From Publishers Weekly
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Beautiful Swimmers, which focused on life around the Chesapeake Bay, now recounts his own nature-centered adventures around the globe, from New England to Tierra del Fuego to the jungles of Guatemala. In the opening essay, Warner describes his youthful escapade in a New England cave, where he and a friend tracked and awakened a group of about a dozen sleeping porcupines; Warner captured two of them barehanded. Next comes his account of how, during his college years, he participated in a dinosaur dig in Utah. Warner moves on to describe a birdwatching tour in the Dry Tortugas where he watched the watchers, a solo camping trip in the Maine woods at the height of the black fly season, and his encounter with a giant barracuda in the South Pacific. Whether his topic is howler monkeys, killer whales or old lighthouses, the author, a polished writer and perceptive observer of nature (including human), invariably informs and entertains.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
Elegant, low-profile, life-shaping events in the outdoors, from naturalist Warner. Collected here in ten essays are just the type of experiences that in their undramatic way quietly become the stuff of memory. For Warner, these indelible episodes took place in nature, and the why of this is explained in a moving introductory piece on his first forays into the wild under the tutelage of his irascible step-grandfather, who served in lieu of a father. The incidents cum adventures include digging for fossils in central Utah with a friend and a professor from Princeton in 1941 (said friend then shipping out after Pearl Harbor and dying in the Pacific), and hearing the thunderous slap of orcas flukes reverberate through the Patagonian hills (``I wanted to explore la tiera mas austral del mundo . . . I would do this entirely on my own, using only public transportation wherever such existed'') again in the early 1940s. During the same war that killed his friend, he first viewed a coral reef community through a pair of Hawaiian spear-fishing goggles made of wood and glass and an inner tube, and began asking all the right questions: Why all the color? Why all the variety? Why does this phenomenon touch me so? Some of the locales are impossibly remote or just plain difficult to get toEllesmere Island, the Virginia barrier islandswhile other places ensnare him in their force field, such as the Dry Tortugas, where amid the noddies and frigates and boobies of every persuasion a merlin dives and plucks a warbler from the air within inches of his ear. Such breadth of subject matter is no problem for Warner, who has a natural storyteller's talent for enthralling readers on any topic he chooses. Some 20 years ago, Warner won a deserved Pulitzer for his transcendent book Beautiful Swimmers: Watermen, Crabs, and the Chesapeake Bay. These essays have an equal understated beauty and display the same seasoned understanding of the natural world. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.