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The Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinctions

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The Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinctions Cover

ISBN13: 9780684827124
ISBN10: 0684827123
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

David Quammen's book, andlt;Iandgt;The Song of the Dodoandlt;/Iandgt;, is a brilliant, stirring work, breathtaking in its scope, far-reaching in its message — a crucial book in precarious times, which radically alters the way in which we understand the natural world and our place in that world. It's also a book full of entertainment and wonders. andlt;BRandgt; In andlt;Iandgt;The Song of the Dodoandlt;/Iandgt;, we follow Quammen's keen intellect through the ideas, theories, and experiments of prominent naturalists of the last two centuries. We trail after him as he travels the world, tracking the subject of island biogeography, which encompasses nothing less than the study of the origin and extinction of all species. Why is this island idea so important? Because islands are where species most commonly go extinct — and because, as Quammen points out, we live in an age when all of Earth's landscapes are being chopped into island-like fragments by human activity. andlt;BRandgt; Through his eyes, we glimpse the nature of evolution and extinction, and in so doing come to understand the monumental diversity of our planet, and the importance of preserving its wild landscapes, animals, and plants. We also meet some fascinating human characters. By the book's end we are wiser, and more deeply concerned, but Quammen leaves us with a message of excitement and hope.

Synopsis:

David Quammen's book, The Song of the Dodo, is a

brilliant, stirring work, breathtaking in its scope,

far-reaching in its message — a crucial book in

precarious times, which radically alters the way in

which we understand the natural world and our place

in that world. It's also a book full of entertainment

and wonders.

In The Song of the Dodo, we follow Quammen's keen

intellect through the ideas, theories, and experiments

of prominent naturalists of the last two centuries.

We trail after him as he travels the world,

tracking the subject of island biogeography, which

encompasses nothing less than the study of the origin

and extinction of all species. Why is this island

idea so important? Because islands are where

species most commonly go extinct — and because, as

Quammen points out, we live in an age when all of

Earth's landscapes are being chopped into island-like

fragments by human activity.

Through his eyes, we glimpse the nature of evolution

and extinction, and in so doing come to understand

the monumental diversity of our planet, and

the importance of preserving its wild landscapes,

animals, and plants. We also meet some fascinating

human characters. By the book's end we are wiser,

and more deeply concerned, but Quammen

leaves us with a message of excitement and hope.

About the Author

David Quammenandlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt; David Quammen was born in 1948, near the outskirtsandlt;BRandgt; of Cincinnati, Ohio, and spent much of his boyhoodandlt;BRandgt; in an eastern deciduous forest there. His interest inandlt;BRandgt; the natural world — hiking through woods, grubbing inandlt;BRandgt; creeks, collecting insects, taking reptiles hostage andandlt;BRandgt; calling them pets — was so all-consuming that heandlt;BRandgt; would eventually, during adolescence, need remedialandlt;BRandgt; training in basketball.andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt; At an early age he learned the word herpetologist andandlt;BRandgt; decided he might like to be one. But he had always beenandlt;BRandgt; interested in writing; and at the age of 17, he met Thomas G.andlt;BRandgt; Savage, a Jesuit priest. Savage was to become a life changing andlt;BRandgt; teacher, fostering Quammen's literary ambitions andandlt;BRandgt; prospects, and encouraging him to attend college at Yale.andlt;BRandgt; He knew that at Yale Quammen would find a superb Englishandlt;BRandgt; department, and encounter people such as Robert Pennandlt;BRandgt; Warren, a great American novelist, poet, and critic. Despiteandlt;BRandgt; his not having heard of Penn Warren, Quammen followedandlt;BRandgt; the priest's advice and enrolled at Yale. Fools luck was andlt;BRandgt; smiling on him, as were generous and trusting parents, andandlt;BRandgt; three years later he found himself studying Faulkner at theandlt;BRandgt; elbow of Mr. Warren, who became not just his second life andlt;BRandgt; changing teacher but also his mentor and friend. Quammenandlt;BRandgt; never forgot Thomas Savage's encouragement: andlt;Iandgt;The Song of theandlt;BRandgt; Dodoandlt;/Iandgt; is dedicated to this vast-hearted curmudgeon, whoandlt;BRandgt; died young in 1975.andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt; In 1970, Quammen published his first book, a novel titledandlt;BRandgt; andlt;Iandgt;To Walk the Lineandlt;/Iandgt;, which had been steered toward daylight byandlt;BRandgt; Mr. Warren. Also that year, he began a two-year fellowship atandlt;BRandgt; Oxford University, England, where he continued studyingandlt;BRandgt; Faulkner, loathed the climate, loathed the food, loathed theandlt;BRandgt; vestiges of upper-class snobbery, met a few wonderfulandlt;BRandgt; people, and spent much of his time playing basketball (theandlt;BRandgt; remedial training had helped) for one of the universityandlt;BRandgt; teams. Promptly after Oxford, Quammen moved to Montana,andlt;BRandgt; carrying all his possessions in a Volkswagen bus to this stateandlt;BRandgt; in which he had never before set foot. The attractions ofandlt;BRandgt; Montana were 1) trout fishing, 2) wild landscape, 3) solitude,andlt;BRandgt; and 4) its dissimilarity to Yale and Oxford. The winters areandlt;BRandgt; too cold for ivy.andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt; Quammen made his living as a bartender, waiter, ghostandlt;BRandgt; writer, and fly-fishing guide until 1979. Since then he hasandlt;BRandgt; written full time. In 1982 he married Kris Ellingsen, aandlt;BRandgt; Montana woman even more devoted to solitude than he is.andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt; His published work includes two spy novels (andlt;Iandgt;The Zoltaandlt;BRandgt; Configuration, The Soul of Viktor Tronkoandlt;/Iandgt;), a collection of short andlt;BRandgt; stories about father-son relationships (andlt;Iandgt;Blood Lineandlt;/Iandgt;), twoandlt;BRandgt; collections of essays on science and nature (andlt;Iandgt;Natural Acts, Theandlt;BRandgt; Flight of the Iguanaandlt;/Iandgt;), several hundred other magazine essays,andlt;BRandgt; features, and reviews, as well as andlt;Iandgt;The Song of the Dodoandlt;/Iandgt;. Fromandlt;BRandgt; 1981 through 1995, he wrote a regular column about scienceandlt;BRandgt; and nature for Outside magazine, and in 1987 received theandlt;BRandgt; National Magazine Award in Essays and Criticism for workandlt;BRandgt; that appeared in the column. In 1994 he was co-winner ofandlt;BRandgt; another National Magazine Award. In 1996 he received anandlt;BRandgt; Academy Award in literature from the American Academy ofandlt;BRandgt; Arts and Letters. He remains a Montana resident, despite theandlt;BRandgt; arrival of cappuccino.andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt; In 1998 Scribner will publish andlt;Iandgt;Strawberries Under Iceandlt;/Iandgt;, a newandlt;BRandgt; collection of Quammen's magazine essays and features, subtitled andlt;BRandgt; "Wild Thoughts from Wild Places." The wild places inandlt;BRandgt; question, from which he has drawn observations andandlt;BRandgt; inspiration in recent years, include Tasmania, southern Chile,andlt;BRandgt; Madagascar, the Aru Islands of eastern Indonesia, Losandlt;BRandgt; Angeles, suburban Cincinnati, and of course, Montana.andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;br clear=allandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;bandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;a href="http://www.simonsays.com/titles/0684827123/RG_0684827123.html"andgt;Reading Group Discussion Pointsandlt;/aandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;a href="http://www.simonsays.com/reading/guides"andgt;Other Books With Reading Group Guidesandlt;/aandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;/bandgt;

Table of Contents

CONTENTS

I Thirty-Six Persian Throw Rugs

II The Man Who Knew Islands

III So Huge a Bignes

IV Rarity unto Death

V Preston's Bell

VI The Coming Thing

VII The Hedgehog of the Amazon

VII The Song of the Indri

IX World in Pieces

X Message from Aru

GLOSSARY

AUTHOR'S NOTE

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

SOURCE NOTES

BIBLIOGRAPHY

INDEX

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

michaelzuzel, August 9, 2012 (view all comments by michaelzuzel)
David Quammen is America's greatest nature writer, and "Song of the Dodo" is his masterpiece. More than simply reporting on the cutting-edge discoveries by ecologists around the world, Quammen synthesizes their findings into a sweeping -- and chilling -- conclusion: We are quickly carving our planet's natural life-support system into tiny islands, too small and so lacking in biological diversity that they are destined to fail -- and with them, us. A brilliant and essential book.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Jo Marshall - Twig Stories, June 5, 2012 (view all comments by Jo Marshall - Twig Stories)
After reading 'The Flight of the Iguana' by David Quammen, I had no qualms about undertaking another amazing journey, 'The Song of the Dodo' even though I had no clue at the time what island biogeography was, and only an elementary concept of extinction. This book could actually have had many titles that would have been equally mysterious to an environmental layman like me: 'The History of Biogeography and What That Actually Is' or 'Great Men With Controversial Theories of Biodiversity, and Other Such Stuff' or 'The Inevitable Spiral Toward Species Extinction - And That Includes All Species' or even 'How We Came to Value Modern Conservation Science or Something Like That.' But I began reading Quammen's story anyway because I knew from his earlier book that he was incredibly informative in a casual, "favorite professor" sort of way. Meaning that just when your comprehension starts to fail, he speaks directly to you from his narrative, and snaps you back onto a level playing field of enlightenment. I read it because I knew Quammen would teach me something important that I would remember, and that his topics always matter. I call this a story, because it reads like one. It begins simply, and ends the same way. In between, all the historical facts, scientific theories, and personality studies come to actually mean something in today's world, and will to anyone who reads this book. And I guarantee that you will cry because you've never heard the song of the dodo, and cry, too, because Quammen helped you hear those of the indri and the cenderawasih.

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Product Details

ISBN:
9780684827124
Author:
Quammen, David
Publisher:
Scribner Book Company
Author:
Quammen, David
Subject:
General
Subject:
Science
Subject:
Biology
Subject:
Environmental Science
Subject:
Endangered species
Subject:
Biogeography
Subject:
Life Sciences - Biology - General
Subject:
General Nature
Subject:
Nature Studies-General
Subject:
island biogeography; biogeography; David Quammen; Song of the Dodo; extinction; naturalist; ecology; origin of the species; global warming; climate change; darwin; helen bernstein award; spillover; robert kangel; natural selection; science writing; rainfo
Subject:
island biogeography; biogeography; David Quammen; Song of the Dodo; extinction; naturalist; ecology; origin of the species; global warming; climate change; darwin; helen bernstein award; spillover; robert kangel; natural selection; science writing; rainfo
Subject:
island biogeography; biogeography; David Quammen; Song of the Dodo; extinction; naturalist; ecology; origin of the species; global warming; climate change; darwin; helen bernstein award; spillover; robert kangel; natural selection; science writing; rainfo
Copyright:
Edition Description:
B102
Publication Date:
April 1997
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Maps
Pages:
704
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.12 in 25.83 oz

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Geography » General
Science and Mathematics » Biology » General
Science and Mathematics » Environmental Studies » Environment
Science and Mathematics » Environmental Studies » General
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Evolution
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » General

The Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinctions Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$12.95 In Stock
Product details 704 pages Scribner Book Company - English 9780684827124 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , David Quammen's book, The Song of the Dodo, is a

brilliant, stirring work, breathtaking in its scope,

far-reaching in its message — a crucial book in

precarious times, which radically alters the way in

which we understand the natural world and our place

in that world. It's also a book full of entertainment

and wonders.

In The Song of the Dodo, we follow Quammen's keen

intellect through the ideas, theories, and experiments

of prominent naturalists of the last two centuries.

We trail after him as he travels the world,

tracking the subject of island biogeography, which

encompasses nothing less than the study of the origin

and extinction of all species. Why is this island

idea so important? Because islands are where

species most commonly go extinct — and because, as

Quammen points out, we live in an age when all of

Earth's landscapes are being chopped into island-like

fragments by human activity.

Through his eyes, we glimpse the nature of evolution

and extinction, and in so doing come to understand

the monumental diversity of our planet, and

the importance of preserving its wild landscapes,

animals, and plants. We also meet some fascinating

human characters. By the book's end we are wiser,

and more deeply concerned, but Quammen

leaves us with a message of excitement and hope.

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