Synopses & Reviews
From one of the finest naturalist/writers of our time, a fascinating investigation of Natures inspiring death-to-life cycle.
When a good friend with a severe illness wrote, asking if he might have his "green burial" at Bernd Heinrichs hunting camp in Maine, it inspired the acclaimed biologist to investigate a subject that had long fascinated him. How exactly does the animal world deal with the flip side of the life cycle? And what are the lessons, ecological to spiritual, raised by a close look at how the animal world renews itself? Heinrich focuses his wholly original gaze on the fascinating doings of creatures most of us would otherwise turn away from—field mouse burials conducted by carrion beetles; the communication strategies of ravens, "the premier northern undertakers"; and the "inadvertent teamwork" among wolves and large cats, foxes and weasels, bald eagles and nuthatches in cold-weather dispersal of prey. Heinrich reveals, too, how and where humans still play our ancient and important role as scavengers, thereby turning—not dust to dust—but life to life.
"Bernd Heinrich is one of the finest naturalists of our time. Life Everlasting shines with the authenticity and originality that are unique to a life devoted to natural history in the field." Edward O. Wilson, author of The Future of Life and The Social Conquest of Earth
"Despite focusing on death and decay, Life Everlasting is far from morbid; instead, it is life-affirming...convincing the reader that physical demise is not an end to life, but an opportunity for renewal." Nature
"A worldwide tour of the role of death in nature that is consistently fascinating and fun to read." Seattle Times
How does the animal world deal with death? And what ecological and spiritual lessons can we learn from examining this? Bernd Heinrich has long been fascinated by these questions, and when a good friend with a terminal illness asked if he might have his “green burial” at Heinrich’s hunting camp in Maine, it inspired the acclaimed biologist and author to investigate. Life Everlasting is the fruit of those investigations, illuminating what happens to animals great and small after death.
From beetles to bald eagles, ravens to wolves, Heinrich reveals the fascinating and mostly hidden post-death world that occurs around us constantly, while examining the ancient and important role we too play as scavengers, connecting death to life.
About the Author
Bernd Heinrich is an acclaimed scientist and the author of numerous books, including the best-selling Winter World, Mind of the Raven, Why We Run, and The Homing Instinct. He writes for Scientific American, Outside, American Scientist, and Audubon, and has published book reviews and op-eds for the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. Among Heinrich's many honors is the 2013 PEN New England Award for Nonfiction, for Life Everlasting. He lives in Maine.