Nature & Travel Book Reviews

BEYOND WORDS by Carl Safina
NATURE & TRAVEL
Released: July 14, 2015

"A profound, scientifically based appeal for recognition of the kinship of all living things."
Award-winning ecologist Safina (Nature and Humanity/Stony Brook Univ.; The View from Lazy Point: A Natural Year in an Unnatural World, 2011 etc.) disputes the dogma among scientists that forbids speculations about the "the inner lives of animals." Read full book review >
THE OREGON TRAIL by Rinker Buck
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: June 30, 2015

"By turns frankly hilarious, historically elucidating, emotionally touching, and deeply informative."
A crazy whim of a trip on a covered wagon turns into an inspired exploration of American identity. Read full book review >

FASTEST THINGS ON WINGS by Terry Masear
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: June 16, 2015

"Not just for birders, this captivating book brims with warmth, humor, and drama that will have wide appeal."
The frantic, rewarding life of a hummingbird-rescue hotline worker. Read full book review >
SKYFARING by Mark Vanhoenacker
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: June 3, 2015

"The anatomy of an airliner and peripatetic aerial travel, as well as a sophisticated worldview, combine for first-class reading—sure to enhance your next flight."
Vanhoenacker's workplace is the cockpit of a 747. Leaving a contrail of information with lapidary prose, he shows why he loves his job. Read full book review >
DOMESTICATED by Richard C. Francis
NATURE & TRAVEL
Released: May 25, 2015

"A highly illuminating look at the cross-species biological basis for human culture and sociability."
"The human population explosion has been bad for most other living things, but not so for those lucky enough to warrant domestication," writes science journalist Francis (Epigenetics: The Ultimate Mystery of Inheritance, 2011, etc.) in this provocative account of the latest developments in the field of evolutionary biology.Read full book review >

DAUGHTERS OF THE SAMURAI by Janice P. Nimura
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 4, 2015

"An extraordinary, elegantly told story of the beginning of Japan's education and emancipation of its women."
Through her fascinating tapestry of history and biography, New York scholar Nimura weaves the strange, vibrant tale of an insular nation coming to terms with currents of modernism it could no longer keep out. Read full book review >
A PASSION FOR PARIS by David Downie
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 28, 2015

"Anyone who loves Paris will adore this joyful book. Readers visiting the city are advised to take it with them to discover countless new experiences."
Join Downie (Paris to the Pyrenees: A Skeptic Pilgrim Walks the Way of St. James, 2013, etc.) for a top-notch walking tour of Paris.Read full book review >
RAIN by Cynthia Barnett
HISTORY
Released: April 21, 2015

"Highlights the severity of some of our environmental problems with knowledge, humor, urgency and hope."
An environmental journalist returns with a multifaceted examination of the science, the art, the technology and even the smell of rain throughout history. Read full book review >
ALL THE WILD THAT REMAINS by David Gessner
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 20, 2015

"Stegner and Abbey 'are two who have lighted my way,' nature writer Wendell Berry admitted. They have lighted the way for Gessner, as well, as he conveys in this graceful, insightful homage to their work and to the region they loved."
The lives and legacies of two influential environmentalists. Read full book review >
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 >
Kirkus Interview
Sabaa Tahir
August 4, 2015

Sabaa Tahir’s novel An Ember in the Ashes reveals a world inspired by ancient Rome and defined by brutality. Seventeen-year-old Laia has grown up with one rule for survival: Never challenge the Empire. But when Laia’s brother Darin is arrested for treason, she leaves behind everything she knows, risking her life to try and save him. She enlists help from the rebels whose extensive underground network may lead to Darin. Their help comes with a price, though. Laia must infiltrate the Empire’s greatest military academy as a spy. Elias is the Empire’s finest soldier—and its most unwilling one. Thrown together by chance and united by their hatred of the Empire, Laia and Elias will soon discover that their fates are intertwined—and that their choices may change the destiny of the entire Empire. We talk to An Ember in the Ashes author Sabaa Tahir this week on Kirkus TV. View video >