Sunday, December 28, 2008

Book Reviews: Recommended Reading: Patagonia's Favorite Books

From Patagonia:

"The Internet has placed a world of information at our fingertips but it still doesn't beat curling up with a good book. Whether you read at home or in base camp the titles on this list are sure to inform, inspire and entertain. Note: Many of the links will take you to our friends at Powell's Books.


Libby, Montana: Asbestos and the Deadly Silence of an American Corporation, by Andrea Peacock
A detailed account of citizens vs. corporations in Northwestern Montana. W.R. Grace company, owners of a vermiculite mine in a small Montana town, never told the miners what it knew: there was asbestos in the vermiculite, and the asbestos was destroying the miners’ lungs.

Guns, Germs and Steel, by Jared Diamond
A study of how Europe and the Near East became the cradles of modern society, eventually giving rise to capitalism and science, the dominant forces in today's world - and why, until more recent times, Africa, Australasia and the Americas lagged behind in both technological sophistication and political and military power.

The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, by Michael Pollan
The bestselling author of The Botany of Desire explores the ecology of eating to unveil why we consume what we consume in the 21st century by tracing the impact of meals from four distinctly different origins.

In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, by Michael Pollan
"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." These simple words go to the heart of Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food, the well-considered answer(s) he provides to the questions posed in the best-selling The Omnivore's Dilemma.

Confessions of an Eco-Warrior, by Dave Foreman
A book that will set the course for the environmental movement for years to come, Confessions of an Eco-Warrior is an inspiring ecological call-to-arms by America's foremost and most controversial environmental activist.

Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the Flow, by Jim Hightower and Susan DeMarco
An irreverent and uplifting look at how individuals and companies can be both successful and socially responsible. The authors disprove the notion that a business must operate solely to improve its bottom line. They share inspirational stories from a variety of industries including international banking, real estate development, medical services, and environmentally safe, sustainable farming.

Harvest for Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating, by Jane Goodall with Gary McAvoy and Gail Hudson
Renowned scientist and bestselling author Goodall delivers an eye-opening and empowering book that explores the social and personal significance of the food people produce and consume.

Companies with a Conscience, by Hoard Rothman and Mary Scott
In an attempt to describe and promote the movement toward "caring capitalism," which incorporates commitments to employees, customers, and the community with bottom-line profitability, the authors profile 12 successful enterprises, including Esprit and Ben & Jerry's Homemade, Inc. Each portrait is based on interviews with each company's founder(s) and includes their visions, principles, and some examples of practical applications.

Defending The Earth: A Debate Between Murray Bookchin & Dave Foreman, ed. David Levine
In this collection of dialogue, debates, and essays, the two main protagonists in the deep vs. social ecology debate come together to answer the question, "Whither the radical ecology movement?" Bookchin and Foreman seek common ground and cooperatively explore their differing, though often overlapping, perspectives on a wide range of issues: environmental ethics, social justice, nature philosophy, and the best strategies for radical ecological activism.

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, by Jared Diamond
Diamond crafts a careful and thorough account of the environmental and cultural fragility of civilizations, from present-day Montana to the toppled statues of Easter Island. Collapse is both a fascinating study of humanity's ecological relationships and a cautionary tale of our increasingly overtaxed resources.

Earthforce! An Earth Warrior's Guide to Strategy, by Captain Paul Watson
Captain Paul Watson, one of the most brilliant ecological strategists of our generation, draws on the genius of Sun Tzu, the discipline of Miyamoto Musashi, the perception of Marshall McLuhan, and his own field experiences to present an effective strategic guide for any serious student of environmental or conservation activism.


This Cold Heaven: Seven Seasons in Greenland, by Gretel Ehrlich
For the last decade, Gretel Ehrlich has been obsessed by an island, a terrain, a culture, and the treacherous beauty of a world that is defined by ice. In This Cold Heaven she combines the story of her travels with history and cultural anthropology to reveal a Greenland that few of us could otherwise imagine.

Patagonia: Notes from the Field, ed. Nora Gallagher
Patagonia: Notes from the Field is a collection of photographs and essays that stir the senses. Commissioned for Patagonia, the outdoor clothing and gear company, and with an introduction from its legendary founder, Yvon Chouinard, Notes from the Field delivers in both image and word.

Below Another Sky: A Mountain Adventure in Search of a Lost Father, by Rick Ridgeway
A renowned adventurer travels to Tibet with a young woman in search of her father's memory and gains a fresh perspective on his life. Combining gripping adventure writing with intimate memoir, Rick Ridgeway takes readers to the mysterious mountain domain of Tibet, and into the remote corners of his past.

My Family and Other Animals, by Gerald Durrell
When the unconventional Durrell family can no longer endure the damp, gray English climate, they do what any sensible family would do: sell their house and relocate to the sunny Greek isle of Corfu.

Enchanted Vagabonds, by Dana Lamb
The best-selling 1930s account of the 16,000-mile nautical adventure of Dana Lamb and his wife as they build a sailing canoe and voyage south along the Pacific Coast from Southern California to Panama.

The Big Open: On Foot Across Tibet's Chang Tang, by Rick Ridgeway
On foot and on their own, four adventurers brave the challenges of nature on a 275-mile trek through one of the most beautiful – and most remote – regions of the world.


Glen Denny: Yosemite in the Sixties, by Glen Denny (Photographer) and Tom Adler (Editor)
This majestic visual record of Yosemite in the 60s includes a foreword by Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, an introduction by Rick Ridgeway, whom Rolling Stone has called "the real Indiana Jones," and a wealth of previously unpublished photographs.

The Shadow of Kilimanjaro, by Rick Ridgeway
In one of the most acclaimed travel and adventure books of 1999, Rick Ridgeway chronicles his trek from the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro to the Indian Ocean, through Kenya's famed Tsavo Park. His tale is, according to The Boston Globe, "a gripping account of how it feels to be charged by an incensed elephant and kept awake at night by the roaring of stalking lions."

Seven Summits, by Dick Bass, Frank Wells, and Rick Ridgeway
Frank Wells was the head of a major motion picture studio. Dick Bass had made his fortune as an energy and resort entrepreneur. In middle age, both men left home, family, and successful careers to share an impossible dream: be the first to climb the highest mountain on each of seven continents, from McKinley to Kilimanjaro to Everest.

Vertical Ethiopia: Climbing Toward Possibility in the Horn of Africa, by Majka Burhardt
In March 2007, four women traveled to Ethiopia to discover if climbing might be the next frontier for this continuously evolving country. Vertical Ethiopia documents a climbing expedition to unexplored sandstone spires in this remote African destination. (5% of sales donated to Ethiopia’s Fistula Foundation.

Spirit of the Rock by Ron Kauk
Yosemite climbing veteran Ron Kauk shares his thoughts on the natural world and our collective responsibility to care for it through a series of inspirational vignettes. Combined with breathtaking photography, the lessons contained within the pages of this book relate not only to climbing, but to life itself.

Last Step: The American Ascent of K2, by Rick Ridgeway
In September 1978, after 67 days on the mountain--nearly all of them above 18,000 feet--Ridgeway and three others stood atop K2, the first Americans ever to accomplish this feat. "The Last Step" tells the story of their extraordinary expedition.
American Alpine Journal, ed. John Harlin III. Published since 1929, the American Alpine Journal is the premiere annual record of significant mountaineering and long rock climbing ascents worldwide.

Woman on the Rocks: The Mountaineering Letters of Ruth Dyar Mendenhall, ed. Valerie Mendenhall Cohen
A sparkling glimpse into the mid-twentieth-century American climbing world, by one of the first women climbers. Mendenhall's letters radiate wit, irreverence, and pride and irrepressible joy and are ably edited by a daughter who clearly inherited her mother's passion for words as well as mountains.

Glenn Exum: "Never a Bad Word or a Twisted Rope", by Glenn Exum, (ed. Charles Craighead - Grand Teton Natural HistoryAssociation) This collection of tales by legendary founder of the Petzoldt-Exum School of American Mountaineering, Glenn Exum, illuminates the life of one of the most storied and respected guide companies in the world.

Summit and Loss, by Steve House
Forthcoming, August 2009


The Devil's Teeth: A True Story of Obsession and Survival Among America's Great White Sharks, by Susan Casey
A journalist's obsession brings her to a remote island off the California coast, home to the world's most mysterious and fearsome predators-and the strange band of surfer-scientists who follow them.

The Essential Grizzly: The Mingled Fates of Men and Bears, by Doug Peacock and Andrea Peacock
In The Essential Grizzly, Doug and Andrea Peacock argue that the conservation of big, wild, sometimes dangerous animals is of absolute importance to modern humans, to the survival of our own species, and for rational thought.

Eating Stone: Imagination and the Loss of the Wild, by Ellen Meloy
An inspired reflection on the bond between wild creatures and the human imagination, told as a chronicle of four seasons with a band of rare desert bighorn sheep.

Wildfire: A Century of Failed Forest Policy, ed. George Wuerthner
Wildfires are an awe-inspiring natural phenomenon that have shaped North America’s landscapes since the dawn of time. They are a force that we cannot really control, and thus understanding, appreciating, and learning to live with wildfire is ultimately our wisest public policy. More than 25 leading thinkers in the field of fire ecology provide in-depth analyses, critiques, and compelling solutions for how we live with fire in our society.

Welfare Ranching: The Subsidized Destruction of the American West, eds. George Wuerthner and Mollie Matteson
In this excellent overview of the ecological and economic consequences of ranching in the arid Western United States, natural historian and photographer Wuerthner and environmental activist Matteson present a collection of impassioned essays by scientists, conservationists, and economists.

Wildlands Philanthropy: The Great American Tradition, by Tom Butler
With a foreward by Tom Brokaw, and photographs by Antonio VizcaĆ­no, readers are taken on a visually spectacular tour of preserved landscapes across the Americas and around the globe. From Alaska’s coastal rainforest to the Florida’s panhandle, from the prairies of New Mexico to the plains of Namibia, this limited edition, large-format volume profiles extraordinary places saved by amazing people.

The Big Outside: A Descriptive Inventory of the Big Wilderness Areas of the United States, by Dave Foreman
Dave Foreman and Howie Wolke identify America's 368 remaining wilderness areas by state and region. With practical information and a sense of urgency, The Big Outside is both a guide and an inspiration for all those interested in seeing and preserving what's left of wild America.

Yellowstone: Land of Fire and Ice, by Gretel Ehrlich, with photography by Willard and Kathy Clay
A lavishly photographed and wonderfully informative exploration of the diverse, seemingly incongruent attractions of the Yellowstone Plateau.

Thrillcraft: The Environmental Consequences of Motorized Recreation, ed. George Wuerthner
This book exposes the lasting damage done to our land, water, and air from the growing plague of jet skis, quads, dirt bikes, dune buggies, snowmobiles, and other motorized recreational craft that are penetrating the last bastions of wild America.

The Wildfire Reader: A Century of Failed Forest Policy, ed. George Wuerthner
The Wildfire Reader presents, in an affordable paperback edition, the essays included in the larger, photographic companion volume, Wildfire: A Century of Failed Forest Policy.

Fatal Harvest: The Tragedy Of Industrial Agriculture, ed. Andrew Kimbrell
With 58 essays and more than 250 photographs, Kimbrell, director of the Center for Food Safety, aims to provide "a timely treasure trove of ammunition" for consumers concerned about the impacts of agribusiness.

The Fatal Harvest Reader, ed. Andrew Kimbrell
The Fatal Harvest Reader brings together in an affordable paperback edition the essays included in Fatal Harvest, offering a concise overview of the failings of industrial agriculture and approaches to creating a more healthful and sustainable food system.


Eagle Dreams: Searching for Legends in Wild Mongolia, by Stephen J. Bodio
A fascinating account of the ancient–and still living–Mongolian tradition of hunting with eagles; a memoir of days spent in the company of the hunters, both human and avian.

On the Edge of the Wild: Passions and Pleasures of a Naturalist, by Stephen J. Bodio
Passionate outdoorsman Stephen Bodio manages to pull off an important feat in these collected nature writings: he makes the natural world fresh and new. With a seemingly small detail or minor twist, Bodio takes us to the edge of wildness and beyond.

Aloft: A Meditation on Pigeons & Pigeon-Flying, by Stephen J. Bodio
Bodio discovered the pleasures of pigeon-keeping as a child; in this affectionate but unsentimental memoir, he celebrates such diverse aspects of the hobby as racing homing pigeons, breeding rare ornamental varieties, and simply enjoying watching his flock in flight. He also describes his experiences and relationships with a delightful assortment of fellow pigeon lovers, an engaging group of humans.

A Rage for Falcons, by Stephen J. Bodio and Jonathan Wilde
The great solitude in which men and hawks regard each other, from the tops of their respective food chains, has created a deep trail in history and literature. Stephen Bodio has written an unpretentious yet thrilling book about falconry, one of man's oldest and most mysterious alliances in the natural world; and he takes us afield under the wild skies of birds of prey.

Hawks in the Hand: Adventures in Photography and Falconry, by Frank and John Craighead
First published in 1939 when the authors, Frank and John Craighead - pioneers of American conservation - were just 19 years old, this chronicle of their early adventures in falconry and wild-bird photography was a groundbreaking book that propelled the identical twins to long-lasting international fame as ecologists.


The Lobo Outback Funeral Home, by Dave Foreman
A hard-hitting, action-packed eco-thriller set in New Mexico and centered around active conservation issues.

The Milagro Beanfield War, by John Nichols
Nearly 500 residents of an agricultural community in the mountains of northern New Mexico face a crisis almost without a stir, until a young, unemployed handyman with a family of four begins to irrigate his father's parched bean field.

Changing Light, by Nora Gallagher
Nora Gallagher’s elegant debut novel, Changing Light, is a love story set in Los Alamos during the summer of 1945, in the shadow of the creation of the first atomic bomb.

The Monkey Wrench Gang, by Edward Abbey
Ed Abbey called The Monkey Wrench Gang, his 1975 novel, a "comic extravaganza." It’s all that and more when ex-Green Beret George Hayduke returns from the Vietnam war to find his beloved southwestern desert threatened by industrial development.


Hooked: Pirates, Poaching, and the Perfect Fish, By G. Bruce Knecht
Hooked: A True Story of Pirates, Poaching and the Perfect Fish is the extraordinary story of a remarkable fish, the men who prey upon it, and the people who battle to save it from extinction.

The Case of the Missing Cutthroats, by Jean Craighead George
This mystery begins when Spinner, a New York City native who would rather pirouette than fly cast, catches the family prize––much to her boy cousins' dismay. The prize fish, a huge cutthroat trout, had been thought to be extinct in the river, and Spinner and her cousin set out to solve the mystery of how this one spectacular cutthroat survived until Spinner reeled him in.


Politics, Pollution & Pandas: An Environmental Memoir, by Russell E. Train
Train recounts his experience as a major player in environmental developments in the US government during the late 1960s and early 1970s, and before and after that in the nongovernmental environmental community, particularly as head of the World Wildlife Fund in the US.

Finding Beauty in a Broken World, by Terry Tempest Williams
In her most original, provocative, and eloquently moving book since Refuge, Terry Tempest Williams carefully constructs a skillful, nuanced mosaic of stories and observations to convincingly make the connection between racism and specism and sensitively argues for respect for life in all its myriad forms.

Climbing Free: My Life in the Vertical World, by Lynn Hill
In Climbing Free Hill describes her famous climb and meditates on how she harnesses the strength and the courage to push herself to such extremes. She tells of her near-fatal 80-foot fall, her youth as a stunt artist for Hollywood, her friendships with climbing's most colorful personalities, and the tragedies and triumphs of her life in the vertical world.

Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman, by Yvon Chouinard
The founder and owner of Patagonia Inc., presents his philosophy for a "new style of responsible business," along with a chronicle of his personal and company history in this sincere vision of business, detailing eco- and people-conscious philosophies on aspects of the supply chain from product design and production to human resources and management.

Surf is Where You Find It by Gerry Lopez

Ocean Warrior: My Battle to End the Illegal Slaughter on the High Seas, by Captain Paul Watson
Paul Watson has rammed fishing trawlers; smashed whaling ships; sailed boldly into Soviet waters; and brazenly challenged the government of all seafaring nations to live up to the letter of the laws they have agreed to and signed. Ocean Warrior is Paul Watson's own story--an amazing chronicle of courageous acts in support of deeply held convictions.

Naturalists/Natural History

The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal, by Jared Diamond
Jared Diamond states the theme of his book up-front: "How the human species changed, within a short time, from just another species of big mammal to a world conqueror; and how we acquired the capacity to reverse all that progress overnight."

Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness, by Edward Abbey
The noted author's most enduring nonfiction work, Desert Solitaire is an account of Abbey's seasons as a ranger in some of the desert Southwest’s most stunning national parks, offering a clear-eyed vision of lands on the verge of being loved to death.

Grizzly Years: In Search of the American Wilderness, by Doug Peacock
For nearly twenty years, alone and unarmed, author Doug Peacock traversed the rugged mountains of Montana and Wyoming tracking the magnificent grizzly.

Walking It Off: A Veteran's Chronicle of War and Wilderness, by Doug Peacock
When he wrote The Monkey Wrench Gang in 1975, Edward Abbey became the spokesperson for a generation of Americans angered by the unthinking destruction of our natural heritage. Without consultation, Abbey based the central character of eco-guerilla George Washington Hayduke on his friend Doug Peacock. Since then Peacock has become an articulate environmental individualist writing about the West's abundant wildscapes.

Arctic Dance: The Mardy Murie Story, by Charles Craighead
From her first glimpse of Alaska as a young girl, Margaret "Mardy" Murie has had a special connection to the Northland. After her Yukon wedding to naturalist Olaus Murie, Mardy joined her husband for years of wilderness adventure, becoming his partner in a lifetime of conversation efforts. For more than seventy years, Mardy Murie has tirelessly championed the environment.

Act III in Patagonia, People and Wildlife, by Bill Conway
Patagonia. The name connotes the exotic and a distance that seems nearly mythical. Act III in Patagonia is the first book to take an in-depth look at wildlife and human interaction in this spectacular area of the world.

Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place, by Terry Tempest Williams
Utah naturalist Williams ponders the loss of her mother to cancer and the disastrous flooding of a bird refuge in a moving account of the interrelations between personal tragedy and natural history.

A Garden of Bristlecones: Tales of Change in the Great Basin, Michael Cohen
In his latest book, Cohen (author of The Pathless Way: John Muir and American Wilderness, 1984) focuses on a species of tree, the bristlecone pine, that is thought to be this planet's oldest living thing. Living up to 5000 years, the trees provide an enduring partner through which to examine human relationships to the natural world.
Through a Window, by Jane Goodall
Goodall's newest book continues the saga of the chimpanzee families with an engrossing account of animal behavior.

Down the River, by Edward Abbey
"Be of good cheer," the war-horse Edward Abbey advises, "the military-industrial state will soon collapse." This sparkling book, which takes us up and down rivers and across mountains and deserts, is the perfect—if not ironic—antidote to despair.

A Blizzard Year, by Gretel Ehrlich
For one year, 13-year-old Timmy records in her journal the changes she sees in the natural world and her family's activities on their Wyoming ranch as they fight to save it from financial ruin.

John Muir, Nature’s Visionary, by Gretel Erlich.
Ehrlich adroitly chronicles Muir's wholly admirable life--from his self-education as a boy in Scotland and Wisconsin to his solitary cross-country treks, fruitful mountain hermitage, and co-founding of the Sierra Club."

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