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Mama Poc: Ecologist's Account of the Extinction of a Species [Paperback]

A Labastille
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
RRP: 17.99
Price: 17.03 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

28 Feb 1992
This is the first careful account I have ever read of the death of one of the myriad types of creation. It covers the last twenty years not of an individual life but of a form of life. These marvelous birds deserve at the very least an obituary, and Anne LaBastille has given them a fine and moving one. Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature"

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Reprinted edition edition (28 Feb 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393308006
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393308006
  • Product Dimensions: 2.3 x 13.8 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,234,637 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
I CLAMBERED DOWN from the old bus twilight in the Indian village of Panajachel, Guatemala. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Magnificent Endeavor! 19 Dec 2002
By Martin A Hogan HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Every year, newspapers dole out articles about the endangered or even extinction of a species somewhere on the globe. Yet, few describe the multitude of reasons for this event, much less the brave people who fight the battles. Dr. Anne LaBastille's, "Mama Poc" details the myriad of mistakes and consequences of the now extinct Atitlan giant grebe. Starting over 25 years ago, Dr. LaBastille started a one-person movement to save a rare species of a water bird on a large volcanic lake in the middle of Guatemala. A modern day Dr. Livingston, Anne LaBastille dealt with local residents of Lake Atitlan, the Guatemalan government and dozens of foundations to obtain the necessary grants. These were not just to save a bird species, but a large recreational lake, a way of life and the residents livelihood. The author has woven a personal memoir detailing the dilemmas of her work. Far from a flat testimonial, one reads about the friends and coworkers that befriended Dr. LaBastille during her years of research. It is a personal story as well as a brilliant documentary of her research filled with stories of earthquakes, revelations, periless lake storms, successes, political guerillas, murder and love. At first the reader may wonder why on earth someone would go through all this trouble to save a water bird. By the end of the first chapter you will find yourself cheering for the underdog with all the odds stacked against her. The Smithsonian Institution's Thomas E. Lovejoy summed it all up in the 'forward'. "The measure of our success will be in the number of species that survive. They will also be our reward". Well said.
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Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Among all the tales of commitment to a cause,
personal loss, and bravery to face the
world despite the heartbreaks it brings, Anne
LaBastille's story of the decline and eventual
extinction of the giant pied-billed grebe of
Guatemala's Lake Atitlan is a winner. Beginning
with the author's arrival at the lake in 1965, the
memoir-cum natural history tells the saga of how
the young naturalist came to fall in love with the
most engaging of the country's water birds and its
surroundings, and how against the odds of weather,
earthquakes, and political turmoil, she and her
Guatemalan cohorts documented the gradual erosion
of the species's habitat over the subsequent
two and a half decades. LaBastille weaves together
the story of losing a species with that of losing
a lover and friends, so that we feel her grief in
both personal and professional domains. At the
same time, she keeps enough distance so that we
learn the facts of the case with its details of
over-development and careless management of the
lake's assets that contributed to the final loss
of a species. Although we know the
outcome of her story from page one, her suspenseful
account leaves us hoping for a different ending
right up until the last sentence. LaBastille
blames no one cause, but her tale makes it clear
that the the giant grebe's fate was not inevitable.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tale of extinction told in a moving, but unsentimental way 16 May 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Among all the tales of commitment to a cause,
personal loss, and bravery to face the
world despite the heartbreaks it brings, Anne
LaBastille's story of the decline and eventual
extinction of the giant pied-billed grebe of
Guatemala's Lake Atitlan is a winner. Beginning
with the author's arrival at the lake in 1965, the
memoir-cum natural history tells the saga of how
the young naturalist came to fall in love with the
most engaging of the country's water birds and its
surroundings, and how against the odds of weather,
earthquakes, and political turmoil, she and her
Guatemalan cohorts documented the gradual erosion
of the species's habitat over the subsequent
two and a half decades. LaBastille weaves together
the story of losing a species with that of losing
a lover and friends, so that we feel her grief in
both personal and professional domains. At the
same time, she keeps enough distance so that we
learn the facts of the case with its details of
over-development and careless management of the
lake's assets that contributed to the final loss
of a species. Although we know the
outcome of her story from page one, her suspenseful
account leaves us hoping for a different ending
right up until the last sentence. LaBastille
blames no one cause, but her tale makes it clear
that the the giant grebe's fate was not inevitable.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Behind the extinction of a species 10 Sep 2000
By Martin A Hogan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Every year, newspapers dole out articles about the endangered or even extinction of a species somewhere on the globe. Yet, few describe the multitude of reasons for this event, much less the brave people who fight the battles. Dr. Anne LaBastille's, "Mama Poc" details the myriad of mistakes and consequences of the now extinct Atitlan giant grebe. Starting over 25 years ago, Dr. LaBastille started a one-person movement to save a rare species of a water bird on a large volcanic lake in the middle of Guatemala. A modern day Dr. Livingston, Anne LaBastille dealt with local residents of Lake Atitlan, the Guatemalan government and dozens of foundations to obtain the necessary grants. These were not just to save a bird species, but a large recreational lake, a way of life and the residents livelihood. The author has woven a personal memoir detailing the dilemmas of her work. Far from a flat testimonial, one reads about the friends and coworkers that befriended Dr. LaBastille during her years of research. It is a personal story as well as a brilliant documentary of her research filled with stories of earthquakes, revelations, periless lake storms, successes, political guerillas, murder and love. At first the reader may wonder why on earth someone would go through all this trouble to save a water bird. By the end of the first chapter you will find yourself cheering for the underdog with all the odds stacked against her. The Smithsonian Institution's Thomas E. Lovejoy summed it all up in the 'forward'. "The measure of our success will be in the number of species that survive. They will also be our reward". Well said.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of the Best 16 Jun 2002
By Brenda Phillips - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Of all Anne LaBastille's books, this is my favorite. She practices what she preaches and heads to South America where she documents the extinction of a species. Her compassion for the environment coupled with her own personal narrative make for very compelling reading.
The only thing I do not understand is why so many of her books are out of print. The Woodswoman series should be required reading in college courses and Mama Poc should be read by anyone that cares about the environment.
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed 26 Mar 2013
By nancy salton - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have read and re-read LaBastille books. Have loved most all but this one was not her best. She was a amazing woman and cared so much about the environment. If you are interested in her works, be sure to read her first book, "Woods Woman".
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