PositiveThe Christian Science Monitor... a frequently lyrical memoir which puts [Simard\'s] work in the context of her lifelong fascination with the forest, and her growing alarm over the massive clearcuts that are transforming the region into a blighted checkerboard ... This personal narrative reminds us that science is a human enterprise – and, in Simard’s case at least, as much a product of the heart as of the head ... The author’s urgent call at the end of the book to preserve our remaining old-growth forest lands could not be more timely.
PositiveThe Christian Science Monitor... this is a surprisingly good read. The author’s enthusiasm and curiosity about the way things work is infectious. He walks us through not just the basic science of global warming, but all the ways that our modern lives contribute to it. He offers a primer on farming; transportation; food waste; and concrete, steel, and plastic manufacturing, to name some of the author’s encyclopedic range of concerns ... Gates never questions the assumption that we need to continue to grow the economy and even substantially increase energy use, especially in the developing world. Some will see this as the book’s blind spot. It takes for granted that the environment can be saved without a change in lifestyle and material aspirations, especially in the developed world. ... Climate change, as the author convincingly argues, is the biggest challenge we’ve ever faced.
PositiveThe Christian Science MonitorThe monotony of their lives—punctuated by moments of terror—is chillingly told ... It’s a darkly fascinating tale about a venture that appears today—and must have seemed to many at the time—sheer folly ... Neither de Veer nor the author probes deeply into the motives of the crew members, nor of Barents himself, who remains an oddly opaque figure throughout the book ... readers can vicariously experience what it would be like to push themselves to their physical and psychological limits. And they can wonder about how they would fare in similar circumstances ... This is not a book for the squeamish. Pitzer’s prose is beautifully wrought, but unrelenting. Yet it is ultimately hopeful—not just because the survivors stage an astonishing escape, but because we watch them struggle together right up to death’s door to achieve it. Theirs is a tale of good triumphing in extremis.
PositiveThe Washington PostLyrical ... Facts like these are eye-opening. But the book shines most brightly in its poetry ... Giggs’s writing has an old-fashioned lushness and elaborateness of thought. Still, all that rich language and the author’s meandering philosophical reflections on subjects from parasites to the history of taxonomy can make for slow reading and seem at times to be diversions from the main subject. Also, Giggs focuses too much, for my tastes, on the dying and decomposition of whales and not enough on describing living animals. I wanted more stories about how whales interact with one another and with us ... This is not the book for those kinds of anecdotes. But its finest passages — and they are many — awaken a sense of wonder. That other lives as marvelous and mysterious as these still exist is, for the moment at least, a reason to celebrate.