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Eye of the Albatross: Views of the Endangered Sea Hardcover – May 14, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
In this dazzling volume, Safina, a MacArthur award recipient, recounts his travels to remote portions of the northwest Hawaiian Islands to witness albatross breeding season, during which parent birds fly across entire oceans as much as 25,000 miles to hunt sufficient food to nourish their single chicks. Albatross survival, Safina (Song for the Blue Ocean) shows, is increasingly vulnerable to modern conditions; indeed, the shameful history of albatross exploitation, when the magnificent birds were all but exterminated in some areas for their valued eggs and feathers, is but an early chapter in the struggle against perils that now include entrapment in commercial fishing nets, ingesting plastic trash that washes ashore in vast quantities on their nesting islands and depletion of food stocks due to global warming. By turns rhapsodic, scolding and mystical, the book discusses issues that affect other seabirds, seals, sharks and sea turtles. But the albatross ("a great symphony of flesh, perception, bone, and feathers") remains its primary focus. Clinically minded readers may question Safina's tendency to psychologize animals or introduce mythological elements into his narrative, and some sections of the book resonate with more romantic passion than science. Still, Safina's encyclopedic knowledge and spirited prose provide a stunningly intimate portrait of an environment. (May 14)
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
The recipient of a MacArthur "genius" Fellowship and a Pew Scholar's Award in Conservation and the Environment, Safina (Song for the Blue Ocean) attempts to "tell a story of struggle and hope and the power of sheer persistence and of life's resilience." In narrating this tale, he has chosen as his guide a Laysan albatross named Amelia, "a great symphony of flesh, perception, bone, and feathers, composed of long movements and set to ever-changing rhythms of light, wind, and water." With the author and Amelia, the reader is taken on a tour of the oceans and introduced to many other kinds of ocean wildlife as well. The vice-president for marine conservation at the National Audubon Society, Safina focuses on the qualities of peace and tranquility in nature rather than on the "eat or be eaten" aspect that most people see. The result is a refreshing approach to natural history writing that is recommended for general readers. Mary J. Nickum, Lakewood, CO
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
I have two reservations. In some earlier passages in the book he imputes to the birds rather human higher mental processes like planning. I found this not only unconvincing but it began, for me, to call into question his seriousness. (Later in the book he toned this down.) The other reservation I have is the unnecessary sermonizing that punctuates his narratives. I think he can trust his readers to have internalized the implications of what he writes of the shameful exploitation of the albatrosses and other animals.
I was lucky to get picked by USFW when volunteers were able to go to MIdway in 2010. I had already read Eye of the Albatross and was immersed for three weeks with these sentient beings.... over a million and counting Layson Albatross!
Mr. Safina has spent a lot of field time with boots on the ground and writes clearly and concisely. You will feel it a compliment if someone calls you a bird brain:)!!
authetic as if the reader experiences the tragic fate of these birds
with memorable rhetoric . One senses the indifference of mankind to these
glorious creatures and that we should and must change our perspectives
and feel the realization that all life is precious and important to our own survival
on this magnificent planet. The aesthtics keeps one glued to the text--again as
if we were experiencing the texture of this facet of life ourselves.
Most recent customer reviews
Very poor print. Not sure if ours is the only copy that looks this way.