Prolific author-environmentalist Dave Dempsey’s new book, “Half Wild: People, Dogs, and Environmental Policy,” examines the complex boundaries between humans, wildlife and wilderness in a brief volume that includes vignettes of bears scouring trash heaps and of bourbon-fueled debates over the gap between conservationists and environmentalists. Not to mention bonus observations about his relationship with dogs. Contributor Gary Wilson has a review for our latest BookShelf.
Gen Z weather hotshot Matthew Cappucci recounts his rapid, if uneven, rise into major media meteorology in his new book, “Looking Up.” Along the way, he talks about weather — and the science behind it — in a way that reporters who cover storms can make good use of. Jenny Weeks reviews the volume for BookShelf.
When engineers reversed the Chicago River, they also upended a hydrologic system that years later required electrification to repel an invasive species threatening a major fishery. This is but one example from the latest book by New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert of the unintended consequences of human actions to dominate nature that may solve one problem only to create another. BookShelf contributor Gary Wilson has a review.
When Europeans colonized remote Indonesian islands centuries ago to dominate the trade in nutmeg and cloves, they were repeating a pattern of domination of peoples and nature that author Amitav Ghosh argues in his latest book has brought us to the present-day environmental crisis. BookShelf reviewer Melody Kemp offers praise for the book’s strong narrative qualities and incisive historical analysis.
How water moves through the global ecosystem and shapes our landscapes is the subject of a must-read new book by writer Erica Gies, according to BookShelf editor Tom Henry. A significant part of water’s story is how humanity invariably fails when trying to manipulate it. But hope may reside with Gies’ various “water detectives,” who explore how to “let water go where it wants to go.”
As a young man, Rodney Stotts knew plenty about drugs, guns and poverty and little about the other kinds of wildlife in his hometown. A chance offer of a job cleaning up Washington, D.C.’s Anacostia River set him on the path to becoming a master falconer — despite racist resistance — and a mentor to others who share his inner-city roots. BookShelf’s Jennifer Weeks reviews Stotts’ memoir, “Bird Brother.”
The historic discovery of the Clotilda — America’s “Last Slave Ship” — is only part of the story told in a new book by Alabama-based journalist Ben Raines, which tells the far larger tale about the ship’s survivors, the remarkable Jim Crow-era community they created and its ultimate erosion when faced by decades of environmental racism. A review by BookShelf Editor Tom Henry.
There was a moment within living memory when Democrats and Republicans came together — in a time of extraordinary political turmoil — to pass landmark legislation to clean U.S. waters, limit toxic substances and pesticides, and empower the government to protect the environment. BookShelf’s Nano Riley reviews a new book that explores that time, and which speculates on why things have changed.
Environmental writer Allison Cobb, in “Plastic: An Autobiography,” tells the story of the ubiquitous material through a series of interwoven narratives that range from her own experiences with it (including a discarded plastic car bumper), to the corporate origins of its spread and the way it’s now dangerously carpeting nature and damaging human communities. Contributor Nano Riley has a review in our new BookShelf.
A historical look at how profit and capitalism have ravaged the natural world is the subject of our new BookShelf review. Contributor Melody Kemp offers her take on award-winning Australian journalist Jeff Sparrow’s forthcoming volume, which explores the damage wrought by cars, roads and PR spin, as well as solutions suggested by models of Indigenous land management.