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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone has a crow story
Haupt has written a much needed book for today's busy lifestyle. We all hear about nature and how we need to respect it, but often we don't know how, or even where to begin. Haupt tackles this problem by simply focusing on one animal, the crow. It's a bird common to most people and easy to spot, unlike most songbirds that stay in the trees and are hard to study. Crows are...
Published on August 31, 2009 by Howard Clark Jr.

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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Crow Planet
I liked the crow anecdotes, which were interesting and sometimes touching. I could have done without the preaching and philosophy, however. There was about as much about crows in this book as there is about motorcycles in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
Published on November 13, 2009 by E. Kasper


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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone has a crow story, August 31, 2009
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This review is from: Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness (Hardcover)
Haupt has written a much needed book for today's busy lifestyle. We all hear about nature and how we need to respect it, but often we don't know how, or even where to begin. Haupt tackles this problem by simply focusing on one animal, the crow. It's a bird common to most people and easy to spot, unlike most songbirds that stay in the trees and are hard to study. Crows are out in the open and, being members of the corvid family, are intelligent and lively. Crows and other corvids are problem-solvers; they enjoy manipulating items and seem to think about what they are doing.

Haupt uses the crow as a communication tool to open the reader to the world of nature and observation. The book is filled with interesting stories about crows, and is solid with information on crow behavior, ecology, and general biology. Haupt has done her homework, not just on crow ecology, but also how to relate this ecology to philosophy and everyday thinking about global issues. In the book we see the journey crows take between life and death, and how we should relate to these concepts in our own lives.

Haupt brings up a topic about which I have strong feelings. There seems to be a void in the lives of our children regarding nature. It seems that young folk would rather stay indoors and fi ddle with electronic devices than venture outside and poke around in shrubbery and trees or lift rocks to discover the small worlds within. My daughter is two years old and is allowed, under supervision of course, to freely explore nature. As we pull weeds in the back yard, or work in the garden, she observes insects and toads, and I teach her that these things are alive and interesting. With this sort of exposure at a young age, I hope she will grow up to be an optimistic steward of the planet, doing her part to give nature the respect it deserves.

Haupt concludes with a meaningful thought. Instead of being wholeheartedly melancholy over the ecological state of the earth, she chose to dwell in possibility, as Emily Dickinson suggested, "...we cannot predict what will happen but we make space for it ... and realize that our participation has value." Haupt explains that this is grown-up optimism, "where our bondedness with the rest of creation, a sense of profound interaction, and a belief in our shared ingenuity give meaning to our lives and actions on behalf of the more-than-human world."
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspire your inner Urban Naturalist, August 19, 2009
This review is from: Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness (Hardcover)
An inspired choice for any bird lover or reading group, Crow Planet is the author's personal journey to better understand nature in the urban landscape in which we live. Her work is a conversation with the reader pondering questions like: What is nature? How do we effect it and it us? And how can we better understand the ecology of the neighborhood surrounding us?

Crows are the gateway into her growth as an Urban Naturalist and we are invited along to wonder at their intelligence and adaptability.

There is a breezy style to Haupt's prose that is thought provoking, wistful, comforting; like reminiscing with an old friend late into the night. In Crow Planet Haupt is equal parts Environmentalist, Biographer and Naturalist, inspiring us to discover more about our own corner of the world. A Great Read!
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Crow Planet, November 13, 2009
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This review is from: Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness (Hardcover)
I liked the crow anecdotes, which were interesting and sometimes touching. I could have done without the preaching and philosophy, however. There was about as much about crows in this book as there is about motorcycles in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book for a lifetime, November 22, 2009
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This review is from: Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness (Hardcover)
I ordered the book on the recommendation of a friend and am more than happy with the selection. This is the kind of book that friends will be telling their friends about for years to come. Though I finished the book months ago, I keep turning the ideas and questions it raised over and over in my head. What is nature? What does it mean in relation to my very urban surroundings? And just what *are* those crows up to anyway?

The author takes us along on an urban naturalist's journey and through it we gain insights into the web of living things in which we are all enmeshed. Grim environmentalism this is not. If you're looking for the harsh statistics and glum forecasts of doom that pervade our media, look elsewhere. If you're looking for a dry and dusty reference manual to the genus Corvus, keep browsing. If however you hunger for a celebration of nature (and crows!) and something to bring the joy back to caring about and living in our environment, then this is the portable feast you need.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A lyric book, January 6, 2010
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This review is from: Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness (Hardcover)
"Crow Planet" is a lyric book. Most of the text is devoted to the author's feelings, her family, her ideas about nature, the role of man on earth and the like.

The volume is organized in ten chapters, written as small essays, without much relationship among each other. The titles are: Getting Up, Preparing, Reading, Walking, Dwelling, Helping, Seeing, Coexisting , Dying and Flying. There is nothing systematic on them. The reader will not find much scientific or at least observational data. Most of the little information provided about crows is easily found elsewere.

This was not exactly the book I was looking for, but somehow I liked it. It transmits a feeling of peace and "good vibrations" that make it an easy read, in spite of the fact that the author's prose is not simple.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Crow Population Bomb, November 1, 2011
By 
Giordano Bruno (Here, There, and Everywhere) - See all my reviews
There are too many crows on the planet right now, just as there are too many humans, and the crows are our accessories in the extinction of other species. That's a startling assertion, isn't it? But it's probably true. Crow populations are calculated to be greater now than ever in history, and the reason is that crows have evolved the capability of living well among and near humans. In other words, crow and human populations tend to be directly proportional. There's a neologism for describing species that thrive alongside humans -- synanthropes -- the best examples being crows and rats. Where humans are few, crows are not the preponderant species of birds that they've become in most towns and cities, rivaling pigeons. And both crows and ravens are becoming more artful in big city life. More street wise. I've watched this evolution during my lifetime, as crows have become more adept at urban survival. In some cities worldwide, crows have begun to displace pigeons, though I never see humans misguidedly feeding flocks of crows as they do pigeons. I think this really is an example of co-evolution that began with the earliest appearance of "disrupted" environments caused by human settlement. Crows thrive in disrupted environments. But wait! What do crows provide to humans? Scavenger services. Especially on modern roads. Vultures are too slow to fly away from road kill; they tend to amalgamate with it. Without crows, we'd be bumper deep in dead raccoons.

Lyanda Lynn Haupt wasn't, and isn't, a rapturous admirer of crows, and her book isn't a ethological or physiological study of them. If you read it thoughtfully, you'll find that Haupt regards crows as analogous to 'canaries in a mine shaft', as living alarm signals of ecological imbalance and potential calamity. There are amusing crow-anecdotes in the book, as well as a reasonable amount of amateur ethology, but "Crow Planet" is really an extended meditation on the 'place of humanity in nature' -- or perhaps 'the place of nature within the human' -- explicitly in the tradition of Henry David Thoreau and Aldo Leopold. both of whom are mentioned and quoted often. But since Haupt is admittedly 'alarmed' about the future, about the now-unavoidable impact of anthropogenic climate change, about ever-expanding habitat destruction, about heedless pollution -- yes, friends, she is one of those tree-hugging Alarmists who probably support the Endangered Species Act and oppose the use of plastic shopping bags -- much of her book could be described as a Sermon. The scornful one-star reviews already posted about this book are largely from people offended by Lyanda Lynn's 'preaching'.

Here's a sample: ""We live in such a time now, when our collective actions over the next several years will decide whether earthly life will continue its descent into ecological ruin and death or flourish in beauty and diversity."

And how's this for Doomsday preaching: "... it seems that the best prospect for a flourishing, ecologically vibrant, evolutionarily rich earth would be a massive, brutal overturning of the human population followed by several millennia of planetary recovery." Ouch! Honestly, I've had the same thought, but I rather hope the "overturning" can be delayed until after my grandchildren-to-be have their share of earthly delights.

Those who disagree with Haupt's prophecies -- scoffers at global warming, for instance -- will automatically detest her sermon. Judging by the negative reviews, they tend to go quickly "ad hominem" in order to discredit her message. She's hippy-dippy, neurasthenic, self-righteous and self-absorbed, naive, a mere suburban housewife from the 'liberal' Northwest. Here I have to examine my own prejudices: Lyanda Lynn is an 'eco-nudge' with the unctuous literary manner of a third grade teacher. It's one thing to be lectured about fundamental attitudes toward existence by Thoreau or Leopold, but quite another to be lectured by a Seattle housewife. Well, that's shameful male/academic/cosmopolitan chauvinism in me, isn't it? But I'm being honest; I felt rather disdainful of Haupt's sermonizing for at least the first half of the book. But then I had to soften, to let the fundamental wisdom and substance of her meditations mean more to me than my discomfort with her personality. I had to pause and say "she's right, you know" in order to appreciate how very right she is.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Crow...wherefor art thou?, December 21, 2009
By 
Arzurama (Seattle, WA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness (Hardcover)
I agree with earlier reviewers that this "Crow Planet" could have used a few more corvid inhabitants. Although the ruminations about St Benedict's Law or the author's nervous breakdown were perhaps telling of her reasons for writing in general, I was seeking a more focused book on my favorite birds. In that sense, "Crow Planet" was a letdown.

I will, however, give Haupt major credit for placing crows in an unbiased, objective position, shedding light on the elements driving their population expansion in our rapidly deteriorating biosphere. It always infuriates me when people...those who travel to Africa on safari and cast themselves as wildlife sophisticates because they "understand" the fight for survival of the fittest...castigate our own avian neighbors for merely surviving in a landscape that we ourselves have degraded. I wish I could send each & every one of them a copy of "Crow Planet" for Xmas!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crows ' Humans, February 5, 2011
This review is from: Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness (Hardcover)
I always knew crows were smart creatures, just never knew to this extent that is expressed in this book. If you love crows, read this. If you hate crows- DEFINITELY read this. I guarantee this book will change your mind. And if you're indifferent, read this, too. Doesn't hurt to learn something new! Crows are amazing creatures, and after reading this book I've been noticing more and more of the things that they do every day. This is an easy read, as in Haupt makes everything clear to understand. Wonderfully written and filled with astounding facts about crows. Just read it :)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I read it in one day, June 18, 2013
From the moment I picked it up to the last page, I loved Crow Planet for all its wit, wisdom and well written information on crows and our interactions with them. I'll recommend this book to everyone! Thank you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous book, February 18, 2013
By 
Robert Knight (Blue Hill, Maine USA) - See all my reviews
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This is one of those books that somebody gives you (because they know you like crows?) and you dutifully figure you ought to read it. Think again! This is an extremely interesting, extremely well written book about crows (certainly) but more about how we fit into urban life. Very insightful, not preachy. I have bought numerous copies to give to deserving people. It's a book that's hard to classify, but you will not regret buying this book.
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Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness
Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness by Lyanda Lynn Haupt (Hardcover - July 27, 2009)
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