Writing with experience and thoughtfulness, Jevning gives an intriguing glimpse into the mystery of Sasquatch.

NOTES FROM THE FIELD

TRACKING NORTH AMERICA’S SASQUATCH

Jevning’s book makes the case for the existence of Sasquatch, also known as Bigfoot, through a variety of sources, from historical to anecdotal.

Jevning divides his book into two parts; the first section relaying the history and first attempts to track Sasquatch, the second concentrating on modern anecdotal accounts and scientific evidence. The idea of simian animals living in North America dates back more than 400 years; Native American peoples have long told stories of hairy, manlike creatures in the woods. Since then, there have been hundreds of similar reports in newspapers, ranging from the 1800s to the present. Jevning has collected many of these stories and presents research he has conducted on several of the “major” incidents, such as the famous 1967 film footage of a walking Sasquatch. From this point, Jevning talks about his sighting a Sasquatch at a young age, his involvement in the Sasquatch-tracking community and his personal field research and findings from the last 40 years. While Jevning would be the first to agree that there is no hard evidence supporting the creatures’ existence, the sheer amount of personal accounts and historical research he has culled is impressive. Newspaper stories from the late 1800s and early 1900s not only give weight to his case, they also provide a fascinating look at how such incidents were responded to by the media of the day. In cases of incidents occurring after the 1950s, Jevning has located and interviewed the people involved. These interview portions of the book (written in a question and answer format), while informative, can be meandering and make the book’s pacing a bit rocky at times. While Jevning is clearly a believer and enthusiast, his tone is always evenhanded, addressing incidents that he believes to be faked and giving as much factual information as he can to back up his claims. The latter half of the book, chronicling his experiences alongside some of the first people to investigate Sasquatch, effectively pieces together the physical character of these creatures, as well as what their habits may be.

Writing with experience and thoughtfulness, Jevning gives an intriguing glimpse into the mystery of Sasquatch.

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2011

ISBN: 978-1452848013

Page Count: 290

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2011

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A quirky wonder of a book.

WHY FISH DON'T EXIST

A STORY OF LOSS, LOVE, AND THE HIDDEN ORDER OF LIFE

A Peabody Award–winning NPR science reporter chronicles the life of a turn-of-the-century scientist and how her quest led to significant revelations about the meaning of order, chaos, and her own existence.

Miller began doing research on David Starr Jordan (1851-1931) to understand how he had managed to carry on after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake destroyed his work. A taxonomist who is credited with discovering “a full fifth of fish known to man in his day,” Jordan had amassed an unparalleled collection of ichthyological specimens. Gathering up all the fish he could save, Jordan sewed the nameplates that had been on the destroyed jars directly onto the fish. His perseverance intrigued the author, who also discusses the struggles she underwent after her affair with a woman ended a heterosexual relationship. Born into an upstate New York farm family, Jordan attended Cornell and then became an itinerant scholar and field researcher until he landed at Indiana University, where his first ichthyological collection was destroyed by lightning. In between this catastrophe and others involving family members’ deaths, he reconstructed his collection. Later, he was appointed as the founding president of Stanford, where he evolved into a Machiavellian figure who trampled on colleagues and sang the praises of eugenics. Miller concludes that Jordan displayed the characteristics of someone who relied on “positive illusions” to rebound from disaster and that his stand on eugenics came from a belief in “a divine hierarchy from bacteria to humans that point[ed]…toward better.” Considering recent research that negates biological hierarchies, the author then suggests that Jordan’s beloved taxonomic category—fish—does not exist. Part biography, part science report, and part meditation on how the chaos that caused Miller’s existential misery could also bring self-acceptance and a loving wife, this unique book is an ingenious celebration of diversity and the mysterious order that underlies all existence.

A quirky wonder of a book.

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5011-6027-1

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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Loads of good explaining, with reminders, time and again, of how much remains unknown, neatly putting the death of science...

A SHORT HISTORY OF NEARLY EVERYTHING

Bryson (I'm a Stranger Here Myself, 1999, etc.), a man who knows how to track down an explanation and make it confess, asks the hard questions of science—e.g., how did things get to be the way they are?—and, when possible, provides answers.

As he once went about making English intelligible, Bryson now attempts the same with the great moments of science, both the ideas themselves and their genesis, to resounding success. Piqued by his own ignorance on these matters, he’s egged on even more so by the people who’ve figured out—or think they’ve figured out—such things as what is in the center of the Earth. So he goes exploring, in the library and in company with scientists at work today, to get a grip on a range of topics from subatomic particles to cosmology. The aim is to deliver reports on these subjects in terms anyone can understand, and for the most part, it works. The most difficult is the nonintuitive material—time as part of space, say, or proteins inventing themselves spontaneously, without direction—and the quantum leaps unusual minds have made: as J.B.S. Haldane once put it, “The universe is not only queerer than we suppose; it is queerer than we can suppose.” Mostly, though, Bryson renders clear the evolution of continental drift, atomic structure, singularity, the extinction of the dinosaur, and a mighty host of other subjects in self-contained chapters that can be taken at a bite, rather than read wholesale. He delivers the human-interest angle on the scientists, and he keeps the reader laughing and willing to forge ahead, even over their heads: the human body, for instance, harboring enough energy “to explode with the force of thirty very large hydrogen bombs, assuming you knew how to liberate it and really wished to make a point.”

Loads of good explaining, with reminders, time and again, of how much remains unknown, neatly putting the death of science into perspective.

Pub Date: May 6, 2003

ISBN: 0-7679-0817-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Broadway

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2003

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