Visually, audibly, even olfactorily, rivers are magnets for the senses and for the soul. In this profound and pensive collection of essays, Hood shares her trenchant observations on the often perilous state and frequently denigrated status of the world’s greatest, as well as its more obscure, rivers. From the venerable Ganges and Yangtze to the imposing Nile and Amazon, from the iconic Mississippi and Danube to the secluded Alligator and Tensaw, Hood journeyed to rivers whose history, ecology, and geography offer critical lessons on the resilience of the natural world and the tenuous fragility wrought by humanity’s influence. Part travelogue, part environmental encomium, Hood’s comprehensive commentary tackles themes as diverse as the effects of human tourism, the trend toward corporate domination, the tragedy of species eradication, and the consequences of horticultural invasion. A biologist and poet, Hood brings both a painstakingly informed and elegiac perspective to the myriad impediments confronting the environmental future of our planet’s most essential and endangered natural resources. --Carol Haggas
From the Back Cover
In this engaging travelogue of our world's rivers, great and small, poet and biologist Mary A. Hood reflects on rivers as creators of place. Recounting her journeys along portions of the Mississippi, the Danube, the Amazon, the Yangtze, the Ganges, the Nile, and a dozen small U.S. rivers, Hood weaves together natural history, current environmental and conservation issues, encounters with endangered plants and animals, and tells some interesting tales along the way.
Like a river, the book begins small, with essays that are narrowly focused on themes of environment and place, such as the need to write our world (Three Rivers), how fires (and corporations) control the West (the Flathead), the effect of wind farms on a small town in western New York (the Conhocton), the giant redwoods and how they were preserved (the Klamath), and the search for moose in the great north woods (the Penobscot). The second section expands the themes of environment and place and looks at great world rivers, their long histories, their biological diversity, the effects of human use and tourism, and the paradox of human reverence and destruction. From endangered species to invasive species, from corporate control of national parks to wind farms, from urban sprawl to efforts at conservation and restoration, RiverTime offers insights into our relationship to the environment in the twenty-first century.
"...[a] profound and pensive collection of essays..." -- Booklist
"Part ecotravel journal, part natural history, part plea for the assaulted rivers, RiverTime carries us around the world. There is beauty here, and fascination, and a desperate sense of last chances." -- Kathleen Dean Moore, author of The Pine Island Paradox and coeditor of Rachel Carson: Legacy and Challenge
"If you want to fall in love with a river, read this book." -- Tom Skerritt, American Rivers
"The author's range of knowledge, her thorough research, and her ability to address the importance of rivers to human and nonhuman life is impressive. She is an environmentalist, a scientist, and a scholar who attends to detail while also writing a fascinating and engaging personal account." -- Sue Walker, coauthor of In the Realm of Rivers: Alabama's Mobile-Tensaw Delta