- Publisher: St Martins Pr (July 8, 2008)
- ASIN: B001JYOQJ2
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,313,187 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Where the Wild Things Were Hardcover – July 8, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
One of them, as William Stolzenburg demonstrates in his excellent Where the Wild Things Were, is our centuries old declaration of war against predatory animals. In eliminating many of them, we thought we were improving the world. In fact, however, predators are "keystone species" whose existence holds up the "archway of life." Remove them, and the whole shebang comes down. A classic example of this, documented by Stolzenburg, is the rampant over-population of white tail deer in the U.S. and the devastating consequences to flora and fauna, that resulted from the near-eradication of wolves.
Even worse, essential predators can be eliminated unintentionally and unpredictably by interfering with the ecological balance. The killing of sea otters, for example, has allowed sea urchins (otter food) to flourish, which means that Pacific kelp (sea urchin food) is in grave danger of extinction, which in turn is creating havoc on kelp-eating whale populations. The complexity of the whole thing is exponentially increased when one stops to consider that all species are predatory--even those we'd never think of in such terms, such as starfish(to mussels)--and so everytime we deliberately or accidentally raise or lower species populations, we're risking grave upsets in the balance of the whole.Read more ›
Reading this book really jolted me out of my previous beliefs about predators, which was that, while they were great for a story, they didn't serve any irreplaceable role in the world. It also gave me a clearer understanding of some of the weaknesses with the Endangered Species Act. Now I'm even almost willing to quit complaining about the bear that wanders through our neighborhood every summer.
This book is well-written and easily understood by a layperson like me. In places, it is almost like a murder mystery. I found myself getting to the end of a chapter on otters and not being able to put the book down because I wanted to find out what happened to them next. Time passed quickly while I read this book. It actually kept me awake at night, which doesn't usually happen with a nonfiction book about nature. What a great book!
I am extremely excited to introduce family and friends to "Where the Wild Things Were"... My hope is that this book will receive the vast exposure it so richly deserves...
In this book, Stolzenburg recounts the history of predatory biology as a series of riveting mystery stories. In his capable hands, the stories read like literature; they are thrilling and exciting. As I read each tale, I couldn't help but feel like I was a voyeur tagging onto the coattails of one brilliant scientist after another, each one passionately hell-bent on finding the scientific truth buried in a puzzle of conflicting evidence. Eventually, when the facts fell into place, I was filled with the thrill of discovery. I can't recall many books that have made me feel so intellectually stimulated and delighted!
I actually read this book twice. The first time, I borrowed the book from the local library and only spent a few hours browsing through the text, reading here and there, trying to pick up the sense of the whole. I had to return the book before I could read it in earnest, but that brief encounter did not impress me. Browsing the book did not unlock the magic in its pages. A few weeks later, my Advanced Readers Copy arrived and I took the time to settle down and give this book my full attention.
I soon discovered that this is not a book to browse. To enjoy this collection of scientific stories, readers have to read it cover to cover--they have to give themselves over to the work and let the author pace their reading. Readers have to allow themselves the time to let each story play itself out from beginning to end.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An outstanding overview of community ecology along with sophisticated writing. The first ~200 pps are outstanding in educating the reading public on the environmental catastrophe... Read morePublished 1 month ago by John Bell
A very well-written book allowing the non-scientist to fully understand the principles of top-down ecology with wonderful examples yet provide enough detail to keep the scientist... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Dean Carrier
William Stolzenberg has written an entertaining and thought-provoking analysis of "Earth's increasingly fangless kingdom. Read morePublished 2 months ago by A reader
Every human being needs to read this book to understand the "unseen" impact we've done as a result of the anti-predator process that's been carried out over the last 1000... Read morePublished 3 months ago by David E Unger
The real thing. If you want to know what's going on this is it.Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
Very well written discourse of what happens when we try to fool mother nature. Every link we remove from the trophic pyramid creates havoc on the species left. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Jim McCord
With merciless editing, this could have been a great book. Stolzenburg's trove of information about the imbalance of nature in the absence of top predators is unfortunately padded... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Speede
I reread this book and found it better the second read. He makes a solid and convincing case that predators control ecosystems, and that--as another reviewer eloquently put it--if... Read morePublished 11 months ago by lyndonbrecht
I really loved this book. Well written and thought provoking about how one little change can snowball into something we did not expect. Read morePublished 13 months ago by inkneedeep