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Writing Naturally: A Memoir

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Writing Naturally: A Memoir Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A science writer reflects on his journey into the profession.

Synopsis:

William Sargent, relative of the painter John Singer Sargent and son of a former governor of Massachusetts, was primed early for a career in politics, but since boyhood he was far more interested in science than in traditional forms of public service. Nonetheless, at Harvard University he declared himself a government major--a plan that gave way the day he had lunch at Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology, where huge plaster casts of dinosaur tracks and the smell of formaldehyde triggered in the freshman his inborn love of nature. Sargent immediately switched from government to biology. As a science major in the 1960s, Sargent enjoyed the instruction and guidance of such luminaries as E. O. Wilson, James Watson, Jane Goodall, Louis Leakey, and Stephen Jay Gould, all pioneers in their respective fields.

As a sophomore, Sargent joined a crew of scientists and sailors on a six-month cruise, collecting plankton off the coasts of South America, Africa, and the Baltic region. The voyage whetted Sargent's taste for travel and sharpened his eye to the diversity of the natural world. Since then, and for more than thirty years, his subjects have ranged from horseshoe crabs on Cape Cod to Rhesus monkeys off Puerto Rico to the intimate ecology of the Massachusetts marsh where he lives. Pursuing the biological and natural sciences as a journalist, author, and filmmaker, Sargent has remained firm in his principal quest: to make the natural world accessible to all.

Writing Naturally braids together three themes. It is a personal narrative of the author's life, paying attention to his long-term interest in science; it is an accessible look at the evolution of biology over the past thirty years (from an academic backwater to a powerful academic industrial complex); and it is a guide for writing about science and nature. Sargent's own career was not without missteps (he chronicles his misguided efforts to get a law degree), but in the end he forged a very satisfying nontraditional career as a scientist, photographer, and writer--a career based on his notion of writing naturally: writing in a clear and relaxed manner about what one loves best.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781584654681
Publisher:
University Press of New England
Subject:
Authorship
Author:
Sargent, William
Subject:
Natural history
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
Naturalists -- United States.
Subject:
Natural history literature -- United States.
Subject:
Biography - General
Publication Date:
20060831
Binding:
Hardcover
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
144
Dimensions:
9.22x6.34x.65 in. .88 lbs.

Related Subjects

Biography » General
Engineering » Environmental Engineering » Forestry
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Science and Mathematics » Biology » General
Science and Mathematics » Oceanography » Aquatic Life

Writing Naturally: A Memoir
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Product details 144 pages University Press of New England - English 9781584654681 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , William Sargent, relative of the painter John Singer Sargent and son of a former governor of Massachusetts, was primed early for a career in politics, but since boyhood he was far more interested in science than in traditional forms of public service. Nonetheless, at Harvard University he declared himself a government major--a plan that gave way the day he had lunch at Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology, where huge plaster casts of dinosaur tracks and the smell of formaldehyde triggered in the freshman his inborn love of nature. Sargent immediately switched from government to biology. As a science major in the 1960s, Sargent enjoyed the instruction and guidance of such luminaries as E. O. Wilson, James Watson, Jane Goodall, Louis Leakey, and Stephen Jay Gould, all pioneers in their respective fields.

As a sophomore, Sargent joined a crew of scientists and sailors on a six-month cruise, collecting plankton off the coasts of South America, Africa, and the Baltic region. The voyage whetted Sargent's taste for travel and sharpened his eye to the diversity of the natural world. Since then, and for more than thirty years, his subjects have ranged from horseshoe crabs on Cape Cod to Rhesus monkeys off Puerto Rico to the intimate ecology of the Massachusetts marsh where he lives. Pursuing the biological and natural sciences as a journalist, author, and filmmaker, Sargent has remained firm in his principal quest: to make the natural world accessible to all.

Writing Naturally braids together three themes. It is a personal narrative of the author's life, paying attention to his long-term interest in science; it is an accessible look at the evolution of biology over the past thirty years (from an academic backwater to a powerful academic industrial complex); and it is a guide for writing about science and nature. Sargent's own career was not without missteps (he chronicles his misguided efforts to get a law degree), but in the end he forged a very satisfying nontraditional career as a scientist, photographer, and writer--a career based on his notion of writing naturally: writing in a clear and relaxed manner about what one loves best.

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