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The Dangerous World of Butterflies: The Startling Subculture of Criminals, Collectors, and Conservationists Hardcover – May 5, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Turning from the Iraq War, author and journalist Laufer (Mission Rejected: U.S. Soldiers Who Say No to Iraq) decided to focus on the presumably innocuous business of butterflies. There, he found yet more violence, corruption and unanswered questions, resulting in another compelling all-angles examination. Fluttering across the globe for at least 40 million years, Lepidoptera face increasing threats in modern times, largely from habitat loss and pesticides. Amateur and professional butterfly experts weigh in on everything from art to conservation, breeding and butterfly sex to development and wing colors, as well as the meaning of their fascination for humans. Lepidopterology contains a surprising stack of unsolved mysteries, including the process of metamorphosis: what goes on in the chrysalis, in which every cell of the caterpillar's body liquefies before reconstituting into a butterfly, might as well be magic. Laufer also finds controversy in commercial breeding and discovers "worldwide criminal operations" in butterfly poaching and smuggling (in which driving species to near extinction is a standard practice for pushing up specimen prices). In casual prose, Laufer delivers an absorbing science lesson for fans of the colorful bugs.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Top customer reviews
Why do we need to possess something to appreciate it? Why do we find beauty in the shell of a creature and not something deeper? Those butterflies were free and beautiful at one time. I imagine what it must have been like for them. They are captured and pinned down in the name of “art.”
If they weren’t so beautiful, would they be safer? Or, if we found them ugly, would they be in just as much danger – just another form of objectification (the cringing kind). Do we see past the surface of anything? I have to ask, why must we possess something to appreciate it? And, can we really appreciate anything or anyone that we objectify?
When I was a child, I purchased a yellow butterfly in a square Lucite box for my mother. The butterfly was perched as if it were still alive. It was in my parent’s bathroom for years. I think about that sometimes. How, there was a time when I made such purchases. Almost no one cares to discuss these things. I do ~ but I’m in the minority. Most everyone I know thinks it’s a waste of time. That somehow my feeling empathy for creatures that most everyone else objectifies is some sort of illogical defect in me.
I know I should pay attention when everyone keeps pointing something out to me. But it’s difficult to look at things the same way I did as a child. Especially since something else has occurred to me since then. I wonder why objectification seems so logical to so many people. And as I think back to a time when I purchased that butterfly ~ I wonder what I might be objectifying now without realizing it. I’ll have to keep this in mind as I move forward. I will have to look at everything I own and ask what the cost truly is.
I truly enjoyed this book. Even if you don't have empathy for the plight of butterflies, you will enjoy the adventure of this book. And, maybe once you set it down, you will look at butterflies with new eyes.
If interested, I have my copy for sale. It's in great condition, hardcover, 2009.
Most recent customer reviews
any topic. The author here is able to unbiasedly research and explore
the butterfly raising,...Read more