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The Moon in the Nautilus Shell: Discordant Harmonies Reconsidered Hardcover – September 14, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 0002- edition (September 14, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199913919
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199913916
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #734,516 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


2013 USA Best Book Awards Finalist


"I can't think of another author who has had so great an impact on natural resource management as Daniel Botkin. His most recent book, The Moon in the Nautilus Shell, challenges us to rethink ecology in the same way the Origin of Species changed the approach to biology. Botkin's reality-based ecology calls us to practice good science and effective conservation in this time when it is needed most." -- Kerry Fitzpatrick, Wildlife Ecologist, Michigan Department of Natural Resources


"Congratulations to Daniel Botkin on this remarkable book. How does our willingness to believe in a "balance of nature" affect all environmental thought? The question has never been more relevant or the answers here more profound. Best of all, they remain stories and never a sermon. Humans can be forgiven for believing in myths. However, it is time to be honest about why Mother Earth does not always behave the way we want. Solving environmental problems calls for candor-which is the beauty in the stories here. They are indeed earnest, and elegantly written. This remains a rare and masterful treatment of those environmental issues that somehow never go away." -- Alfred Runte, author of National Parks: The American Experience


"Daniel Botkin's 1990 book, Discordant Harmonies, was the most important publication about the environment --and especially about mankind and Nature-- written in the second half of the twentieth century. It is one of three books that I keep constantly on my bedside table. His new book, The Moon in the Nautilus Shell: Discordant Harmonies Reconsidered, is bound to play a similar role in the twenty-first century. This magisterial and beautifully written work weaves together threads from many disciplines -- from folkways and mythology and classical texts to the best of modern environmental science. Botkin tells it like it is, always objective, always fair, always tied to the facts." -- John R. Bockstoce, ethnologist and arctic historian


"Dan Botkin engages us to think deeply about the relation between Man and Nature--a relation that he examines from a fascinating diversity of modern, historical, and cultural perspectives. His book reveals the extent to which human decisions are influenced by an inherent need for mythologies, and how societal progress increasingly depends on obtaining facts and data to check those mythologies. It provokes natural scientists to pay more attention to, and appreciate, the rich complexities and dynamic nature of ecosystems. Through a series of highly illustrative examples, Botkin demonstrates that healthy skepticism is critical in guiding scientific inquiry and in making resource management and policy decisions." -- Pierre Glynn, US Geological Survey, National Research Program


"Dan's book is, essentially, a tribute to the knowledge we can gain from analyzing observed information about nature, in contrast to the knowledge we think is achieved through analyzing computer models of natural systems. Dan's writing about the search for scientific understanding of nature, and about conflicts between observations of what happens to creatures and places in the world when conservation strategies are based on symbolic models, is compelling and poetic." -- Joe Browder, an American environmental leader and first Conservation Director of Friends of the Earth


Featured in Reports of the National Center for Science Education


About the Author


Daniel B. Botkin is Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Santa Barbara

More About the Author

Daniel Botkin is a scientist who studies life from a planetary perspective, a biologist who has helped solve major environmental issues, and a writer about nature. Well-known for his scientific contributions in ecology and environment, he has also worked as a professional journalist and has degrees in physics, biology, and literature. A Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Daniel's books and lectures show how our cultural legacy often dominates what we believe to be scientific solutions.

In addition to his career as an ecologist, Dr. Botkin has maintained a lifelong interest in folklore and folkmusic, serving on the board of directors of the Folklife Center of the Library of Congress from 2004 to 2010. "There is a connection," Botkin explains of the seemingly disparate worlds. "For starters, a lot of what is said about nature is folklore, not science."

Customer Reviews

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See all 8 customer reviews
It is well written and accessible to the non-scientist.
John Feldman
Congratulations Dr Botkin for such an excellent commentary on natural resource management in what is evidently a culmination of a lifetime of experience.
Michael Ngugi
And as a forester much involved with public issues, I urge all citizens interested in the environment to read this book!
Robert Williams

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
“The Moon in the Nautilus Shell: Discordant Harmonies Reconsidered” is a fascinating look at man’s changing relationship with nature. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the environmental movement, natural resource management, and the issue of climate change. It is well written and accessible to the non-scientist. Stories are used to keep the pages turning. Not afraid to share how his viewpoint has changed over the years, Botkin’s account uses examples from environmental studies to show how our cultural assumptions and myths about nature greatly influence how we respond to environmental problems. But more often than not, nature doesn’t behave as we assumed it would. Botkin is wary of how complex scientific ideas become simplified and politicized. He urges us all to examine our cultural assumptions before we accept as “truth” theories about environmental dynamics and proposed solutions to environmental problems, particularly global warming. Fair warning.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bill Berg on August 27, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very well written and interesting book that weaves the planetary harmonies, the absolute requirement and the danger, of myth, metaphor and models to man's ability to understand. So much of modern life is bogged down in the day to day media cycle and the politicization of every last item of our life, that we miss the scope and the complexity of the world as it really is.

To be re-exposed to the fact that life (anaerobic bacteria) is what put oxygen in earths atmosphere to begin with, the nautilus has been clocking the orbit of the moon for 100's of millions of years, and we know that not only have there been at least 800K years of advances and retreats in the planet's ice cover because of the Vostok ice cores, is to breathe the fresh air of true apolitical scientific knowledge.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robert Williams on April 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In the "Moon In The Nautilus Shell," Dr. Botkin puts forth a view that we humans need to begin to understand we are part of nature, and that nature is changing all of the time and has been for thousands of years! As a forester, I urge all foresters and wildlife managers to read this book- its important! And as a forester much involved with public issues, I urge all citizens interested in the environment to read this book!
Botkin, one of our nation's leaders in ecological science, begins to point the way for solutions to many of our current political/ social enivironmental debates that have resulted in grid lock on meaningful decisions! This is a special book that will lead to fresh thinking and problem solving that is needed now!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael Ngugi on May 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Congratulations Dr Botkin for such an excellent commentary on natural resource management in what is evidently a culmination of a lifetime of experience. This is certainly a must read for anyone seriously interested in nature conservation, sustainable management of resources and ecological research. The evidence based approach makes the assertions on natural dynamics compelling without prosecuting an ideology. The book provides a balanced look at environmental challenges including climate change science with thought provoking examples of man verses nature and opportunities for policy and future ecological research. It is indeed a very good read, loaded by humorous stories and language well-tailored for a broad audience. Well worth reading!!
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