Wild Ones and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $27.95
  • Save: $7.78 (28%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 17 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Add to Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Like New | Details
Condition: Used: Like New
Add to Cart
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Wild Ones: A Sometimes Dismaying, Weirdly Reassuring Story About Looking at People Looking at Animals in America Hardcover – May 16, 2013


See all 4 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$20.17
$2.91 $0.99


Frequently Bought Together

Wild Ones: A Sometimes Dismaying, Weirdly Reassuring Story About Looking at People Looking at Animals in America + On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes
Price for both: $38.99

Buy the selected items together
  • On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes $18.82

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The (May 16, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159420442X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594204425
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #129,464 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Mooallem grapples with the complex realities of conservation by looking at polar bears in Manitoba, butterflies near San Francisco, and the supervised migration of whooping cranes between Wisconsin and Florida. On one level, this is a bleak narrative because these animals are in human-caused peril and the pathway to saving them leads to more questions than answers. How much should we do to save an animal? Do we destroy an animal’s true nature when our effort to save it requires intrusive management? Mooallem argues that by focusing on the animals themselves, we are overlooking the point of the Endangered Species Act, which stressed the paramount importance of ecosystems—a far more difficult thing to save than a species. He strives for the big picture here and gently guides readers through what ultimately becomes a poignant tribute to all who try to make the world a better place. This is a wise approach to a troubling subject, and Mooallem’s words do give us something to hold on to as we continue to struggle with what it means to save the planet. --Colleen Mondor

Review

***A New York Times Notable Book of 2013***

“[An] ambitious and fascinating first book… [Mooallem] seamlessly blends reportage from the front lines of wildlife conservation with a lively cultural history of animals in America, telling stories of people past and present whose concern for animals makes them act in ways that are sometimes unexpected, sometimes heroic, and occasionally absurd.” New York Times Book Review

A thoughtful parable of Americans’ complicated relations with conservationists and the wildlife they protect.”The New Yorker

Intelligent and highly nuanced… This book may bring tears to your eyes. If so, they will be drawn out by the tragedy of what we have done and the all-too-often pathetic efforts to turn back the clock. But read through the tears, and you will find yourself more informed, more prepared to make a difference. Mooallem has done those of us who care deeply about nature and wildlife a favor, leaving us justifiably off balance but putting us in a better position to move beyond hubris to pragmatic solutions.” --San Francisco Chronicle

“An engaging nature/environment book that goes beyond simple-minded sloganeering.” – Kirkus

 “Wild Ones heightens one’s awareness of the precipitous position of so many of our animal species, but it’s also filled with curiosity and hope. The men and women that Mooallem tails are dreamers, but you wind up rooting for them to keep on dreaming.” – Smithsonian

There is, in short, ridiculously lots to love about Jon Mooallem’s Wild Ones—starting with its thoughtful and troubling observation that our increasingly extravagant effort at species conservation is a corollary to, as much as a solution for, our habit of rendering wild animals extinct.” – New York Magazine

“Mooallem argues conservation is and always has been about fulfilling people’s need for nostalgic wildness, however contrived and fictitious it may be. Every generation strives to return the Earth to some idealized former state. Although his journey is sobering, Mooallem’s conclusion is upbeat: Even small conservation victories matter.” – Discover

“Mooallem manages to pinpoint something peculiar yet poignant about being human, and as a result, reading his pieces often feels like being tricked by an approachable wink masking a sharp jab to the gut... Be prepared to be surprise-gutted.” East Bay Express
 
“A clear-eyed look at our coy relationship with endangered animals.” Nature

“If I could write this review entirely in smiley faces and majestic animal emojis, I would: Wild Ones is easily one of the best books I've come across this year. It's more readable than most novels, stuffed with more fascinating, offbeat trivia than the last three issues of The New Yorker combined….It's incredibly well-researched, relevant, challenging stuff.” Portland Mercury

“‘If we choose to help [polar bears] survive,’ Mooallem writes, ‘it will require a kind of narrow, hands-on management—like getting out there and feeding them.’ Among a lot of environmentalists, those are fighting words. All respect to Mooallem for having the guts to say them.” Outside Magazine

This book is dense with both thought and fact… It is written with a vernacularly light touch, shot through with compassion and wit, not to mention open amazement, the only apt response to the story of our monumental hubris.” – The Daily Beast

“Mooallem argues that by focusing on the animals themselves, we are overlooking the point of the Endangered Species Act, which stressed the paramount importance of ecosystems—a far more difficult thing to save than a species. He strives for the big picture here and gently guides readers through what ultimately becomes a poignant tribute to all who try to make the world a better place. This is a wise approach to a troubling subject, and Mooallem’s words do give us something to hold on to as we continue to struggle with what it means to save the planet.” – Booklist

"It is impossible to express, within the tiny game-park confines of a back cover, how amazing I find this book. I love it line by perfect, carefully crafted line, and I love it for the freshness and intelligent humanity of its ideas. As literary nonfiction, as essay, as reportage, Wild Ones is, to my mind, about as good as writing gets."
—Mary Roach, author of Stiff and Gulp

"I love Jon Mooallem and I love animals, but this book is even better than the sum of its parts. Mooallem makes a persuasive case that wild animals are America's cultural heritage—our Sistine Chapel and our Great Books—and the story he tells is an archetypal American one. Even as the animals are being destroyed by unthinking, unconscious corporate forces, they are also being rescued through the tremendous energy and ingenuity of individuals, men and women who wear whooping-crane costumes, cohabitate with dolphins, and encourage condors to ejaculate on their heads. Wild Ones made me proud to be American."
—Elif Batuman, author of The Possessed

"Part harrowing arctic adventure, part crazy airborne travelogue, and often funny family trek, Wild Ones shows us that while saving species might be of debatable value to some, it is maybe in our genes, and definitely in our hearts. Mooallem's analysis of our various environmental movements has the breadth and penetrating clarity of Michael Pollan, but more importantly he makes us wonder even more about a world that is in desperate need of more wonder."
—Robert Sullivan, author of Rats and My American Revolution

"During the course of his three expeditions, Jon Mooallem collects in the specimen jars of his elegant paragraphs enough ironies, curiosities, insights, and revelations—enough life, wild and otherwise—to stock a mind-altering museum, one unlike any other, in which Martha Stewart has wandered into the polar bear exhibit, and the Hall of North American Animals turns out also to be a hall of mirrors. With Mooallem as your nature guide, you won't look at wild animals—or at Homo americanus—quite the same way again."
—Donovan Hohn, author of Moby-Duck

More About the Author

JON MOOALLEM has been a contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine since 2006 and is a writer at large for Pop-Up Magazine, the live magazine in San Francisco. He's also contributed to This American Life, The New Yorker, Harper's, Wired, and many other magazines. He is the author of WILD ONES and AMERICAN HIPPOPOTAMUS. He and his family live in San Francisco. Find him at jonmooallem.com or on Twitter, @jmooallem

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
5 star
53
4 star
13
3 star
2
2 star
2
1 star
0
See all 70 customer reviews
This is an outstanding book on the very complex topic of conservation.
R. Archer
I don't think I'll ever see things quite the same way again, which is the highest praise I can give any book.
David Heatley
Jon Mooallem's writing is engaging, smart, funny, hopeful, and bizarre.
Julie Caine

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By R. Schwenk VINE VOICE on April 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As suggested by the subtitle, this book looks at the people who devote themselves to the conservation of endangered species in the United States and Canada. Mooallem has spent huge amounts of time with these conservationists, interviewing them, following them, even helping out as a volunteer. We get to learn a lot about some endangered species, what it takes to keep them from going extinct, and how dedicated the people are who work to save them.

The book is exceptionally well-written. Mooallem tells many compelling stories, introduces us to a string of memorable characters, past and present, and meditates eloquently on the philosophy of conservation and our relationship with nature. He was motivated to explore this topic when he observed that Isla, his young daughter, is surrounded by pictures, books, and toys depicting wild animals, some of whom will undoubtedly go extinct during her lifetime. This proves to be a rich vein for philosophical meditation as he ponders what kind of world we are leaving for our children and how will they feel about our negligence.

Mooallem explores the history of conservation from the time when all wild animals were killed for sport and economic reasons through the passage of the Endangered Species Act in the 1970s and on to the present. The idea that a species could go extinct was never considered by the early European settlers of the New World. The abundance of wildlife and the vast domain of wilderness conspired with the notion that God would never allow a species to disappear. The extinction of the passenger pigeon and the near extinction of the bison became a sort of wake-up call to human empathy for wild things.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By DM on July 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Let me skip to the punchline: This book is brilliant. Such an entertaining read. So smart, so funny. It's really profound, too, but that part of it sneaks up on you, because you're having such a good time traveling around the country with Mooallem, meeting all these vivid characters, listening to the author tell crazy true stories from our history. It's a perfect weekend or vacation read.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By David Klatt on August 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Here's a note I just wrote to my brother to get him to buy this book:

This guy, Jon Mooallem, takes a look at three animals and their habitats -- the polar bear, the Lange's metalmark butterfly and the whooping crane -- and tells the stories of the people who live near them and work to preserve them, which brings him to bigger questions, including why we humans work our asses off (or not) to preserve some animals and not others.

This book is full of stories about the early days of Americans interacting with nature, stories we tell ourselves about the natural world, and one in particular that reveals just how far out of his way Thomas Jefferson once went to show a French official just how much bigger the moose are over in America.

If you like looking at animals (cool), or watching people look at them (creepy, but OK), take a look at this book.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Brett Farrell VINE VOICE on May 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Sometimes these "people looking at people who..." books can be very dull and full of far to many of the authors opinions and biases but this book manages to look fairly and generally subjectively at all parties concerned and with a style that makes putting this book down very dificult to do. The authors journeys are riveting and he always takes you to the begining of each creatures conservational origins (when people first started to care about them). There is a great amount of detail through out so you don't feel left out of reach of any of what the author is talking about but it all also explained in laymens terms so you are never confused. This was a wonderful book and I will keep it in my library for ever.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sart Dart on August 31, 2013
Format: Hardcover
As Mooallem writes about those who look at animals, I find myself falling straight into the category of people who are most interested in big fuzzy things: polar bears. (I guess he nailed it!) Mooallem has captured we human animal-viewers so well. His book is about animals, and people, and people looking at animals, and people trying to save animals, and animals disregarding the lines and laws and rules and boundaries that we humans try to put up to protect, control, herd, coerce... love(?) that which we want to see in the wild. This book does not preach, it does not try to convince. It is simply a window into the world we most likely thought was much simpler than it actually is. We thought it was just wild, but in reality those "Wild Ones" are micromanaged by the nitty-gritty nuances of eccentric human ideas of how to save them. Some ideas work, some don't, some hearts continue, some pitter out with dismay. And yet, after this breakdown of strange human behavior, I still found excitement in picking up a stunned bird, holding it for five minutes, developing a "relationship" with it, looking it in the eye, until it flew off when it was ready. An unusual moment in the interface of humans and animals.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. Lunde on December 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
“I think I could turn and live with the animals, they are so placid and self contained;
I stand and look at them long and long.
They do not sweat and whine about their condition;
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins;
They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God;
Not one is dissatisfied-not one is demented with the mania of owning things;
Not one kneels to another, nor his kind that lived thousands of years ago;
Not one is responsible or industrious over the whole earth.”

Walt Whitman

Thoroughly enjoyed everything about this book. From the furry creatures to the prickly conservationists who Mr. Mooallem interviewed.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Customer Images

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Search

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?