Rudner seems to never have met a buffalo she didn't like. She eschews facts and statistics for dreamy mysticism and mangled...

READ REVIEW

A CHORUS OF BUFFALO

REFLECTIONS ON WILDLIFE POLITICS AND AN AMERICAN ICON

A journalist's account of her mystical encounters with buffalos and the handful of human beings as passionate as she is about their fate.

Rudner (Greetings from Wisdom Montana, not reviewed) confronted her first buffalo when she first explored Yellowstone National Park by snowmobile in 1982. Her interest in these and other park wildlife eventually led her to a part-time career as an instructor and tour guide for the Yellowstone Institute, where she learned that the bison—having been slaughtered nearly to extinction in the late 19th century—are now being nurtured and protected within the park and on Indian reservations. Within the last 20 years, however, a few Montana buffalo have been found to be infected with brucellosis. Federal laws require that if the disease is found in cattle (buffalo could infect cattle if they mate with them), all cattle in the herd must be killed. A wide outbreak of brucellosis could lead to the banning of all beef from the state of Montana, so rather than wait for a catastrophe, ranchers have called for the slaughter of infected buffalo and a general thinning of existing herds to keep buffalo away from cattle-grazing areas. Rudner tries to report on as many sides of the controversy as she can, but after a brief visit to a friendly, hardworking rancher, she spends most of her time in the company of reverent Indians who talk of visions, shed tears about the past, and use their herds for food, religious ceremonies, and occasional profit. Her best essay, about a third-generation buffalo trainer and rodeo performer, suggests that (with enough accommodation, respect, and barley cakes) man and buffalo can coexist.

Rudner seems to never have met a buffalo she didn't like. She eschews facts and statistics for dreamy mysticism and mangled metaphors (at one point she declares that `we could use a little music, something that weaves harmony from the dissonance of polarized voices`). Those looking for serious reportage will find more bull than buffalo.

Pub Date: June 1, 2000

ISBN: 1-58080-049-1

Page Count: 192

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2000

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A tiny book, not much bigger than a pamphlet, with huge potential impact.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

NO ONE IS TOO SMALL TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

A collection of articulate, forceful speeches made from September 2018 to September 2019 by the Swedish climate activist who was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Speaking in such venues as the European and British Parliaments, the French National Assembly, the Austrian World Summit, and the U.N. General Assembly, Thunberg has always been refreshingly—and necessarily—blunt in her demands for action from world leaders who refuse to address climate change. With clarity and unbridled passion, she presents her message that climate change is an emergency that must be addressed immediately, and she fills her speeches with punchy sound bites delivered in her characteristic pull-no-punches style: “I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.” In speech after speech, to persuade her listeners, she cites uncomfortable, even alarming statistics about global temperature rise and carbon dioxide emissions. Although this inevitably makes the text rather repetitive, the repetition itself has an impact, driving home her point so that no one can fail to understand its importance. Thunberg varies her style for different audiences. Sometimes it is the rousing “our house is on fire” approach; other times she speaks more quietly about herself and her hopes and her dreams. When addressing the U.S. Congress, she knowingly calls to mind the words and deeds of Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy. The last speech in the book ends on a note that is both challenging and upbeat: “We are the change and change is coming.” The edition published in Britain earlier this year contained 11 speeches; this updated edition has 16, all worth reading.

A tiny book, not much bigger than a pamphlet, with huge potential impact.

Pub Date: Nov. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-14-313356-8

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Penguin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Jahren transcends both memoir and science writing in this literary fusion of both genres.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2016

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • National Book Critics Circle Winner

LAB GIRL

Award-winning scientist Jahren (Geology and Geophysics/Univ. of Hawaii) delivers a personal memoir and a paean to the natural world.

The author’s father was a physics and earth science teacher who encouraged her play in the laboratory, and her mother was a student of English literature who nurtured her love of reading. Both of these early influences engrossingly combine in this adroit story of a dedication to science. Jahren’s journey from struggling student to struggling scientist has the narrative tension of a novel and characters she imbues with real depth. The heroes in this tale are the plants that the author studies, and throughout, she employs her facility with words to engage her readers. We learn much along the way—e.g., how the willow tree clones itself, the courage of a seed’s first root, the symbiotic relationship between trees and fungi, and the airborne signals used by trees in their ongoing war against insects. Trees are of key interest to Jahren, and at times she waxes poetic: “Each beginning is the end of a waiting. We are each given exactly one chance to be. Each of us is both impossible and inevitable. Every replete tree was first a seed that waited.” The author draws many parallels between her subjects and herself. This is her story, after all, and we are engaged beyond expectation as she relates her struggle in building and running laboratory after laboratory at the universities that have employed her. Present throughout is her lab partner, a disaffected genius named Bill, whom she recruited when she was a graduate student at Berkeley and with whom she’s worked ever since. The author’s tenacity, hope, and gratitude are all evident as she and Bill chase the sweetness of discovery in the face of the harsh economic realities of the research scientist.

Jahren transcends both memoir and science writing in this literary fusion of both genres.

Pub Date: April 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-87493-6

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more