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4.5 out of 5 stars
32
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 30 July 1999
It has been 5 months since I finished reading Quammen's book and I mourn the dodo and the ending of this book. I have read a lot of science, nature and environmental books this by far is the most compelling of all. Quammen weaves history, biology, biography and environmental issues without preaching a particular slant. The final analysis however can not be escaped - frightening, haunting and hopeful - we are the problem and we also are the solution.
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on 9 March 1998
Easily the best book I have read in the past five years. I kept on shouting out to family members: "I LOVE this book!" David Quammen is an exquisite writer, a poet really, and he brings his full artist self to the difficult work he attempts. I learned a lot, but more importantly, I felt a lot, and I experienced myself in the presence of true creativity. Thank you Mr. Quammen for a very moving and beautiful read.
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on 26 November 2004
David Quammen has produced a book reminding us that biology, history and science are life's enjoyments. Not some abstract or sometimes notion. He brings a real sense that your surroundings are rich and potent. Song of the Dodo brings together travel and science, using humanity as its foil; rarely becoming 'liberal' or 'tree-hugging'. If you enjoy reasoned argument and wit, take the time to enjoy one of the most enjoyable books on offer. Always rewarding, and with the exceptional ability to make you feel smarter (the sign of a truly gifted science writer) Mr. Quammen brings a great voice to writing, biology and humanity.
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on 6 September 2013
Iam still astonished at the amazing items that are constantly being brought to me and begging to be followed through. I am about to approach the various libraries to borrow t some of the books referred to but they may well be out of print..
The whole experience has been wonderful and I'm only on page 358 !!!

In one sense I am glad that the Dodo became extinct !!
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on 17 May 2012
Essential reading for anyone interested in ecology or the future of life on earth. I'm an Ecology student, and reading this book helped me grasp a lot of concepts I found tricky in the standard academic texts. Also a very informally written and enjoyable read.
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on 3 August 1999
This is quite simply superb. Some of the most importent issues facing the environment today are highlighted with incredible clarity. Please read it.
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on 24 January 2003
As Quammen notes early on, imagine yourself as an 18th Century naturalist. You believe that modern science has identified, classified and named every animal going. Then some bugger goes and shows you a kangaroo. The scientific effort to explain the pattern and distribution of species has continued for centuries, and Quammen maps his way through this tangled thread with remarkable skill, and not a little wit.
This book is nominally about biogeography - the science of what species are found where, and why. However there is so much more than this - for instance the tale of Alfred Russel Wallace (the largely forgotten co-describer of natural selection) and his abortive trips to collect new species in the Amazon. Other diversions include the tale of eponymous dodo, the swimming ability of elephants and Darwin's half-baked experiments into the natural world; all told with a dry humour and keen eye for detail.
If this book was just about biogeography it would be a must-buy for geographers and ecologists. As it is, it combines history, ecology, geography and anecdote, providing a haunting anthem to the lost species, and, remarkably, a song of hope for the future. I have a personal reason to rate this book - it switched me on to the topic I am now working towards my PhD in. Read this book and change the way you see the world.
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on 6 July 2011
This book has a great deal of good information on biogeography and extinctions. Without it I would not know where to access information on this subject. I am now the wiser and I found much of the subject content fascinating. However, although I customarily read books of this size and depth, I found it very hard work at times.

The author really should have aimed for a shorter book. I had to search for the 'meat' of the subject amidst quite a large deal of waffle. I just wish he would abridge this book so that it is not as tiresome to read. Overall I would buy it again because books on this subject are few. But please keep to the point.
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on 29 January 2003
This is a very useful introduction to a complex subject, one indeed to which there may be no difinitive "right answer". The ideas are largely conceptual/mathematical, but don't let that put you off; the treatment is not. The down side is the rather annoying "gonzo journalist" style, which made the book hard work for me. I suppose that this style will work better for many people, especially Americans, who have not already got a knowledge of the subject however.
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on 30 October 2015
Super awesome book.
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