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A Window on Eternity: A Biologist's Walk Through Gorongosa National Park Hardcover – April 22, 2014


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Har/DVD edition (April 22, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1476747415
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476747415
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,700 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* A man of towering achievements, biologist and Pulitzer Prize winner Wilson (Letters to a Young Scientist, 2013) is still happiest in the field, alert to new discoveries. In his latest book, this inspiring teacher and clarion voice of reason and wonder, compassion and realism turns his exploration of Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park in search of “previously little-known insect fauna” into a walking seminar on the grand and complex web of life and how human activity imperils it. Damaged by a brutal civil war, poverty, deforestation, and poaching, Gorongosa, a place of caves, ravines, rain forests, and mountains, is now being restored, thanks to the government’s innovative partnership with American philanthropist Gregory Carr. Fascinated by the region’s natural and human history, Wilson conducts Gorongosa’s first “bioblitz,” in which local children and adults count wildlife species, and revels in his own encounters. He explains why “Africa needs its elephants” and celebrates all the “little things that run the world,” including his specialty, ants, and mound-building termites. Profoundly knowledgeable and passionately appreciative of the beauty and ferocity of life and its finely calibrated and vulnerable equilibrium, Wilson calls for more “inviolate nature reserves” around the world because wildlands “maintain the stability” of the biosphere, and nature “is the birthright of everyone on Earth.” --Donna Seaman

Review

A Window on Eternity revels in biodiversity and nature’s inventiveness. . . . Wilson plants his defiant flag defending biodiversity in a place once so brutally despoiled that its recovery is truly momentous.” (Stuart Pimm Nature)

“Wilson suggests that our tired planet, managed wisely, can still demonstrate an enormous capacity for regeneration. . . . [his] prose consistently strikes a note of transcendence, and one sees a hint of that, too, in the pictures of Gorongosa by Piotr Nasrecki that accompany the text.” (Danny Heitman The Christian Science Monitor)

“The father of sociobiology and one of the most prolific science writers of our time, Edward O. Wilson is back with a new book that explores a slice of wilderness in deepest Africa. . . . As usual, Wilson’s observations carry more weight than the descriptions of a simple naturalist. In A Window on Eternity, he invites us to glimpse ourselves in the mirror of one of Earth’s few remaining wildernesses.” (Bob Grant The Scientist)

"[Wilson is] The world's greatest living naturalist." (Justin Moyer The Washington Post)

“Wilson describes in language that is both poetic and scientific a kind of parable of what is possible in the realm of environmental protection. . . . By destroying the natural world, we are destroying ourselves. Our blindness to this reality is the most crucial and fundamental fact of the world today. A Window on Eternity brings this reality into focus in a lucid and disarmingly gentle manner. It is a fitting capstone to Wilson's exceptional career.” (David Edmund Moody The Huffington Post)

“A lyrical ode to biodiversity. . . . Wilson speaks with passion throughout. . . . This volume’s visual content [is] as remarkable as the stories.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

“Entomologist E.O. Wilson chronicles both the shifting ecology of Gorongosa after the war and how researchers are trying to repair the damage. . . . Naskrecki’s images are a delight, capturing the spirit of the recovering landscape and its animals, great and small. . . . Ultimately, the book is a cautionary tale about how human affairs are fundamentally entangled with the natural world.” (Allison Bohac Science News)

“Wilson specializes in ants, and his explanations about the importance of insect relationships and biodiversity in Gorongosa are charming and accessible—no jargon, just joy.” (Associated Press)

“The famed biologist still gets giddy as a schoolboy when he encounters ants that can consume a live python, or describe how to hypnotize a dragonfly. Wilson waxes poetic about the marvel of the park's well-balanced ecosystems, but changes his tone in the final chapter: a condemnation of humanity trampling en route to what he calls the Eremocene, or Age of Loneliness.” (Discover)

“The rebirth of a premier nature reserve in Mozambique, recounted in a gentle storytelling style by noted Harvard entomologist Wilson. . . . A big story about a small place with an ageless appreciation and discernment it would be criminal to ignore.” (Kirkus Reviews)

More About the Author

Dr. Piotr (Peter) Naskrecki is a Polish-born entomologist, photographer and author, currently at the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University (Cambridge, MA, USA.) His research focuses on the evolution of sound-producing insects, and the theory and practice of nature conservation.

As a writer, Piotr strives to promote appreciation and conservation of invertebrate animals - insects, arachnids, and their kin - by capturing both their beauty and roles as vital, often critically important members of the Earth's ecosystems. He is the author of over 30 scientific, peer-reviewed papers and book chapters, and his photographs and nature writing have been published in a number of national and international publications, including The Smithsonian Magazine, Natural History, National Wildlife, National Geographic, BBC Wildlife Magazine, BBC Knowledge, Terre Sauvage, Time magazine, Ranger Rick, and many others.

Customer Reviews

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This book tells us otherwise.
Cirroc
Beautiful and insightful look at nature from an extraordinarily gifted and mature scientist.
G. Thomas Mitchell
This book was elegant in its pictures and type of printing.
Marjorie E.Streckfus

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Cirroc on May 6, 2014
Format: Hardcover
A Window on Eternity describes the restoration of an important environmental reserve in Africa. Located in the country of Mozambique, the reserve is now called the Gorongosa National Park. The restoration detailed in the book is mind blowing. We learn that during the years 1980-1992, Mozambique was the site of a vicious civil war with human victims numbering in the millions. But humans were not the only victims. Almost all of the larger animals in Gorongosa National Park were killed. This is where most nature shows, documentaries or books would stop. They detail the destruction then leave you to say "what a shame." Not this book. And herein lies the magic of A Window on Eternity. After the war, we learn about the amazing people who work to restore the original wildlife and incredible web of species back to the park.

In our dying world, filled with human overpopulation and environmental destruction everywhere we look, it is easy to feel like trying to preserve the natural world is fighting a losing battle. This book tells us otherwise. It gives us hope by showing us a concrete example of environmental success. It reminds us what is possible. It shows us that we still have a chance to save our planet. It's not too late. Gorongosa is a shining of example of what happens when humans get it right.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By peacewoman on May 2, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My son is reading this book and is once again in awe of E. O. Wilson and Piotr Naskrecki. He pauses now and then and sighs. "Their wisdom is so profound."
Everyone should read this book and pause. I too have looked at it and can not help but pause.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By junella haynes on May 20, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition with Audio/Video Verified Purchase
The ebook is WONDERFUL! I was unaware of the existence of this national park in Mozambique until I saw E.O. Wilson interviewed recently. It is very encouraging to know that such a place exists and is being cared for so diligently. The short video on the young man of the village, a scientist in the making, is excellent and together with the book by Wilson it gives encouragement to those who are concerned about our planet's future. Highly recommended!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Charles R. Grinnell on June 22, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition with Audio/Video Verified Purchase
Fantastic book to learn about a world most don't
Now about. I have read this work once and want to read it again.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By William M on June 28, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a beacon of hope, an example of what humanity can do if it wishes species to survive in their diversity. Gorongosa was a war torn park, species were reduced from hundreds to sometimes single digits. An entrepreneur, Gregory C Carr, along with E O Wilson to open a biodiversity research center there, has re-established the mega fauna to almost its original state. As habitat loss and poaching decrease wild animal populations world wide, this book is a positive note on what one species can do to open the window on eternity for itself and many others.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By G. Thomas Mitchell on July 24, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition with Audio/Video Verified Purchase
Beautiful and insightful look at nature from an extraordinarily gifted and mature scientist. I have been to Mozambique several times, which heightened my interest and understanding. Regretfully, my visits have not included Gorongosa, but I intend to remedy that. The book is a visual treat, with copious, amazing photos. Wilson exhibits great wisdom coming from an illustrious career. On a human scale, he shares deeply about his engagement with this unique venture in rehabilitation of a war devastated nature reserve, and about the future of life on earth.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Pletko on August 24, 2014
Format: Hardcover
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"Gorongosa National Park [in Mozambique, Southeast Africa], with the mountain [Mt. Gorongosa] forming its northwestern border, is a global treasure. Its forested plateau is the southernmost extension of Africa's Great Rift Valley, a domain of savanna, dry forest, and grassland centered around Lake Urema and fed by a lacework of rivers and tributary streams. The eastern slope of Mount Gorongosa is covered by a series of vegetation zones weakly divided by elevation and capped by the summit rain forest. Close by rise three seldom visited inselbergs, miniature peaks of lower elevation.

To the east of the massif is a region of caves and exposed limestone ridges and intervening deep ravines, their sides and bottoms heavily grown in rain forest, also awaiting exploration. This mix provides the greatest variety of habitats of any park in Mozambique, and one of the most diverse in the entire world.

In the whole of the park have been found so far 398 bird species...compared with 914 in all of North America; 123 mammals...which is well above the 67 species living...in Yellowstone National Park; 34 [reptile species]; and 43 [amphibian species]. It is just an educated guess, but I am reasonably certain that the resident species of insects, arachnids, and other invertebrates number in the tens of thousands."

The above comes from this revealing book by Edward O. Wilson. He is one of the leading biologists in the world. Wilson is the author of many prize-winning books. He has received more than one hundred awards including the U.S. National Medal of Science, two Pulitzer Prizes in nonfiction, International Prize for Biology, and the Carl Sagan Award for Public Understanding of Science.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dale Viljoen on June 9, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition with Audio/Video Verified Purchase
I first heard of this book on a late night show and am extremely pleased that I bought it. Well written with great photos. One is not overwhelmed with the details.
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