Page-turning adventure tales from an experienced, knowledgeable guide.

A renowned kayaking expert provides a collection of riveting stories about the world’s most dangerous and mysterious whitewater rivers.

There is something primal about rushing, roaring water. People who ride the rapids in kayaks know the risks and choose to face them, testing themselves and perhaps finding a deeper connection with the world. Walker is one of those people, although in the course of his life, he has also held senior military positions and written several books about kayaking. In his latest, he chronicles 10 expeditions on unconquered rapids, ranging from the Zambezi in Africa to Tiger Leaping Gorge on the Yangtze. Walker paddled the Yarlung Tsangpo River at the eastern end of the Himalayas, described in the final chapter of the book; he draws the other accounts from interviews with and memoirs by the other participants. In several cases, documentary films were made, providing a crucial record. Simply getting to the starting point could be an epic journey involving not just the kayaking team, but their support crew and supplies. The rapids were not the only danger; in some places, there were also piranhas, bandits, crocodiles, and bureaucrats to contend with. The unchartered rivers could be a battlefield, and sometimes the rivers won. Several expeditions lost team members or were, after bruising accidents and wrecked boats, forced to acknowledge defeat (including Walker’s expedition). Clearly, this is not a sport for the faint of heart, and Walker captures it all: the adventure and the danger of the rapids, the terror and the thrill of the unknown, the camaraderie and the occasional humor. The author is a solid storyteller, and though the book is not for everyone, it will appeal to readers with an interest in challenging sports, untraveled paths, and the process of confronting fear and overcoming it.

Page-turning adventure tales from an experienced, knowledgeable guide.

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2023

ISBN: 9781586423728

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Steerforth

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2023


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

ISBN: 9781250284259

Page Count: 320

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 22, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2023


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

ISBN: 9781541604469

Page Count: 416

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2023

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