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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on April 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I've read most of Linden's work, and this rates with the best. Readers not familiar with the author will find this a wonderful introduction to the world of animals and wild places that Linden often writes about. The portraits of places and people on the earth's "ragged edge" are vivid and thrilling and often funny. At points, the book makes you angry, since so many of these places are being degraded, but Linden offers some good news along the way-- stories of places still remarkably pristine and beautiful. Mainly, this book makes you want to get on the road and follow Linden into the wilds. It's a terrific read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 9, 2013
Format: Paperback
I once imagined myself as adventurous and thought that I would one day visit the ragged edge of the world. Now I realize that I am quite content at home with my three cats and a book which will take me there and Eugene Linden does a superb job of escorting me around various ragged edges of our planet as New Guinea, Congo, Antarctica, Peru, Borneo and Midway Island.

Linden has long been a journalist, beginning in the Vietnam war and since then specializing in environmental journalism. The Ragged Edge of the World is a series of vignettes about the places he has visited over his career. He enthralls the reader with stories of indigenous people, endangered species and their fragility and strengths in facing encroaching civilization, pollution and global warming.

Linden touches on several issues of concern in this book, one being the loss of indigenous knowledge:

"Tim mentioned a story he'd heard about the Penans, the last hunting and gathering tribe that still pursued a nomadic lifestyle in the highlands of Borneo. He explained that while those in the highlands would hunt wild boar timed to the appearance of a particular butterfly, their children away at school in the towns were already forgetting this tidbit of local knowledge. They might vaguely remember that their uncle would pay attention to this butterfly, but they couldn't say why he cared about it, or which kind of butterfly it was. While such knowledge might seem trivial, Tim noted that the relationship between the butterfly and the boar might be liked to the fruiting pattern of a rainforest tree, and such ecological connections could be invaluable to scientist trying to understand the dynamics and vulnerabilities of the local ecosystem.

That Story offered the prefect metaphor for a worldwide phenomenon I was studying --the loss of indigenous knowledge-- and suggested that learning it could be as elusive, fragile and evanescent as a butterfly itself."

I found this an intriguing idea, realizing how often civilization has dismissed indigenous people and felt the need to save them and civilized them without realizing that all people can make such valuable contributions to our civilized world. Later in the book ties this notion with that of primates losing their culture because of encroaching civilization:

"About ten years later science finally caught up with what Pygmies knew all along. This story about what we can learn from listening to those who live in the forest. It is also a story about how little we still know about our closest relatives. As noted earlier, what is a cultural holocaust for the indigenous people at the ragged edge of the world has reified into a literal holocaust for the great apes. Even those chimps that have survived in a few isolated enclaves still risk losing their culture. At the eleventh hour for these apes, we are finally discovering how rich their own culture is."

This is a favorite type of book for me which offers insight into animals, civilizations and parts of the world which I will never visit. I found Linden's book to be very readable and I looked forward to each new area and chapter.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 17, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Well written and an honest view of what is happening to other species ecosystems, which has shown has direct implications for the human species on this earth. It is perfect in length and gives the scientist perspective on what is essentially another "Collapse" but one with planet implications.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 21, 2014
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Written by a journalist who writes for Time, Smithsonian and National Geographic. If you are curious about indigenous peoples in remote parts of the world, you will love this book. And they are everywhere! So interesting to compare and contrast with modern civilizations around them. I would love to read other books by this author.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 23, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
...so I cannot review it except to say that the other book by the same author which I got at the same time was wonderful, so I expect the same wisdom and humor in thia one.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2011
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
This is my first book I have read by Eugene Linden, so maybe it will take some time to get used to his style. But so far (have not completed the book yet), I find myself searching for more detail in his writing, more background, more description. I am a big fan of Ian Frazier and John McPhee, whose books seem to be more fulsome. I do like the book though, and the concept behind the book is very interesting.
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5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on March 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I couldn't put it down!!! Such an unusual book. Kind of a travel book but it's more. Four people in my book club are reading it too. What else has this guy written. I'm going to find out
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