by Robin Wall Kimmerer ‧ RELEASE DATE: Oct. 13, 2020
A smart, subtle overlay of different systems of thought that together teach us to be better citizens of Earth.
Awards & Accolades
Wisdom about the natural world delivered by an able writer who is both Indigenous and an academic scientist.
“This braid is woven from three strands,” writes Kimmerer, an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation: “indigenous ways of knowing, scientific knowledge, and the story of an Anishinabekwe scientist trying to bring them together in service to what matters most.” The author’s 2013 book of essays on Native folkways concerning plants and their roles in human life is reissued here with new illustrations and design, a handsome production that well serves her engaging text, which will be of interest to readers schooled in the work of writers such as Wendell Berry, Leslie Marmon Silko, and Joy Harjo. In Anishinaabe belief, writes Kimmerer, sweetgrass “was the very first to grow on the earth,” a constant reminder of the creator called Skywoman. It holds a sacred role, and it represents an important component of what the author describes as “global ecosystems,” which speak to the possibility of positive interactions between humans and the natural environment, a welcome optimism given all the counterexamples one might produce of our destructive influences. Rethinking that possibility requires going to first principles. As Kimmerer writes, the English word bay is a noun, trapping a natural thing into a static category best reserved for dead things, whereas the Ojibwe word wiikwegamaa, turning the concept into a verb meaning “to be a bay,” “releases the water from bondage and lets it live.” Indigenous knowledge instructs those who seek healthy relations with their surroundings in many ways. Kimmerer writes of a teacher who directs us to walk in such a way “that each step is a greeting to Mother Earth” while the dread monster called the Windigo speaks metaphorically to our need to consume: “The more a Windigo eats, the more ravenous it becomes.”A smart, subtle overlay of different systems of thought that together teach us to be better citizens of Earth.
Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2020
Page Count: 456
Review Posted Online: July 15, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020
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More About This Book
A heartwarming and inspiring story for animal lovers.
The third volume in the Elephant Whisperer series.
In this follow-up to An Elephant in My Kitchen, Malby-Anthony continues her loving portrait of the Thula Thula wildlife reserve, which she co-founded in 1998 with her late husband, South African conservationist Lawrence Anthony, who published the first book in the series, The Elephant Whisperer, in 2009. Following his death in 2012, Malby-Anthony sought to honor his legacy by continuing his vision “to create a massive conservancy in Zululand, incorporating our land and other small farms and community land into one great big game park.” At the same time, the elephants gave her “a sense of purpose and direction.” In the Zulu language, thula means quiet, and though the author consistently seeks to provide that calm to her charges, peace and tranquility are not always easy to come by at Thula Thula. In this installment, Malby-Anthony discusses many of the challenges faced by her and her staff, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic. These included an aggressive, 2-ton rhino named Thabo; the profound loss felt by all upon the death of their elephant matriarch, Frankie; difficulty obtaining permits and the related risk of having to relocate or cull some of their animals; the fear of looting and fire due to civil unrest in the region; and the ongoing and potentially deadly struggles with poachers. Throughout, the author also shares many warm, lighthearted moments, demonstrating the deep bond felt among the humans and animals at the reserve and the powerful effects of the kindness of strangers. “We are all working in unity for the greater good, for the betterment of Thula Thula and all our wildlife….We are humbled by the generosity and love, both from our guests and friends, and from strangers all around the world,” writes the author. “People’s open-hearted support kept us alive in the darkest times.”A heartwarming and inspiring story for animal lovers.
Pub Date: April 25, 2023
Page Count: 320
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online: Feb. 22, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2023
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Take a fascinating flight into human history on the wings of 10 important bird species.
An exploration of the deep and complex relationship between birds and human beings.
Moss, a British nature writer, broadcaster, and environmentalist who has written more than 40 books and field guides, is an ideal guide to this in-depth look at 10 consequential species and the threats to their continued survival. Spoiler alert: The world-changing birds are the raven, pigeon, wild turkey, dodo, Darwin's finch, guanay cormorant, snowy egret, bald eagle, tree sparrow, and emperor penguin. The contributions of some of these birds are immediately apparent—e.g., carrier pigeons could bring messages from the front lines of battles and wars, changing the course of the conflicts. The historical roles of other birds are more obscure. The snowy egret, prized for its long, feathery aigrettes, was driven to the brink of extinction by the plumage trade, but this led to the first bird protection laws. Moss is good at sorting out the myths from the realities of these birds' places in history. Darwin's finches, for example, were not actually the inspiration for his theory of evolution by natural selection but are still one of the best demonstrations of its veracity. The author also takes note of the prominent places these birds hold in mythology and literature, such as Poe's "The Raven,” but his larger theme is the threat of extinction that hovers over so many species today. As such, the centerpiece of his avian collection is the dodo, which has transitioned from a real bird to “the global icon of extinction." Its disappearance 300 years ago first suggested to the Western mind that a species could go extinct. The author’s thorough and well-argued book brings urgent attention to all the species that now face oblivion due to the global climate crisis. Heidaripour's illustrations complement the engaging, sobering analysis.Take a fascinating flight into human history on the wings of 10 important bird species.
Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2023
Page Count: 416
Review Posted Online: June 20, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2023
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