Wild Ones Pdf Summary
Journalist Jon Mooallem has watched his little daughter’s world overflow with animals butterfly pajamas, appliquéd owls—while the actual world she’s inheriting slides into a great storm of extinction. Half of all species could disappear by the end of the century, and scientists now concede that most of America’s endangered animals will survive only if conservationists keep rigging the world around them in their favor. So Mooallem ventures into the field, often taking his daughter with him, to move beyond childlike fascination and make those creatures feel more real. Wild Ones is a tour through our environmental moment and the eccentric cultural history of people and wild animals in America that inflects it—from Thomas Jefferson’s celebrations of early abundance to the turn-of the-last-century origins of the teddy bear to the whale-loving hippies of the 1970s. In America, Wild Ones discovers, wildlife has always inhabited the terrain of our imagination as much as the actual land.
The journey is framed by the stories of three modern-day endangered species: the polar bear, victimized by climate change and ogled by tourists outside a remote northern town; the little-known Lange’s metalmark butterfly, foundering on a shred of industrialized land near San Francisco; and the whooping crane as it’s led on a months-long migration by costumed men in ultralight airplanes. The wilderness that Wild Ones navigates is a scrappy, disorderly place where amateur conservationists do grueling, sometimes preposterous-looking work; where a marketer maneuvers to control the polar bear’s image while Martha Stewart turns up to film those beasts for her show on the Hallmark Channel. Our most comforting ideas about nature unravel. In their place, Mooallem forges a new and affirming vision of the human animal and the wild ones as kindred creatures on an imperfect planet.
With propulsive curiosity and searing wit, and without the easy moralizing and nature worship of environmental journalism’s older guard, Wild Ones merges reportage, science, and history into a humane and endearing meditation on what it means to live in, and bring a life into, a broken world.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A “Supertramp” take on conservation
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on June 24, 2013
Remember the Supertramp lyric “There are times when all the world’s asleep/the questions get too deep/for such a simple man?” This brilliantly-written book goes deep, very deep, into the philosophical questions underlying conservation–and very properly, leaves you, the reader, to try to sort them out. Many of us who are actively, professionally, engaged in conservation have yet to sort them out satisfactorily, as Mooallem makes clear in his engaging portraits of the people on the front lines. Knowing several of the people he profiles, I can testify that he got them spot-on.
I have one warning to the reader. Mooallem talks quite a bit about a historical figure, William T. Hornaday, who was a major driver of the conservation movement early in the 20th Century. His book “Our Vanishing Wild Life” (1913) was something of a sensation and helped to jump-start public concern about endangered species, and Mooallem refers to it so often that you might be tempted to read it–it’s still readily available. But be advised that it is thoroughly and shockingly imbued with racism, class bias, and xenophobia — directed against blacks, poor whites (especially in the South), and Catholic immigrants (especially Italians). Mooallem does explicitly say that Hornaday was a bigot, but he doesn’t dwell on it. Hornaday was responsible for putting a Congolese pygmy named Ota Benga on public display in a zoo (try researching that on-line; there’s a whole book about it) and considers Madison Grant one of his heroes of conservation (there’s a photo of him on p.248 of his book); Grant was the author of “The Passing of the Great Race,” one of the most odious racist tracts ever published in America. There is obviously no reason that the taint of century-old racism should cling to conservation today, but to read Hornaday’s book can be a very disturbing experience on more than one level, and raises interesting historical and sociological questions about why that link once existed.
No, there is no trace of bigotry in “Wild Ones,” and it is a great read.
3.0 out of 5 stars Did not live up to its billing
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on May 11, 2015
I know I’m in the minority here in not loving this book but I just didn’t find the writing engaging. As mentioned by others, the book delves into extraordinary efforts to save 3 species: the Polar Bear, a San Fransisco butterfly, and the Whooping Crane. The best writing is on the first page but not until the second half does the writer hit any kind of sustained stride. Before that the book just felt like a magazine article that went on and on, the kind I usually stop reading half way through. It was no surprise then, to find out that the author is predominantly a writer for popular journals. (This is his only full length book). I forced myself to finish it, though, hoping for some kind of tie-up, a big-picture explanation of why anyone would think that these species are worth saving or why species diversity, in general, matters. Alas, it never came.
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific journalism of ideas
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on August 13, 2013
As other reviewers have noted, Mooallem is working with admittedly fantastic content. But this book is about twice as good as it would have been if it were just telling the stories of conservation (which still would have been a fun book). What really sets Mooallem apart is his skill with ideas journalism–he’s able to integrate abstract concepts and theories, often complex ones, into the narrative, and instead of feeling like big Chunks of Exposition the ideas Mooallem explains often end up illuminating a particular character or a thematic point Mooallem is trying to make.
In the hands of 90% of journalists, packing this much theory into a book would come off as horribly soapboxy, or at least madly overthinking it. But Mooallem resists pushing his own conclusions on the reader, and in fact can depict conflicts over conservation by presenting each side’s perspective at its strongest. It’s truly an astonishing book.
About Jon Mooallem Author Of Wild Ones pdf Book
Jon Mooallem Author Of Wild Ones pdf Book, He is a longtime writer at large for The New York Times Magazine and a contributor to numerous radio shows and other magazines, including This American Life and Wired. He has spoken at TED and collaborated with members of the Decemberists on musical storytelling projects.
His latest book, THIS IS CHANCE!, about the Great Alaska Earthquake of 1964 and radio reporter Genie Chance, will be published in March, 2020. His first book, Wild Ones, was chosen as a notable book of the year by The New York Times Book Review, The New Yorker, NPR’s Science Friday, and Canada’s National Post, among others.
He lives on Bainbridge Island, outside Seattle, with his family.
Wild Ones pdf, Paperback, Hardcover Book Information
- Publisher : Penguin Press; F First Edition; First Printing Used (May 16, 2013)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 352 pages
- ISBN-10 : 159420442X
- ISBN-13 : 978-1594204425
- Item Weight : 1.3 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.75 x 1.25 x 9.75 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,031,604 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #289 in Endangered Species (Books)
- #1,290 in Biology of Wildlife
- #2,824 in Environmentalism
- Customer Reviews: 4.4 out of 5 stars 149 ratings
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