From Publishers Weekly
Barcott (The Measure of a Mountain
) relates the dramatic and heart-rending story of one woman's struggle to save the scarlet macaw in the tiny country of Belize. Sharon Matola, an eccentric American who directs the Belize Zoo, learned in 1999 that a Canadian power company planned to build a dam that would destroy the habitat of the 200 scarlet macaws remaining in Belize. Helped by native Belizeans and the Natural Resources Defense Council, Matola mounted a six-year campaign against the dam, undaunted by government officials who branded her an enemy of the state and threatened to destroy her zoo by locating a new national garbage dump next to it—a vindictive act halted only when Princess Anne of Great Britain, which gives Belize millions in aid, planned to speak out against it. But the combined forces of a determined corporation and a corrupt government were unrelenting, even after it was revealed that the power company's geological studies of the site were faulty and the dam could put human lives at stake. Barcott's compelling narrative is suspenseful right up to the last moment. (Feb. 12)
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Contributing editor to Outside
magazine and author Bruce Barcott (The Measure of a Mountain: Beauty and Terror on Mount Rainier
) has constructed a gripping and suspenseful account of one woman’s crusade against corrupt foreign governments and multinational corporations to save the habitat of an endangered bird. Barcott’s simple and eloquent prose, vivid descriptions, and ability to render the most complicated business deals and legal concepts in clear layman’s terms allow him to tame this unwieldy tale, which has unexpected twists and turns. The biggest point of divergence? Most critics found Barcott’s many narrative tangents informative, interesting, and even integral to the plot, while others called them tedious and distracting. Though the Chalillo Dam was completed in 2005, Matola’s story proves that one person can make a difference. (The jury is still out on the fate of the scarlet macaws.)Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.