Nature & Travel Book Reviews (page 6)

THE SECRET LIVES OF BATS by Merlin Tuttle
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 20, 2015

"A page-turning memoir of curiosity about—and dedication to—a significant part of the natural world."
Bats are "sophisticated, beautiful, even cute, quite aside from their crucial roles as primary predators of insects, pollinators of flowers and dispersers of seeds," writes Tuttle, an ecologist who has championed their cause for more than 50 years. Read full book review >
A FIELD PHILOSOPHER'S GUIDE TO FRACKING by Adam Briggle
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Oct. 19, 2015

"Goliath takes it right between the eyes in this unique take on the convoluted politics, science, and cultural issues at stake regarding fracking."
Out of the university and into the streets, Briggle (Philosophy/Univ. of North Texas) brings the practice of "field philosophy" to the question of whether fracking is feckless or feasible. Read full book review >

FRACKING THE NEIGHBORHOOD by Jessica Smartt Gullion
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Oct. 16, 2015

"Likely to be well-received in the academy and elsewhere largely unread."
A sociologist offers an ethnography of an unlikely group of environmental health activists. Read full book review >
PORTAGE by Sue Leaf
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 15, 2015

"Pleasant outdoors stories that will appeal to nature lovers, avid canoeists, and armchair travelers."
A woman and her family canoe the waterways of America. Read full book review >
ON CATS by Charles Bukowski
ESSAYS & ANTHOLOGIES
Released: Oct. 13, 2015

"Cat lovers won't confuse the author's verse with T.S. Eliot's, and Bukowski fans will find this of marginal significance."
A curious collection of writings about cats, as the self-acknowledged Dirty Old Man of American letters celebrates his feline affinities and affection. Read full book review >

PLAIN RADICAL by Robert Jensen
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 13, 2015

"A heartfelt book about an inspiring model of wisdom, self-awareness, and thoughtful engagement with the world."
The story of a man who exalted personal responsibility for systemic change. Read full book review >
DISPATCHES FROM PLUTO by Richard Grant
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 13, 2015

"An appealing stew of fecklessness and curiosity, social psychology and social dysfunction, hope and despair."
Calling himself "a misfit Englishman…with a taste for remote places," the author of God's Middle Finger: Into the Lawless Heart of the Sierra Madre (2008) buys a former plantation house, deep in the Mississippi Delta, and thus commences an education—his and ours.Read full book review >
BOUNDLESS by Kathleen Winter
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 13, 2015

"With the eye of a poet and the stamina of an Amundsen, Winter proves a delightful guide into unexplored realms. Worthy of shelving alongside Barry Lopez's Arctic Dreams (1986)."
Literate, luminous travels in the far north. Read full book review >
GOWANUS by Joseph Alexiou
HISTORY
Released: Oct. 9, 2015

"This thorough, overdue, rambling history reaches for special significance but fails to grasp it."
The history of a Brooklyn neighborhood and its fetid canal. Read full book review >
ATMOSPHERE OF HOPE by Tim Flannery
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Oct. 6, 2015

"A sharp summary of energy potentialities, where the good and the bad reside in human hands, hearts, and minds."
Flannery (An Explorer's Notebook: Essays on Life, History, and Climate, 2014, etc.) argues for renewed optimism in human capabilities to reverse the destabilizing effects of climate change.Read full book review >
THE AGE OF ASPIRATION by Dilip Hiro
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Oct. 6, 2015

"As comprehensive and knowledgeable as Hiro's earlier Inside India Today (1977; reissued 2013)."
An insider's economic report on the perils and scandals of India's precipitous drive into a market economy over the last decades. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 6, 2015

"More maudlin than inspirational, though ardent dog lovers may be touched by certain scenes and find Kopp's story satisfying."
A memoir that attempts to weave together two themes of deep interest to the author: her eating disorder and her love for dogs, especially pit bulls. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Michael Eric Dyson
February 2, 2016

In Michael Eric Dyson’s rich and nuanced book new book, The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America, Dyson writes with passion and understanding about Barack Obama’s “sad and disappointing” performance regarding race and black concerns in his two terms in office. While race has defined his tenure, Obama has been “reluctant to take charge” and speak out candidly about the nation’s racial woes, determined to remain “not a black leader but a leader who is black.” Dyson cogently examines Obama’s speeches and statements on race, from his first presidential campaign through recent events—e.g., the Ferguson riots and the eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney in Charleston—noting that the president is careful not to raise the ire of whites and often chastises blacks for their moral failings. At his best, he spoke with “special urgency for black Americans” during the Ferguson crisis and was “at his blackest,” breaking free of constraints, in his “Amazing Grace” Charleston eulogy. Dyson writes here as a realistic, sometimes-angry supporter of the president. View video >