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In the Shadow of the Sabertooth: A Renegade Naturalist Considers Global Warming, the First Americans and the Terrible Beasts of the Pleistoceneby Doug Peacock
Synopses & Reviews
Our climate is changing fast. The future is uncertain, probably fiery, and likely terrifying. Yet shifting weather patterns have threatened humans before, right here in North America, when people first colonized this continent. About 15,000 years ago, the weather began to warm, melting the huge glaciers of the Late Pleistocene. In this brand new landscape, humans managed to adapt to unfamiliar habitats and dangerous creatures in the midst of a wildly fluctuating climate. What was it like to live with huge pack-hunting lions, saber-toothed cats, dire wolves, and gigantic short-faced bears, to hunt now extinct horses, camels, and mammoth? Are there lessons for modern people lingering along this ancient trail?
The shifting weather patterns of today — what we call "global warming" — will far exceed anything our ancestors previously faced. Doug Peacock's latest narrative explores the full circle of climate change, from the death of the megafauna to the depletion of the ozone, in a deeply personal story that takes readers from Peacock's participation in an archeological dig for early Clovis remains in Livingston, MT, near his home, to the death of the local whitebark pine trees in the same region, as a result of changes in the migration pattern of pine beetles with the warming seasons.
"In this charming ramble, Peacock (Grizzly Years) distills his decades as a 'wandering naturalist' into tales of wilderness adventures, ruminations on the geological history, and conjecture regarding the emergence of homo sapiens in North America....Although well-studied, this is not an anthropology lecture. Instead, Peacock draws extensively on experiences as hunter and hunted in Montana and the Arctic, and takes us on an Inuit polar bear hunt and a trek through the waterless Sonoran desert. Interspersed with journal notes, memories of unmapped journeys, and an imagined day in the life of the first Americans, Peacock makes his case for preserving the land that reminds humans of our insignificance in the face of nature." Publishers Weekly
"Doug Peacock, as ever, walks point for all of us. Not since Bill McKibben's The End of Nature has a book of such import been presented to readers. Peacock's intelligence defies measure. His is a beautiful, feral heart, always robust, relentless with its love and desire for the human race to survive, and be sculpted by the coming hard times: to learn a magnificent humility, even so late in the game. Doug Peacock''s mind is a marvel — there could be no more generous act than the writing of this book. It is a crowning achievement in a long career sent in service of beauty and the dignity of life." Rick Bass, author of Why I Came West and The Lives of Rocks
Life during the last bout of climate change.
About the Author
Doug Peacock is the author of Grizzly Years, Baja, and Walking It Off: A Veteran's Chronicle of War and Wilderness. His latest book, co-written with Andrea Peacock, is The Essential Grizzly: The Mingled Fates of Men and Bears. A disabled Vietnam veteran and Green Beret medic, Peacock was the real-life model for Edward Abbey's George Washington Hayduke. He has published widely on wilderness issues ranging from grizzly bears to buffalo, from the Sonoran desert to the fjords of British Columbia, from the tigers of Siberia to the blue sheep of Nepal. Peacock was named a 2007 Guggenheim Fellow, and a 2011 Lannan Fellow. He lives in Emigrant, Montana.
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