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Return to Wild America

A Yearlong Search for the Continent's Natural Soul

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Description

In 1953, birding guru Roger Tory Peterson and noted British naturalist James Fisher set out on what became a legendary journey-a one hundred day trek over 30,000 miles around North America. They traveled from Newfoundland to Florida, deep into the heart of Mexico, through the Southwest, the Pacific Northwest, and into Alaska's Pribilof Islands. Two years later, Wild America, their classic account of the trip, was published.

On the eve of that book's fiftieth anniversary, naturalist Scott Weidensaul retraces Peterson and Fisher's steps to tell the story of wild America today. How has the continent's natural landscape changed over the past fifty years? How have the wildlife, the rivers, and the rugged, untouched terrain fared? The journey takes Weidensaul to the coastal communities of Newfoundland, where he examines the devastating impact of the Atlantic cod fishery's collapse on the ecosystem; to Florida, where he charts the virtual extinction of the great wading bird colonies that Peterson and Fisher once documented; to the Mexican tropics of Xilitla, which have become a growing center of ecotourism since Fisher and Peterson's exposition. And perhaps most surprising of all, Weidensaul finds that much of what Peterson and Fisher discovered remains untouched by the industrial developments of the last fifty years. Poised to become a classic in its own right, Return to Wild America is a sweeping survey of the natural soul of North America today.

Publishers Weekly Review

Aug 22, 2005 – In the midst of environmental-policy gloom and global-warming doom, Weidensaul's poetic account of his travels to several scattered wilderness oases of North America is an unexpected tonic. The naturalist and author (Living on the Wind) certainly waxes caustic about the current administration's ecological evils; bemoans the impact of Earth's warming trend on northern ice packs and southern wetlands; decries the near (sometimes total) extinction of a multitude of fauna and flora; and laments the incursion of "invasive exotics"—foreign plants, insects, animals and fish that are crowding out native species. But in retracing the steps of American birding guru Roger Tory Peterson and British naturalist James Fisher's legendary 1953 trek—from Newfoundland's craggy coastline, down the East Coast, into Mexico and up the West Coast to Alaska—Weidensaul time and again celebrates pockets of species survival, optimistically hailing "the resiliency of wild America." His brief excerpts from and steady references to Wild America, the classic wilderness account penned by his predecessors, ought to renew deserved interest in the original book. But this engrossing state-of-nature memoir, making a vibrant case for preserving America's wild past for future Americans, promises to become a classic in its own right. 8 pages of illus., 6 maps not seen by PW.
Return to Wild America
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Life Sciences
  • Published: Oct 31, 2006
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Seller: Macmillan / Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC
  • Print Length: 250 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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