An inspired synthesis of environmental, cultural, economic, and political calls to action.



A debut ecology book examines agriculture’s role in global warming and proposes individual and collective responses to avert a human-made sixth extinction.   

In the climate crisis, Erickson, a screenwriter and filmmaker, finds potent drama: “A fight for our lives” and a ticking clock. His cast: disparate creatures, including Hazel the triplewart sea devil, Thomas Q. Piglet, Lucinda Monarch, Earl the Worm, Pat the Pooper (a microorganism), farm animals, meerkats, and numerous people—all facing different challenges but the same fate. The plot: unmask the “Arch-Villain” behind the interconnected crises of rural decline, unhealthy food, chronic illness, and climate change. The author pens poignant stories before deploying facts and figures. Children near factory farms suffer asthma. A piglet, ripped from its mother, never spends a day outdoors. A teen battles obesity. Family farmers confront policies tilted against them. Midway through, Erickson confirms “Industrial Agriculture. And factory farming…Big Ag. This is our Arch-Villain.” Concentrated animal feeding operations are not only inhumane; their hormones and antibiotics breed resistant pathogens. Monocrop methods, with pesticides, herbicides, and tilled fields left bare, destroy the soil’s microbiome, nature’s most effective carbon storage system. Large-scale regenerative organic farming, the author argues, could offset current carbon dioxide emissions. He advocates “compassionate activism”—raising awareness of farming and food issues, using purchasing power to reduce meat consumption and increase healthy options, and harnessing voter pressure to rewrite the Farm Bill and enact a Green New Deal. The ambitious book’s five chapters highlight compassionate approaches toward animals, self, the land, community, and democracy. Erickson’s writing displays passion, clarity, and a grasp of every topic he tackles. He is also verbose and prone to repetition. His refrains may delight some but annoy others. But his analysis is solid, and his sourcing is supported by 900-plus endnotes and four expert contributors (Berry, Fuhrman, McArthur, and Lewis) credited on the cover. An index and bibliography would enhance future editions. Erickson’s ability to connect climate science, copious data, and public policies with the lived experiences of people and other creatures sets this book apart. His emphasis on humane and caring methods reminds readers that winning hearts and minds is a prerequisite to capturing carbon.

An inspired synthesis of environmental, cultural, economic, and political calls to action.

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-73320-270-1

Page Count: 480

Publisher: TGH Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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