A history of the role of ash trees in the English-speaking world draws on expert understandings of ash’s wide-ranging properties, revealing the thriving existence of ancient traditions in ash craftsmanship while exposing threats to today’s remaining ash forests.
Taking readers from the Himalayas to Madagascar to the Amazon to our backyards, a renowned naturalist presents a sweeping botanical history in which he explores dozens of plant species that have challenged our imaginations, awoken our wonder and upturned our ideas about history, science, beauty and belief.
Everything physical is made up of the elements and the infinite variety of molecules they form when they combine with each other. In Molecules, Theodore Gray takes the next step in the grand story that began with the periodic table in his best-selling book, The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe. Here, he explores through fascinating stories and trademark stunning photography the most interesting, essential, useful, and beautiful of the millions of chemical structures that make up every material in the world.
Gray begins with an explanation of how atoms bond to form molecules and compounds, as well as the difference between organic and inorganic chemistry. He then goes on to explore the vast array of materials molecules can create, including: soaps and solvents; goops and oils; rocks and ores; ropes and fibers; painkillers and dangerous drugs; sweeteners; perfumes and stink bombs; colors and pigments; and controversial compounds including asbestos, CFCs, and thimerosal.
Big, gorgeous photographs, as well as diagrams of the compounds and their chemical bonds, rendered with never before seen beauty, fill the pages and capture molecules in their various states.
As he did in The Elements, Gray shows us molecules as we’ve never seen them before. It’s the perfect book for his loyal fans who’ve been eager for more and for anyone fascinated with the mysteries of the material world.
The Secret Language of Animals: A Guide to Remarkable Behavior by Janine M. Benyus
Humans have always pondered what makes us different from animals. After all, many species exhibit behaviors that resemble our own (or is it the other way around?). This informative volume covers 20 of the world’s most well-known animals, including African elephants, flamingos, giant pandas, Nile crocodiles, and polar bears.
Divided by geographical regions (“African Jungles, Plains, and Waterways”; “Asian Forests”; “Warm Oceans”; “North America”; and “The Poles”), the chapters cover some of the basic habits and behaviors of a particular animal, such as elimination, self-grooming, and sleeping. Social behaviors, from friendly to threatening, are discussed, as are sexual and parental interactions. Numerous sidebars showcase vital stats on each animal, quirky facts, and trivia. Each chapter ends with a list of behaviors for readers to look for at the zoo or in the wild. Plentiful introductory material highlights zoo conditions and habitat simulation and includes a lengthy overview of how animals behave in general. Noted nature illustrator Barberis supplies artful line drawings. The narrative is extremely accessible, and readers of all ages will enjoy learning something new about their favorite zoo animals.
Latin for Bird Lovers: Over 3,000 Bird Names Explored and Explained by Roger Lederer & Carol Burr
In every scientific discipline there is an official language formed of words derived from Latin. Ornithology is a perfect example of how these words can be illuminating. Take “Anas acuta,” better known as the Northern Pintail, whose scientific name means duck and refers to the male bird’s tail. Or pelagic (meaning of, related to, or occurring in sea), an important term for ocean-focused bird lovers. Latin for Bird Lovers explores and explains over 3,000 Latin words used to describe birds. It is information that is invaluable to birdwatchers worldwide: the words help define the identity and relationships among the nearly 10,000 known bird species; they can also define the species names by color, pattern, and size, help identify parts of the body, refer to the name of the ornithologist who discovered the bird, show where the bird is found, and even detail a specific behavior. The book also profiles twelve great ornithologists, has in-depth features on 20 beloved birds, and is gorgeously illustrated. Latin for Bird Lovers is for birdwatchers, nature lovers, and anyone interested in the words about birds.
War of the Whales: A True Story by Joshua Horwitz
Two men face off against an all-powerful navy – and the fate of the ocean’s most majestic creatures hangs in the balance.
“A gripping, brilliantly told tale of the secret and deadly struggle between American national security and the kings of the oceans.” –Bob Woodward
War of the Whales is the gripping tale of a crusading attorney who stumbles on one of the US Navy’s best-kept secrets: a submarine detection system that floods entire ocean basins with high-intensity sound – and drives whales onto beaches. As Joel Reynolds launches a legal fight to expose and challenge the Navy program, marine biologist Ken Balcomb witnesses a mysterious mass stranding of whales near his research station in the Bahamas. Investigating this calamity, Balcomb is forced to choose between his conscience and an oath of secrecy he swore to the Navy in his youth.
When Balcomb and Reynolds team up to expose the truth behind an epidemic of mass strandings, the stage is set for an epic battle that pits admirals against activists, rogue submarines against weaponized dolphins, and national security against the need to safeguard the ocean environment. Waged in secret military labs and the nation’s highest court, War of the Whales is a real-life thriller that combines the best of legal drama, natural history, and military intrigue.
By Elizabeth Kolbert
A major book about the future of the world, blending intellectual and natural history and field reporting into a powerful account of the mass extinction unfolding before our eyes
Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around, the cataclysm is us. In The Sixth Extinction, two-time winner of the National Magazine Award and New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert draws on the work of scores of researchers in half a dozen disciplines, accompanying many of them into the field: geologists who study deep ocean cores, botanists who follow the tree line as it climbs up the Andes, marine biologists who dive off the Great Barrier Reef. She introduces us to a dozen species, some already gone, others facing extinction, including the Panamian golden frog, staghorn coral, the great auk, and the Sumatran rhino. Through these stories, Kolbert provides a moving account of the disappearances occurring all around us and traces the evolution of extinction as concept, from its first articulation by Georges Cuvier in revolutionary Paris up through the present day. The sixth extinction is likely to be mankind’s most lasting legacy; as Kolbert observes, it compels us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human.