after, the eldest, Aman Erum, recently returned from America, hails a taxi to the local mosque. Sikandar, a doctor, drives to the hospital where he works, but must first stop to collect his troubled wife, who has not joined the family that morning. No one knows where Mina goes these days. But when, later in the morning, the two are taken hostage by members of the Taliban, Mina will prove to be stronger than anyone could have imagined. Our reviewer writes that The Shadow of the Crescent Moon is “a timely, earnest portrait of a family torn apart by the machinations of other people’s war games and desperately trying to survive.” View video >