Six books about Nature for your September

And here comes September. So many wonderful new books about Nature arrive this month. We choose six great stories about bees, lions, birds, butterflies and conservation.

 

RESURRECTION SCIENCE: CONSERVATION, DE-EXTINCTION AND THE PRECARIOUS FUTURE OF WILD THINGS

By M. R. O’Connor

St. Martin’s Press

Publishing date: 15th September

Price: 25,99 dollars

 

In a world dominated by people and rapid climate change, species large and small are increasingly vulnerable to extinction. In Resurrection Science, journalist M. R. O’Connor explores the extreme measures scientists are taking to try and save them, from captive breeding and genetic management to de-extinction.

Each chapter focuses on a unique species -from the charismatic northern white rhinoceros to the infamous passenger pigeon–and the people entwined in the animals’ fates.

Paradoxically, the more we intervene to save species, the less wild they often become. In stories of sixteenth-century galleon excavations, panther-tracking in Florida swamps and cryogenic DNA banks, O’Connor investigates the philosophical questions of an age in which we “play god” with earth’s biodiversity. What should we preserve of wilderness? How can we co-exist with species when our existence and their survival appear to be pitted against one another?

 

THE BUTTERFLIES OF NORTH AMERICA: TITIAN PEALE’S LOST MANUSCRIPT

By Titian Ramsay Peale

Abrams

Publishing date: 1st September

Price: 40 dollars

 

The American artist and naturalist Titian Ramsay Peale II (1799–1885) had a passion for butterflies, and throughout his long life he wrote and illustrated an ambitious and comprehensive manuscript. The book was never published, and it resides today in the Rare Book Collection of the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

Now Peale’s more than 200 colour plates, prepared by the artist more than 100 years ago, are being published for the first time.

The illustrations – made with different techniques, such as watercolours, guache, and china ink – represent the entire life cycle of butterflies and moths, complemented with notes and sketches from Peale’s nature sketchbooks.

The book includes a foreword by Ellen V. Futter and text by Kenneth Haltman and David A. Grimaldi that describes Peale’s art and science.

 

THE INVENTION OF NATURE: ALEXANDER VON HUMBOLDT’S NEW WORLD

By Andrea Wulf

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Publishing date: 15th September

Price: 16,50 dollars

 

Andrea Wulf brings us a new look into Alexander von Humboldt’s life, a German naturalist whose ideas changed the way we see natural world and helped to form modern environmentalism.

Humboldt (1769–1859) was an intrepid explorer who travelled the world and the most famous scientist of his age. Now Andrea Wulf brings the man and his achievements back into focus: his daring expeditions and investigation of wild environments around the world and his discoveries of similarities between climate and vegetation zones on different continents. She also discusses his relationships with iconic figures such as Simón Bolívar and Thomas Jefferson.

Wulf examines how Humboldt’s writings inspired other naturalists and poets such as Darwin, Wordsworth, and Goethe, and she makes the compelling case that it was Humboldt’s influence that led John Muir to his ideas of natural preservation and that shaped Thoreau’s Walden.

 

LES RUCHES DE BIODIVERSITÉ

By Bernard Bertrand

Terran Editions

Publishing date: 1st September

Price: 16,50 euros

 

Bernard Bertrand is one of the most famous French nature writing authors of our days. This month he brings us a new book about beehives and biodiversity and shows us just how easy and cheap is to build one.

In his book, naturalist and farmer Bernard Bertrand, 60, presents several ideas and projects so that anyone can choose the one that suits him the most.

Besides that, the author writes about the profound bee crises in the world, its causes and the things we can do to help these insects. He urges us to be more respectful of these animals.

This month, another book of Bertrand has a new reediction, after being published nine years ago, “Bestiaire Sauvage: histoires et legendes des animaux de nos campagnes” (Plume de Carotte). It has been quite a success.

 

LIONS IN THE BALANCE: MAN EATERS, MANES AND MEN WITH GUNS

By Craig Packer

University of Chicago Press

Publishing date: 15th September

Price: 23,45 dollars

 

Monsters take many forms: from man-eating lions to the people who hunt them. And celebrated biologist Craig Packer has faced them all.

With Lions in the Balance, Packer takes us back into the complex world of the African lion, offering revealing insights into both the lives of one of the most iconic and dangerous animals on earth and the very real risks of protecting them.

A sequel to his prize-winning Into Africa this is a new diary-based chronicle of cutting-edge research and heartbreaking corruption.

Packer’s story – a mixture of science, adventure and politics – offers a look into the future of the lion, one in which the politics of conservation will require survival strategies far more creative and powerful than those practiced anywhere in the world today.

 

IRELAND’S BIRDS: MYTHS, LEGENDS & FOLKLORE

By Niall Mac Coitir

The Collins Press

Publishing date: 28th September

Price: 19,99 euros

 

Birds have been important symbols in our art and culture for thousands of years. They feature strongly in Irish myths and legends, have inspired poets and painters, and feature in many place names.

This latest book by Niall Mac Coitir draws together the stories, customs and folklore that have gathered around Ireland’s birds, both wild and domestic.

Birds are arranged in seasonal order based on their seasonal and migratory habits (the cuckoo and summer) or on their cultural associations (the robin with Christmas, the wren with St Stephen’s Day). This challenges us to look at birds in a different way, as dynamic creatures that have influenced our society over the millennia. Written with imagination and enthusiasm, this is a mix of natural history, mythology and folklore.