MixedThe Los Angeles TimesAn all-encompassing history of the river, its ecologies and the people who have lived alongside it for millenniums ... as there are more historical accounts to rely on as various kingdoms were built up and battled over control of the river, the details of dynasty, war and succession bog down Sen’s writing. Snipped narratives of the various kingdoms that fought through the first 1,000 or so years of the common era dominate this middle section, and time (rather necessarily) passes too quickly as Sen details the rise and fall of dynastic rulers in the space of a few pages.
PositiveLos Angeles Times\"[The Patch is] a work that gains its newness through structure alone ... While a more obsessive or academic reader of McPhee might readily place these snippets in the pieces from whence they came, the experience of having decades of details and observations and exacting description wash over you, the time or the context of the writing never exactly clear, is a fascinating one ... As a book, The Patch is by no means the story of a life from beginning to end — A Memoir — but it is maybe a more honest and effective way of stitching together the memories of a life, the structure in a way acknowledging that a neat beginning, middle and end is part of the artifice of writing.\
PositiveLos Angeles Times...for an avowed plant geek it is fascinating to follow Magdalena as he travels from remote Australian billabongs full of rare water lilies to the dry forests of western Peru ... But the greater accomplishment of The Plant Messiah is the compelling case that Magdalena makes from caring about plants in general.
PositiveThe Los Angeles TimesAmerican Wolf is ostensibly about a wolf and a hunter — a narrative that would be almost primal if the wolf, a charismatic alpha female called O-Six, wasn’t regularly being viewed through multiple telemetry lenses by the dedicated wolf spotters of Yellowstone, and if the hunter, Steven Turnbull (a pseudonym), wasn’t restricted by a litany of state and federal laws as he stalked his prey. No, the story of American Wolf is far larger in scope: the way we relate — or don’t — to wolves is not just symbolic of how we relate to nature, it’s symptomatic of what we will allow the construct that is nature to be ... With empathy for both those who want to protect wolves and those who would rather see them dead — and a deep sense of awe and respect for the wolves themselves — Blakeslee has written a book that is as much about what fueled the Sagebrush Rebellion and the so-called civil disobedience of the Bundy family as it is about wildlife.