PositiveThe Times (UK)Determined not to be clouded by a white imperial perspective, Dodds Pennock tries hard to avoid the pitfalls of traditional \'explorer\' narratives. That is to be applauded, but occasionally her overly righteous academic analysis pulls the reader too far from the experiences of her subjects. Her mission to change our perspective can also veer towards the moralistic, which is a shame, because the stories and lives she has unearthed are fascinating in themselves ... Mostly, though, Dodds Pennock’s unpeeling of the indigenous experience from obscure manuscripts and her imaginative attempts to fill the gaps is a much-needed and refreshing take on our all-too Eurocentric telling of the past.
PositiveFinancial Times (UK)... elegant and convincing ... a strange book, but not in a bad way. It is meandering and looping. Sometimes it feels like being thrown into a fast whirling river, and there is no point in trying to hold tight, just go with the flow. The general direction of the current (to stay with the river metaphor) is Ghosh’s argument that colonialism has paved the way for climate change but his eddying narrative throws up stories about Dutch still lifes (inert objects that reflected European ideas of nature), Linnaean nomenclature, modern cities, the Covid pandemic, the Black Lives Matter protests, Tennyson and the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, among many others ... None of this is new and sometimes Ghosh states the obvious (climate change is related to the global distribution of power) but it’s the simplicity of his main argument and the power of his storytelling that makes the book work.
MixedThe New York Times Book ReviewIt’s through these quotes that the reader comes the closest to Wilson as a person. Though Rhodes met Wilson and interviewed him, he includes little about Wilson’s later private life. We meet the naturalist, the scientist and later the activist, but not the husband, father and friend ... Alongside the story of Wilson’s professional career, Rhodes provides a useful broader scientific context ... the telling is sometimes a little flat. In his analysis of Wilson’s books, for example, Rhodes relies heavily on long quotes from said publications, which makes the text clunky. Given that E. O. Wilson himself is such a great writer, it feels somehow wrong that his life isn’t told in all its kaleidoscopic and colorful nuances ... Rhodes clearly admires Wilson but, sadly, this short biography only scratches the surface of a remarkable life.
RaveThe New York Times Book Review...he takes his readers on an idiosyncratic and wonderful walk through his joy of nature. Like some of the greatest nature books, from Thoreau’s Walden to Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, it’s a personal book that describes McCarthy’s own journey while at the same time folding his experiences within a broader context ... The Moth Snowstorm is an inspiring book, and I salute McCarthy for his boldness. Rather than the dire, dry statistical projections often heralded to make the case for conservation, he turns boldly to joy — to imagination and emotion.
PositiveThe GuardianA House Full of Daughters joins a long line of publications about an extraordinary family, but it still manages to be original and illuminating ... Combining the scrutiny of a historian with the emotional attachment that only a family member can have, Nicolson searches for patterns of behaviour that have occurred down the generations. The stories she reveals are as intriguing as they are harrowing ... There are some sections in the book that would have benefited from pruning, but there are also lovely anecdotes.
Terry Tempest Williams
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewThe Hour of Land isn’t a guidebook, taking readers through the nation’s most popular or most frequently visited parks — quite the opposite. Instead Williams embarks on an idiosyncratic journey through various landscapes (some empty, some crowded), delving, along the way, into the politics, activism, history and people that are also a crucial part of them ...Williams’s alarm at humanity’s calamitous impact on nature is indelibly imprinted in her writing ... Williams can sometimes get carried away by her anger at what’s being done (or not done) by the government, private companies and polluters. A few sections concerning acts of civil disobedience and environmental activists feel somewhat labored. But these are minor quibbles. The Hour of Land is one of the best nature books I’ve read in years.
RaveThe Wall Street JournalA great storyteller with a keen eye for details, [Dvorak] takes his readers into volcano craters and across molten lava. There are parts in The Last Volcano where Mr. Dvorak’s descriptions of the intense heat almost singe the page.