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Nature Wars: The Incredible Story of How Wildlife Comebacks Turned Backyards into Battlegrounds Paperback – November 12, 2013
The Amazon Book Review
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"Smart and provocative...Nature Wars is a counterintuitive take on a social problem, and the tone is knowing and smart, not sarcastic or snide." —Chicago Tribune
"[A] sweeping and thoughtful work... there's a lot in Nature Wars for the reasoned and concerned human to learn about the changing natural landscape...[Sterba] paints a vivid and memorable portrait of these new eco systems, where only one, plentiful species is capable of bringing balance and harmony among living things: homo sapiens." —LA Times
"Fascinating...Sterba portrays the resulting conflicts not only between people and animals but also between hunters and activists, government officials and residents, and any number of other factions." —Washington Post
"Written with considerable charm and more wit than commonly found in works that deal with ecosystems, [Nature Wars] includes extensive and often entertaining treatments of such common nuisances as beavers, Canada geese, and feral cats...For the denatured reader, there is a wealth of useful statistics." —New York Review of Books
"While advancing his brief that mankind has to do more to intervene as managers in the natural process, Sterba also ably documents how we influence wildlife without really trying or realizing it." —Christian Science Monitor
"Jim Sterba’s Nature Wars chronicles the dilemmas created by the resurgence of wildlife populations in much of the eastern United States…[A] thoughtful text." —Seattle Times
"[Sterba] makes a provocative, controversial, but quite compelling case that we should not - and cannot - opt out of active management and stewardship of wildlife." —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"In Nature Wars, Sterba, an award-winning journalist, examines how modern society is fighting a new war against the wildlife and nature that surround us...an interesting look at how man's attempt to control nature has created even more problems...Thoroughly researched." —Deseret News
"In his book Nature Wars, [Sterba] highlights nature's perils... nature has never been as idyllic as we think." —Emma Bryce, Discover Magazine
"This is an excellent introduction to a “problem” that is often one of human perception." —Booklist, starred review
"Jim Sterba employs humor and an eye for the absurd to document the sometimes bizarre conflicts that arise as a consequence of America's transformed relationship with nature... An eye-opening take on how romantic sentimentalism about nature can have destructive consequences." —Kirkus, starred review
"Sterba provocatively and persuasively argues that just at the moment when humankind has distanced itself irrevocably from nature, its behavior patterns have put people in conflict with a natural world that they don’t know how to deal with...A valuable counternarrative to the mainstream view of nature-human interaction." —Publisher's Weekly
“In this elegant and compelling tour of America’s mutating connections with its land and wildlife, Jim Sterba uses wit and insight to reveal new and unintended consequences of human sprawl and the ways in which they have shaped today’s relationships with Nature.” —John H Adams , Founding Director , Natural Resources Defense Council
“It's a jungle out there - and we're living in it. Jim Sterba's Nature Wars is a smart, stylish and altogether provocative account of how we are confounded by that which we claim to hold so dear - Mother Nature and all her creatures moving in right next door.” —Tom Brokaw
“Jim Sterba describes a cockeyed country whose denizens spend billions to imitate "nature" in their own small domains, little realizing that their excess creates an environment to which other species are fatefully drawn in increasing, sometimes alarming numbers; that they themselves are the creatures who throw this shared habitat out of whack. An unusual feat of deep and sustained reporting, Nature Wars is full of surprises and marked, from first page to last, by uncommon sense, graceful writing and precious wit.” —Joseph Lelyveld, author of Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle with India
“Quite unintentionally and with little awareness by its inhabitants, over the past century the Eastern United States has become one of the most heavily forested and densely populated regions in world history. Nature Wars explores this marvelous story of environmental recovery and the opportunities and challenges that it brings to its residents and the entire globe in fascinating detail and with great insight by Jim Sterba. This is a great book and a story with lessons for us all.” —David Foster, Ecologist and Director of the Harvard Forest, Harvard University
“If there is one lesson to be learned from Jim Sterba’s book, it is: Be careful what you wish for. Having decimated our planet’s natural state, we are blithely over-compensating, over –correcting and overturning the balance of nature yet again. Nature, as seen by most of us through a double glazed picture window revealing a manicured lawn….but what’s that moose being chased by a coyote being chased by a black bear, doing there? Read Nature Wars and weep. Or at least, stop and think.” —Morley Safer
"In Nature Wars, Jim Sterba lays out battle lines that emerged after populations of species that declined to near-extinction by the end of the 19th century came roaring back...This book is sure to initiate discussion about an issue that seems likely to move closer to the forefront in the years ahead." —Jerry Harkavy
"In this book, Jim Sterba has given us a fascinating, powerful, and important lesson in why we should be careful when we mess with Mother Nature.” —Winston Groom, author of Forrest Gump
“At last someone’s grappling with the elephant in the room – or rather the deer, the coyote, the beaver, the bear, all these damn animals crowding into our living space. Sterba’s book may strike some as observational comedy but he’s deadly serious. Every word rings true. Nature is vengeful. All I can say is, he better not take a walk in his backyard without a shotgun.” —John Darnton, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of Almost a Family
“A wonderful, thought-provoking, important book that will overturn everything you thought you knew about wildlife in America. Jim Sterba confronts the shibboleths that make man-versus-beast conflicts so vexing, divisive, and fascinatingly complex." —David Baron, author of The Beast in the Garden
“It’s a truly original piece of work, often – I would say – inspired, told in a pitch-perfect voice, just north of sarcastic and south of appalled. At any event, a terrific read on a subject that is all around us yet largely unobserved.” —Ward Just, author of Rodin’s Debutante
"Anything Jim Sterba writes is worth reading--and his latest, Nature Wars, is terrific. Sterba casts a reporter's sharp eye on a little noticed war unfolding under our noses, in our own backyards. We've messed with nature for way too long, and nature is getting even." —Joseph L. Galloway, co-author of We Were Soldiers Once...and Young and We Are Soldiers Still
“Jim Sterba has done a brilliant job explain how it happens that drivers more often than ever run into deer, wild turkeys fly into speeding car windshields and gorge on newly-planted seed corn, and why golf courses are filled with people chasing geese down the fairways with 5 irons in hand. This informative and beautifully written book gives us the effect of civilization (often well-meaning) on the natural habitat, both flora and fauna. I loved the book and learned a great deal from it.” —Peter Duchin, musician and author of Ghost of Chance
"If you love animals and trees and other wonders of the natural world, this book will astonish you. Sterba's great gifts are reportorial energy, out-of-the-box thinking, and an easy, relaxed prose style that makes Nature Wars a pleasure to read, even as its counterintuitive discoveries explode on every page." —Daniel Okrent, author of Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition
“Most Americans now live not in cities but in regrown forests, among at least as many deer as when Columbus landed. Jim Sterba tells us how this came to be and why it isn’t all good. In graceful, clear-eyed prose, he explains why we need to relearn how to cut, cull and kill, to restore a more healthy balance to our environment.” —Paul Steiger, Editor-in-Chief, ProPublica
"Although few of us realize it, America is at a turning point where we must rethink our most fundamental ideas about nature, animals, and how we live. Fortunately we have a wise and witty guide in Jim Sterba, whose Nature Wars is my favorite kind of read -- a book that affectionately recasts much of what we thought we knew about our nation's past and our relationship to the American wild, while at the same time revealing how intimately we ourselves are a part of nature, but in the most surprising and unexpected ways. In Sterba's hands, your everyday notions about the creatures around you -- whether pests, pets, or magnificent beasts -- will turn into entirely new ways of seeing the world." —Trevor Corson, author of The Secret Life of Lobsters and The Story of Sushi
About the Author
JIM STERBA has been a foreign correspondent and national affairs reporter for more than four decades for the Wall Street Journal and New York Times. He is the author of Frankie’s Place: A Love Story, about summers in Maine with his wife, the author Frances FitzGerald.
Top customer reviews
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The author explains the backstory on the evolution of peoples relationship with the countries environment and wildlife over the last several hundred years in a sensible and engaging way. The recent history of disputes around the country about animal protection is explained with clarity and depth. The most ironic, and possibly arguable point the author makes for the countries current position on wild life is the Disney effect. I think he’s correct and I grew up immersed in that entertainment environment and lived to be rational in spite of the experience.
Some of the best stories within the stories have to do with how house cats became so common, why we feed birds and the real story about where the geese really came from that “graze” all over my neighborhood and on many lawns and parks. It had very little to do with nature taking its course and a lot to do with commerce, advertising and American entrepreneurial spirit.
The book is well written, informative and makes a strong argument for a more science based approach to allowing nature to balance the wildlife population with the human population as it is in the best interests of both parties.
The immediate and limited purpose of this volume is to address the issue of emerging and ongoing conflicts between wild animals (both natural and feral) and humans in a contact of expanding woodlands and sprawling suburbia. As Sterba points out, these conflicts have expanded dramatically in the recent past and promise to continue in the foreseeable future as issues such as destruction of suburban landscapes and property damage resulting from road kill bring out legions of interested parties with both harmonious and conflicting proposed solutions. Sterba does a good job of discussing the pros and cons of some of these proposals, although the limited scope of this work precludes an encyclopedic treatment.
In a broader context, the author pushes his reader into a mindset that extends beyond the single-issue political solutions proposed by partisans in this issue into a new paradigm of management of such issues with an eye to husbanding society's limited resources. Sterba dismisses the proposals of feral cat fanciers, who favor spay/neuter-and-return policies, as being impractical in the context of the vast number of such animals. He also points out the destructive effects of such animals on wild bird populations, who possess their own political advocates. This discussion brings up the increasingly germane issue of how best to use governmental resources in an era of increasingly tight public budgets.
Sterba's book provides an easily accessible and largely objective discussion of this divisive issue, and I highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in any of its ramifications.
I highly recommend this book for anyone who would like a critical look at conservation efforts in America, especially certain species which have become the center of such ferocious debate.
Sterba has facts and figures and makes his case about the spread of wild critters today. )
Most recent customer reviews
with exploding populations of some species; great...Read more