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Wildlife in America Hardcover – Nov 1987

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 7 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Should Be Required Reading in Every U.S. High School 13 Jan. 2006
By P. Stefanowich - Published on
Format: Paperback
If people only knew the Eden that existed before the birth of our present generation, they might yet understand what it is we are currently taking away from future generations. This book changed my life - it changed my value system. It has a place forever on my bookshelf. How one reacts to the information contained in this book says everything about ones individual character. Not only is it a sad choronology of the death and destruction of life in North America, it is a terrifying indictment on the collective psychology of mankind.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A Wildlife Classic 17 Jun. 2001
By Ricky Hunter - Published on
Format: Paperback
An early book by Peter Matthiessen, Wildlife in America, came out in 1959 (and with some spotty unpdating in this edition) and tells the story of America's response to its wild life over the centuries and then into the beginnings of a conservation movement and the more recent (relatively) efforts of government to protect the species particular to the American mainland and Alaska. In some ways, it becomes a list of animals that have dissappeared or are on the brink. It is very depressing but the author presents the facts and arguments in a clear fashion that captures the price of American progess on its wildlife. Despite some occasional purple prose and the new issues and arguments that have occured since, this is a very good reprint of a classic from the past.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A must-read for every thinking American who cares about nature 4 Jun. 2014
By Roman - Published on
Format: Hardcover
A rare book, predating Rachel Carson's Silent Spring by a couple of years. While Carson talks about the detrimental effect of chemicals such as DDT on environment, Matthiessen chronicles the story of this land called America--the story of what happened to the land after the Europeans came over. How many Americans know of the existence of an American parrot? That the bison or the buffalo frequented the east coast? Or that the forests were so thick that a squirrel could theoretically go from the Atlantic coast to the Mississippi without touching land? This is a story that needed to be told, and Matthiessen--who died recently--writes in prose that is lucid and masterful. (He was the only writer by the way, to win the National Book Award in both fiction and non-fiction.) I managed to get a used hardcover copy of this book, which I recommend--much cheaper and does more justice to Bob Hines' landmark illustrations.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Mass Slaughter 12 July 2014
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
It is remarkable that Peter Matthiessen virtually began his career with this 1959 book about mass slaughter of wildlife in the American wilderness and ended it with a 2013 book about mass slaughter of human beings in European concentration camps (entitled In Paradise). I think he saw the connection. His books about the mass slaughter of countless millions of Native Americans that accompanied the wildlife slaughter shows that he did. After all, Hitler got some of his ideas by reading the dime novel "westerns" of Carl May, a German equivalent of Zane Gray. Matthiessen saw that you can't draw the line once you start exterminating "inferior beings" to suit your convenience-- which is among the things, along with his good writing and erudition, that makes this book still relevant, despite its occasional anachronisms, a half century after it was first published. It should be required reading in high schools.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The auspicious beginnings of a long and illustrious literary career 25 April 2014
By The Muse's Apprentice - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Peter Matthiessen, an explorer of both external and internal worlds, was ahead of his time with this one. As America was waking up to it's ravenous heritage, he wonderfully composed a list of what's been lost. I write as more than a fan of his. From his explorations of wild parts of the earth, to his explorations of Zen, he continued to stretch himself and the limits of words.

While this book is certainly dated, it remains - and will remain - a groundbreaking work.
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