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Why We Are Here: Mobile and the Spirit of a Southern City Hardcover – October 8, 2012


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Why We Are Here: Mobile and the Spirit of a Southern City + Harriet Beecher Stowe and the Beecher Preachers (Unforgettable Americans) + Masquerade: The Life and Times of Deborah Sampson, Continental Soldier
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Liveright; 1 edition (October 8, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0871404702
  • ISBN-13: 978-0871404701
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 0.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #170,073 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Pulitzer Prize–winning naturalist and Harvard professor Wilson (On Human Nature) and acclaimed photographer and Duke University professor Harris (River of Traps) team up to convey the spirit of Mobile, Ala., through text and images. Wilson writes of his childhood in Mobile and recounts the complicated heritage of his hometown in a sprawling essay that weaves personal, social, economic, political, and natural history.... Harris’s intimate pictures beautifully capture quotidian moments, offering a context for the diverse characters, lush landscapes, and events, traumatic and joyful, that define Mobile today: a high school football team marches arm-in-arm; a tiger swallowtail hesitates in a verdant meadow; a Civil War re-enactor poses with Confederate memorabilia; two outstretched arms, one black and one white, point toward the infinity of the Gulf of Mexico’s horizon. A hybrid document meant to be as much about “the meaning of place as it is about a place itself,” the book is a thoughtful meditation on community and storytelling that reminds us we will never understand ourselves until we know where we come from.” (Publishers Weekly)

“The great naturalist E. O. Wilson, who grew up in Mobile, and the photographer Alex Harris evoke and explore that exceptional city and its surroundings… The upshot, revealed in this uncommonly effective marriage of photographs and text, is a place at once deeply southern and more than a bit foreign.” (Atlantic Monthly)

“Excellent… Mr. Harris’s photographs are inquisitive, and Mr. Wilson’s prose is similarly vivid.” (Dwight Garner - New York Times)

“Delightful… The Mobile Bay area is a distinctive and special place, as anyone who lives here knows. E. O. Wilson, world-renowned scientist and author; and Alex Harris, appreciative outsider with a gifted eye, get this in their bones, and in Why We Are Here proclaim it from the rooftops.” (John S. Sledge - Mobile Bay Magazine)

About the Author

Edward O. Wilson is widely recognized as one of the world's preeminent biologists and naturalists. The author of more than twenty books, including The Creation, The Social Conquest of Earth, and Letters to a Young Scientist, Wilson is a professor emeritus at Harvard University. The winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, he lives in Lexington, Massachusetts.

Born in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1949, Alex Harris, acclaimed photographer, Duke University professor, and Pulitzer Prize finalist for River of Traps, lives in Durham, North Carolina.

More About the Author

Regarded as one of the world's preeminent biologists and naturalists, Edward O. Wilson grew up in south Alabama and the Florida Panhandle, where he spent his boyhood exploring the region's forests and swamps, collecting snakes, butterflies, and ants--the latter to become his lifelong specialty. The author of more than twenty books, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning "The Ants" and "The Naturalist" as well as his first novel "Anthill," Wilson, a professor at Harvard, makes his home in Lexington, Massachusetts.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Carol Pritchett on December 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is one our family will treasure. I gave it to my daughter for her main Christmas gift, but we will be borrowing it to read the text. My husband and I looked at the wonderful pictures, but when I have more time I want to read it.
There were other nice gifts for my daughter, but this was the first go-to gift she opened. It was expensive in the local book store, but on line it was an amazing savings even with shipping, I got it $15 less than the books store.
If you are interested in Mobile, or just in a classic Southern City, this is a book you need to have.
I'd read about it in our local newspaper, so began to hunt it then. But I was positive I could beat the $35 price tag at the book store.
I highly recommend this book. It is well worth paying even the full price, but the Amazon site makes it even better. I always love getting a bargain, and this may have been the top one of the season.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mike on September 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Biologist and Alabama native Edward O. Wilson presents a wonderful accounting of the people and culture of the Alabama Gulf region. Packed with full-page, beautiful images by photographer Alex Harris, Why We Are Here explores the heart and soul of Mobile, from it's diverse inhabitants to the intriguing plant and animal life.

This book would make a great conversation starter as a coffee table book. You can't help but pick it up and flip through its pages. Why We Are Here is a wonderful book that I highly recommend!

I received a copy of this book for free through Goodreads First Reads in exchange for an honest review.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By downtownsound on December 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mobile gets some much- deserved attention in this well-written book. Packed with history and good food, the city is one of America's hidden treasures, and Mr. Wilson's obvious personal affection shows up in his fine writing. A gift!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
E.O Wilson's eloquent words together with Alex Harris' particular, yet universal, images make for a splendid book. Mobile thanks you both!
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