... luminous ... In this superbly articulate cri de coeur, Safina gives us a new way of looking at the natural world that is radically different from our usual anthropocentric perspective. Becoming Wild demands that we wake up and realize that we are intrinsically linked to our other-than-human neighbors ... Safina helps us see the profound impact caused by the destruction of other species and their habitats, the inability to live in harmony with one another, and the demonization of environmental scientists battling to preserve our Earth’s delicate balance.
... living among the animals, in their world, Safina and the field scientists he visits show us something else, something too often overlooked in research and in conservation: who the animals are, and how they live...More compelling than facts about species are tales of individuals — characters, with personality — living among peers or kin. So it’s the stories of Safina’s days with these animals that move us ... The ideal way to observe animals is to see them through the words of others, frankly — which is what Safina lets us do.
... fascinating discussions ... It is also about giving the reader a sense of being near these creatures and experiencing some of the most seductive environments on Earth ... Mr. Safina tagged along with various researchers, exploring the lives of each of the species he highlights, and he incorporates these scientists into each narrative, while never losing his focus on the creatures in question ... If you haven’t yet been treated to the detailed accounts of chimpanzee behavior on offer from Christophe Boesch, Frans de Waal, Craig Stanford and Jane Goodall—or even if you have—you’ll be captivated by these sections ... Mr. Safina’s prose achieves the elusive goal of being both informative and luminously evocative...As well as the author’s poetry ... A reviewer’s job is to provide perspective on a given book. Normally, as I read, I do so with an eye toward my own perceptions and opinions; only rarely do I find myself so swallowed up by a text that I realize I’ve forgotten to take notes. Becoming Wild made me forget myself, more than once. At a moment when so many of us have been stuck inside, watching the walls, what better therapy than to visit the deep ocean, the upper Amazon and a central African forest, sharing the lives of their denizens with a superb guide?