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Return to Wild America: A Yearlong Search for the Continent's Natural Soul by [Weidensaul, Scott]
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Return to Wild America: A Yearlong Search for the Continent's Natural Soul Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Length: 425 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In the midst of environmental-policy gloom and global-warming doom, Weidensaul's poetic account of his travels to several scattered wilderness oases of North America is an unexpected tonic. The naturalist and author (Living on the Wind) certainly waxes caustic about the current administration's ecological evils; bemoans the impact of Earth's warming trend on northern ice packs and southern wetlands; decries the near (sometimes total) extinction of a multitude of fauna and flora; and laments the incursion of "invasive exotics"—foreign plants, insects, animals and fish that are crowding out native species. But in retracing the steps of American birding guru Roger Tory Peterson and British naturalist James Fisher's legendary 1953 trek—from Newfoundland's craggy coastline, down the East Coast, into Mexico and up the West Coast to Alaska—Weidensaul time and again celebrates pockets of species survival, optimistically hailing "the resiliency of wild America." His brief excerpts from and steady references to Wild America, the classic wilderness account penned by his predecessors, ought to renew deserved interest in the original book. But this engrossing state-of-nature memoir, making a vibrant case for preserving America's wild past for future Americans, promises to become a classic in its own right. 8 pages of illus., 6 maps not seen by PW.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Accomplished writer-naturalist Weidensaul, author of Living on the Wind(1999), has long been inspired by Wild America (1955), a now-classic account of a cross-country journey undertaken by the "birding guru" Roger Tory Peterson and naturalist James Fisher. Curious about what has changed since their adventures 50 years ago, Weidensaul set out on his own extraordinary quest, and consequently his gorgeously detailed, involving, and provocative chronicle of the state of wetlands, deserts, mountains, forests, plains, and coral reefs moves across two grand landscapes--terrain described by Peterson and Fisher and land Weidensaul arduously traverses. As Weidensaul observes beetles in Appalachia, seabirds in Newfoundland, invasive species wreaking havoc in Florida, the symbiosis between salmon and trees in the Pacific Northwest, ocelots in Texas, condors in Arizona, and the alarming signs of global warming in Alaska, he explicates the unintentionally deleterious effect human activities are having on the biosphere. But Weidensaul also revels in the ingenuity and beauty, resiliency and resurgence of nature, and reports on impressive conservation success stories. One of the many traumatic lessons of Hurricane Katrina is that environmental concerns are real and that we must commit to protecting the biosphere and ourselves. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 2504 KB
  • Print Length: 425 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0865476888
  • Publisher: North Point Press (October 31, 2006)
  • Publication Date: October 31, 2006
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0058U7I3O
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #746,576 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Another great book from Scott Weidensaul who clearly must now be included in the small group of our very best natural history writers. In Return to Wild America, Weidensaul retraces the North American journey taken by Roger Tory Peterson and James Fisher in 1953 that culminated in the publication of Wild America in 1955 -- a classic book that further galvanized the birding community, and made our continent's most special places accessible to even the most casual nature lover. Fifty years later, in Return to Wild America, Weidensaul pays tribute to Peterson and Fisher by visiting many of the same places, but in beuatiful and engaging prose, reminds us the environmental degradation that we have shamefully let happen on our watch. There is as always in Weidensual's books, reason for hope as he profiles the efforts of many committed conservationists who continue to fight for the protection of our most treasured natural places. This is a must-read book not only for birders, but for all of those who love and worry about our natural world
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Format: Hardcover
I read Peterson's and Fisher's "Wild America" in 1955 when it first was published. My father belonged to a book club and this book was the primary selection one month. It was an enchanting read and it strengthened my interest in all of the biota of North America, although I eventually became a professional biologist specializing in invertebrates.

Scott Weidensaul has now retraced the travels recorded in the earlier book and published it as "Return to Wild America." It is an apt title and in it Weidensaul shows the curious reader what has happened in the intervening 50 years along the route taken by Peterson and Fisher.

As with Peterson and Fisher, Weidensaul starts in Newfoundland at Cape St. Mary and the now larger colonies of seabirds. Yes, in the intervening years the seabirds have flourished, but there are dark signs on the horizon from the collapse of the great fisheries of the North Atlantic. This collapse may alter the food web of the Atlantic and threaten the survival of the bird colonies. Indeed, the author sees both signs of hope and signs of danger and destruction during the trip from Newfoundland, south through Washington, D. C., and still further into the Everglades of Florida. The author traveled through the dry Tortugas and then Texas and the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge. Next the journey took him into Mexico and the tropics near Xilitla at the base of the Sierra Madre Oriental, Texas again, the Arizona sky island mountain ranges, the Pacific Coast, Alaska and finally the Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea. During all of this he notes the changes, or lack of them, and the magnificent wildlife seen along the way.
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Format: Hardcover
Scott Weidensaul deserves recognition as one of the best naturalist writers working today. Here, Weidensaul follows in the cross-continental footsteps of Roger Peterson (the bird guide guy) and James Fisher, who in the early 1950s wrote about their bird watching journey across North America and created the environmentalist classic "Wild America." Weidensaul is also a bird fanatic, reporting on the astonishing variety of avifauna he encountered while tracing the footsteps of Peterson and Fisher, but he also imparts great amounts of knowledge on all other forms of wildlife as well as larger issues of ecosystem health. Weidensaul certainly finds that many of the natural areas visited by Peterson and Fisher fifty years previously are in worse shape nowadays, with encroaching development and pollution, and great decreases in plant and animal populations. The most distressing example here is the continuing ecological disaster taking place in the Florida Everglades, while the state of nature in several of the other areas covered is barely heartening.

However, Weidensaul actually finds that nature is surprisingly strong in some of the areas he visited, such as the quickly urbanizing Rio Grande valley in Texas, or the forlorn Pribilof islands off of Alaska. Concerned local citizens in many bountiful areas are fighting for preservation and sustainable development, though there is still much work to be done. Weidensaul's main point is that wilderness and wildlife is certainly on the decline, and there's no reason to sugarcoat this troublesome reality. But there are still pockets of tremendous natural vitality in North America if you know where to look for them.
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Format: Hardcover
When he was a young lad Scott Weidensaul read "Wild America", the account of the three month 30000 mile journey through North America by noted birder Roger Tory Peterson and British naturalist James Fisher back in 1953. It proved to be a book that would change Scott's life forever. Weidensaul would go on to write more than two dozen books himself. Several years ago Scott Weidensaul reread "Wild America" and fell in love with it all over again. And so as the 50th anniversary of Peterson and Fisher's great adventure approached, Scott decided that it would be entirely appropriate for him to retrace their steps with some modifications and write a book about what he found. As a result we have his brand new offering "Return To Wild America".

I have read any number of books about the environment and find most to be quite pessimistic. I guess that is what I expected with "Return To Wild America" as well. But what Scott Weidensaul found during his year-long journey was really quite surprising. While there were certainly many areas that broke his heart (the Everglades being one of them) Scott found many more places to be substantially wilder than when Peterson and Fisher visited them a half century ago. That may seem hard to believe but when you think about it there were virtually no environmental laws on the books in the early 1950's. Hunters were still thoughtlessly shooting all sorts of endangered wildlife and lumber companies were clear-cutting virtually all of our old growth forests. Whales were still being harpooned and the use of pesticides was completely out of control. The average citizen knew little or nothing about environmental issues and as a result our government had done virtually nothing to reverse these alarming trends.
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