A vividly written narrative of an amazingly diverse world still to be explored, whose destruction, as Rosolie wisely notes,...

MOTHER OF GOD

AN EXTRAORDINARY JOURNEY INTO THE UNCHARTED TRIBUTARIES OF THE WESTERN AMAZON

In his first book, naturalist and explorer Rosolie chronicles his many thrilling experiences since 2006, when he first traveled to a research center located in a primordial jungle region of the Amazon basin, now threatened with unregulated development.

Now running Tamandua Expeditions to support conservation initiatives, the author was then an 18-year-old college student searching for volunteer opportunities to work with a conservation organization. During a college break, the author seized on an opportunity to spend a month at a jungle research center in southeast Peru, serving as an assistant in recording observations of the species inhabiting the area: spider monkeys, jaguars, crocodiles, a wide variety of snakes and more. This was the first of many trips to the center, which became his spiritual home. During his college years, he commuted back and forth from New Jersey to the Amazon; over time, he became an accomplished guide. Back home again, he worked to raise donations for the research center, which was a hand-to-mouth venture, and he also arranged ecotourism expeditions and volunteer groups to work at the center. Rosolie describes his deepening understanding of conservation and the issues involved in protecting natural ecosystems against would-be developers, loggers, mining interests and poachers. First and foremost, however, this is a gripping adventure story packed with plenty of adrenaline-filled encounters with massive snakes, intimidating jaguars and other creatures. On one occasion, the author was carried downriver while grasping the back of a gigantic anaconda “as thick as a small cow and easily well over twenty-five feet long…the mega-snake of legends.” As the author writes, “[a]dventure in its purest form is raw discovery. The draw to see what's around the next bend becomes hypnotizing; I was drawn forward by the powerful tide of the forest.”

A vividly written narrative of an amazingly diverse world still to be explored, whose destruction, as Rosolie wisely notes, would be a devastating loss for humanity.

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-0062259516

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2014

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS

Maya Angelou is a natural writer with an inordinate sense of life and she has written an exceptional autobiographical narrative which retrieves her first sixteen years from "the general darkness just beyond the great blinkers of childhood."

Her story is told in scenes, ineluctably moving scenes, from the time when she and her brother were sent by her fancy living parents to Stamps, Arkansas, and a grandmother who had the local Store. Displaced they were and "If growing up is painful for the Southern Black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat." But alternating with all the pain and terror (her rape at the age of eight when in St. Louis With her mother) and humiliation (a brief spell in the kitchen of a white woman who refused to remember her name) and fear (of a lynching—and the time they buried afflicted Uncle Willie under a blanket of vegetables) as well as all the unanswered and unanswerable questions, there are affirmative memories and moments: her charming brother Bailey; her own "unshakable God"; a revival meeting in a tent; her 8th grade graduation; and at the end, when she's sixteen, the birth of a baby. Times When as she says "It seemed that the peace of a day's ending was an assurance that the covenant God made with children, Negroes and the crippled was still in effect."

However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1969

ISBN: 0375507892

Page Count: 235

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1969

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