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Back Road To Crazy: Stories From The Field Paperback – January 1, 2005
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"The Back Road to Crazy is an entertaining and enlightening buffet of firsthand anecdotes about conservation fieldwork. It's all here: drama, adventure, toil, tedium, tears, laughter, mystery, terror, wonder, and ecological insight throughout. Overall, The Back Road to Crazy is a colorful path to wisdom."—Chip Ward, author of Hope's Horizon: Three Visions for Healing the American Land
From the Author
Each contributors account, whether humorous or tragic, will draw you beyond the bounds of the book into a profession that pays you to perform almost any kind of outdoor assignment imaginable, from traversing woodlands thick with grizzly bears to riding out furious arctic seas, all in the unyielding pursuit of scientific knowledge. Diverse in both subject matter and style, these stories collaborate fluently to represent biological fieldwork in a manner that is entertaining, informative, and intrepidly honest.
You will find a common thread of philosophy woven throughout the books assorted writings. From hidden corners of America to distant reaches of the globe, biologists share the notion that, in the course of fieldwork, what doesnt kill you will make you tougher, deepen your sense of ecological accountability, and provide you with a cache of memorable stories to tell.
(Excerpted from the Introduction of The Back Road to Crazy)
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Would have preferred ALL the stories to include some wild interaction with animals, but some were just about the landscape and trees. I prefer my campsites to be called Holiday Inn or Best Western and enjoy total climate control and a hot shower at the end of the day. The people in these stories just love to rough it, freeze their butts and fingers off and do some of the nastiest jobs on the planet....and LOVE it.
I'm so thankful I did NOT choose a job in the biology field. Entertaining, just can't imagine what makes a person tick to do that kind of work.
While I have not been to Myanmar or even North Carolina's mountains, I could tell a number of such stories, from a rainy "rattlesnake night" in Arizona and watching scorpions court under UV light on a hillside at midnight in New Mexico to an absolutely insane collecting trip to Ichetucknee Springs in northern Florida and seeing leatherback turtles come ashore to lay their eggs on Trinidad's east coast. All field biologists have a stock of such tales, because you simply cannot be a field biologist without having unusual things happen to you, even if you plan well (and, as any field biologist will tell you, a badly planned field trip can be an absolute disaster!) Jennifer Bové has now opened up this store of great stories and presented us with an absolute feast of them.
Anyone who wants to know what field biologists do should read this book. Keep in mind that there can be hours, days or weeks of boredom, but to be honest in field biology we are seldom really bored. The neat part about being a field biologist is that there is discovery awaiting all of us in every forest, desert, prairie, sea shore, creek, pond or lake. We are truly fortunate in that even waiting near a city vacant lot we can find interest in the ever fascinating tapestry of living things. It is what makes all the risks worth it. Although I could point out that crossing a street in any large city in the United States is usually more dangerous than any field work in a rain forest or desert!