SCIENCES

The Seabird's Cry: The Lives and Loves of the Planet's Great Ocean Voyagers

Holt. Feb. 2018. 416p. illus. maps. notes. index. ISBN 9781250134189. $32; ebk. ISBN 9781250134196. NAT HIST
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OrangeReviewStarNicolson (Why Homer Matters) has written several other books, including ones on Homer, Windsor Castle, and the King James Bible. But what does the author know about seabirds? A great deal. He has researched the literature, worked with experts in the field, and plumbed historical narratives. The result is an astonishing, well-written account of albatrosses, gulls, shearwaters, petrels, auks, penguins, and other birds of the sea. Here, the overexploitation of marine resources, including the slaughters of these phenomenal aquatic species, is given a perceptive analysis. Nicolson incorporates relevant references to Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Captain Cook, Charles Darwin, William Shakespeare, and Alfred Lord Tennyson along with native populations. Worldwide in purview, this work is strongest in its British associations, but most of the species covered here are found on both sides of the Atlantic, with many in the Pacific as well. Others, such as albatrosses and penguins, are Southern Hemisphere denizens. The book is well-illustrated with extensive chapter notes and a worthwhile index.
VERDICT An amazing tour de force that is highly recommended for all interested in natural history, conservation, the sea, and maritime history.
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