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Natural Grace Paperback – January 1, 2003

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Editorial Reviews


"Dietrich's colorful writing makes each seemingly mundane subject come alive, leaving the reader with a new-found appreciation for the most basic elements of life."―E/The Environmental Magazine


"In snappy, thoughtful, sometimes soaring and often funny prose, Bill Dietrich gives us a remarkable and memorable tour of our biotic realm. His penetrating portraits of flora and fauna both favorite and despised make us realize and cherish our rich natural setting as never before. Natural Graces burgeons forth in a happy parade of neat creatures riding the rain, the snow, the tides, and the quakes, leaving us no excuse at all for ignoring their beauty, fascination, and plight."―Robert Michael Pyle, author of National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies

"William Dietrich approaches the damp woods and shimmering waterways of the Pacific Northwest with a journalist’s curiosity and naturalist’s sense of wonder. The stories he finds there never fail to inform and delight. Natural Grace celebrates the mystery, complexity, and quirkiness of this still-wild corner of the earth. And it prompts us, even more deeply, to care for it."―Tim McNulty, author of Olympic National Park: A Natural History

"If you enjoyed Snow Falling on Cedars, perhaps you’d enjoy knowing more about snow, about cedars, and about every other natural phenomenon that makes the Northwest the most fecund and spectacular corner of our continent. This book should be as useful for anyone living in Oregon and Washington as the Portland and Seattle phonebooks."―Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature

"Bill Dietrich makes ‘the little things that run the world’ come gloriously and delightfully to life. If you haven’t loved jellyfish and plain old dirt before, you will now. Dietrich writes with wit and charm and sound knowledge of the natural world. This is classic natural history at its best."―Ann Zwinger, author of Shaped by Wind and Water: Reflections of a Naturalist


Product Details

  • Paperback: 246 pages
  • Publisher: University of Washington Press (January 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0295982934
  • ISBN-13: 978-0295982939
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #631,151 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I'm a novelist and non-fiction author of twenty-two books, the latest of which is "The Trojan Icon," the eighth in the series of Ethan Gage Napoleonic adventures. (February, 2016). A related title to this series is "Napoleon's Rules: Life and Career Lessons from Bonaparte." (March, 2015.) This nonfiction examination of Napoleon's life and maxims is an inspiring and cautionary tale for leaders, entrepreneurs, officers, or anyone with ambition and curiosity.

I published two books in the fall of 2014. One is my first young adult/adult thriller, "The Murder of Adam and Eve." This time-travel environmental-evolutionary tale set in prehistoric Africa has two 16-year-olds, Nick Brynner and Eleanor Terrell, trying to save our genetic ancestors from annihilation by an alien race. It's a coming of age story, survival story, love story, and environmental fable.

The other is a nonfiction coffee table-type book called "The North Cascades: Finding Beauty and Renewal in the Wild Nearby." The Mountaineers Books publication has more than 200 photos and illustrations and is a gorgeous read.

Meanwhile, my bestselling HarperCollins series of Ethan Gage adventures has sold into 28 languages. Other recent titles: "The Three Emperors," 2014, and "The Barbed Crown," 2013. All the Gage books are available in hardback, paper, and ebook versions.

I began my writing career as a newspaper reporter in 1973, eventually sharing a Pulitzer at the Seattle Times for coverage of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. I also taught for five years at Western Washington University's Huxley College of the Environment.

I published my first non-fiction book, "The Final Forest," in 1992. It was updated in 2010 to "The Final Forest: Big Trees, Forks, and the Pacific Northwest." It won the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award and the Governor Writers Award.

I followed that with "Northwest Passage: The Great Columbia River." A new edition with a new introduction is planned for the fall of 2016.

My first novel, "Ice Reich," came in 1998 and is a World War II thriller based on a real-life Nazi expedition to Antarctica. This bestseller is still available as an ebook.

My other novels:

"Getting Back." An eco-thriller set in the Australian Outback in the near future. Ebook.

"Dark Winter." A killer is on the loose among the personnel at America's South Pole base. Creepy! Ebook.

"Hadrian's Wall." Love, war, and conspiracy during the late Roman Empire. All formats.

"The Scourge of God." A young couple must survive the invasion of the empire by Attila the Hun. All formats.

"Blood of the Reich." A contemporary Seattle woman sees her car blown up and learns of her horrific connection to a 70-year-old Nazi conspiracy that will take her to Tibet and Germany. All formats.

And the Ethan Gage novels:

"Napoleon's Pyramids." Our American hero accompanies Napoleon's 1798 invasion of Egypt and grapples with pyramid mysteries.

"The Rosetta Key." Ethan and his companion Astiza are caught up in Bonaparte's 1799 invasion of the Holy Land and his ascension to power in France.

"The Dakota Cipher." Norse mysteries play a role in a struggle for power on the Great Lakes frontier.

"The Barbary Pirates." Ethan and his scientist friends find an ancient super-weapon coveted by pirates who are at war with America.

"The Emerald Storm." A stolen emerald leads Ethan and his new family into peril in Haiti and the lush, perilous isles of the Caribbean.

"The Barbed Crown." Ethan finds himself a spy as Napoleon prepares to crown himself emperor and France challenges England at the naval showdown of Trafalgar.

"The Three Emperors." Seeking to reunited with Astiza and his son Harry in 1805, Ethan must survive the battle of Austerlitz and hunt down a medieval machine that can foretell the future.

Additional nonfiction includes:

"On Puget Sound." With Art Wolfe photos.

"Natural Grace." Essays on plants and animals in my native Pacific Northwest.

"Green Fire: A History of Huxley College." The nation's first dedicated environmental college.

As you can see, I'm curious about many things. I also enjoy research.

Travel for my novels has taken me to the Arctic, Antarctic, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Australia, Sicily, Greece, Paris, Britain, Hungary, Tibet...hey, someone's got to do it. I've traveled on a sailboat in the South Pacific, landed on an aircraft carrier, flown in a B-52, visited the South Pole, and been terrified flying with the Blue Angels.

As a journalist, I was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard, won National Science Foundation fellowships to Antarctica, and speak frequently on environmental issues. I've covered Congress, the eruption of Mount St. Helens, the environment, science, social issues - even the military. I've traveled frequently for my writing, but live in the Pacific Northwest where I was born. I'm married, with two grown children.

I live in a house looking out at the San Juan Islands, surrounded by fir, cedar, and hemlock, and sometimes get to watch bald eagles while I'm writing. Connecting with readers is one of life's biggest thrills.

Email inquiries can be addressed to billdietrich@williamdietrich.com

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are interested in becoming better acquainted with the flora, fauna, and other natural features of the Puget Sound area, I highly recommend this book to you. It provides fascinating information about familiar plants, animals, dirt, and other natural features. A chapter is devoted to each subject, with a few chapters discussing several together. Although most people who live in this area, have some degree of familiarity with these subjects, the book provides more in depth information about each, including how they interact, are interdependent, and how they are important to the region. The book is written in an easy to read style that is not too academic for the casual reader. The topics in the first two sections include: Jellyfish, Alder, Deer, Gulls, Sea Otters, Coyote, crow, racoon & Possum; Dirt, Stream Life, Mosses & Lichens; Mosquitoes, and Spiders. The second and third sections are about Geology, Weather, Tides, Snow, Cedar, Geoducks, Crabs, cougars, Bald Eagles, and Killer Whales. The book ends with a suggested reading list and index.
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Format: Paperback
Natural Grace is a welcome respite from hectic twenty-first century current events. Both informative and entertaining, this book is quite simply a pleasure to read. Like much of natural history the subject matter is relaxed and yet exciting. I looked to forward to reading more of it every evening, right to the finish.

This book has my whole hearted recommendation. My father, who taught natural history most of his life, would have loved it as well.

John Leraas
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a compilation of natural history essays written for the Sunday edition of the Seattle Times. Each is a fascinating story about an animal, plant, or issue encountered in the Pacific Northwest. Full of interesting observations and well-written.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A very good read for anyone who loves the nature of the Northwest. A collection of articles written for the Sunday magazine. Dietrich brings the Northwest alive for someone who is not living there at present with vivid descriptions.
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