BookShelf

Environmental Journalist Recounts His Historical Slave-Era Find

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.

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‘The Green Years’ — When the Environment Eclipsed Politics

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.

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A Castoff Bumper Leads to a Literary ‘Autobiography’ of Plastic

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.

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Aussie Author’s Angry Look at ‘Crimes Against Nature’

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.

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The Call of the Conch — How Seashells Tell Nature’s Story

Cynthia Barnett’s deeply researched and engagingly written new book, “The Sound of the Sea: Seashells and the Fate of the Oceans,” brilliantly weaves together mollusk anecdotes, ocean science and human history as it takes a deep dive into the nature of seashells and the story of their connection to us. Read Tom Henry’s review in the new BookShelf.

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‘Wild Souls’ Explores Paradox of Managing Species To Save Them

What does wildness mean when humans interfere with the lives of wild animals in order to protect them? A new volume, “Wild Souls,” explores that dilemma, whether arising through captive breeding programs to reintroduce the California condor and the gray wolf, by allowing hybridization or through the use of gene-editing tools. A review from BookShelf contributor Jenny Weeks.

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Hayhoe Makes Case for Healing Over Climate Change

A new volume by renowned climate communicator Katharine Hayhoe argues for a new way of talking about climate change that seeks common ground, greater respect and an effort to show how nearly everyone is affected. BookShelf editor Tom Henry reviews Hayhoe’s “Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World” and its hopeful message.

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How ‘The Swamp Peddlers’ Scammed Their Way to Florida’s Eco-Destruction

How did Florida go from an uncrowded home of pine forests, wetlands and ranches to today’s sprawling subdivisions spawning environmental disaster? A new volume gains praise from BookShelf reviewer Nano Riley for its well-researched look at the unscrupulous developers who in a matter of decades carved the state’s ecosystems into lots for sale, trading its pristine beauty for an easy buck.

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“Saving America’s Amazon: The Threat to Our Nation’s Most Biodiverse River System”

A slender new volume makes a substantial case for recognizing (and better protecting) one of America’s most diverse ecosystems — Alabama’s Mobile River Basin. BookShelf Editor Tom Henry reviews Ben Raines’ text, full of fascinating info, images and insights, and which serves as a reminder that some of our nation’s most precious, yet little-noted environments, can be found nearest home.

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A Look Back at the Birth of the Animal Rights Movement

The origins of the struggle to protect animal welfare began with preventing the brutal mistreatment of carriage horses. And a new volume explores how one man did much to extend those protections to many species with the founding of the ASPCA. Our BookShelf has a review of “A Traitor to His Species: Henry Bergh and the Birth of the Animal Rights Movement.”

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