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Animals


Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of Bees

Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of Bees Lowest new price: $17.13
Lowest used price: $13.50
List price: $27.00
Author: Thor Hanson

From the award-winning author of The Triumph of Seeds and Feathers, a natural and cultural history of the buzzing wee beasties that make the world go round.

Bees are like oxygen: ubiquitous, essential, and, for the most part, unseen. While we might overlook them, they lie at the heart of relationships that bind the human and natural worlds. In Buzz, the beloved Thor Hanson takes us on a journey that begins 125 million years ago, when a wasp first dared to feed pollen to its young. From honeybees and bumbles to lesser-known diggers, miners, leafcutters, and masons, bees have long been central to our harvests, our mythologies, and our very existence. They've given us sweetness and light, the beauty of flowers, and as much as a third of the foodstuffs we eat. And, alarmingly, they are at risk of disappearing.

As informative and enchanting as the waggle dance of a honeybee, Buzz shows us why all bees are wonders to celebrate and protect. Read this book and you'll never overlook them again.

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The California Field Atlas

The California Field Atlas Lowest new price: $23.51
Lowest used price: $22.00
List price: $45.00
Author: Obi Kaufmann

#1 San Francisco Chronicle Best Seller

Winner, California Book Award Gold Medal (Notable Contribution to Publishing)

Winner, NCIBA Book of the Year Award (Regional Interest)

Finalist, 2018 Northern California Book Awards

This lavishly illustrated atlas takes readers off the beaten path and outside normal conceptions of California, revealing its myriad ecologies, topographies, and histories in exquisite maps and trail paintings. Based on decades of exploring the backcountry of the Golden State, artist-adventurer Obi Kaufmann blends science and art to illuminate the multifaceted array of living, connected systems like no book has done before. Kaufmann depicts layer after layer of the natural world, delighting in the grand scale and details alike. The effect is staggeringly beautiful: presented alongside California divvied into its fifty-eight counties, for example, we consider California made up of dancing tectonic plates, of watersheds, of wildflower gardens. Maps are enhanced by spirited illustrations of wildlife, keys that explain natural phenomena, and a clear-sighted but reverential text. Full of character and color, a bit larger than life, The California Field Atlas is the ultimate road trip companion and love letter to a place.

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Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter

Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter Lowest new price: $16.37
Lowest used price: $16.52
List price: $24.95
Author: Ben Goldfarb

In Eager, environmental journalist Ben Goldfarb reveals that our modern idea of what a healthy landscape looks like and how it functions is wrong, distorted by the fur trade that once trapped out millions of beavers from North America’s lakes and rivers. The consequences of losing beavers were profound: streams eroded, wetlands dried up, and species from salmon to swans lost vital habitat. Today, a growing coalition of “Beaver Believers”―including scientists, ranchers, and passionate citizens―recognizes that ecosystems with beavers are far healthier, for humans and non-humans alike, than those without them. From the Nevada deserts to the Scottish highlands, Believers are now hard at work restoring these industrious rodents to their former haunts. Eager is a powerful story about one of the world’s most influential species, how North America was colonized, how our landscapes have changed over the centuries, and how beavers can help us fight drought, flooding, wildfire, extinction, and the ravages of climate change. Ultimately, it’s about how we can learn to coexist, harmoniously and even beneficially, with our fellow travelers on this planet.

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The Bees in Your Backyard: A Guide to North America's Bees

The Bees in Your Backyard: A Guide to North America's Bees Lowest new price: $20.55
Lowest used price: $21.55
List price: $29.95
Author: Joseph S. Wilson
Brand: Wilson Joseph S

The Bees in Your Backyard provides an engaging introduction to the roughly 4,000 different bee species found in the United States and Canada, dispelling common myths about bees while offering essential tips for telling them apart in the field.

The book features more than 900 stunning color photos of the bees living all around us―in our gardens and parks, along nature trails, and in the wild spaces between. It describes their natural history, including where they live, how they gather food, their role as pollinators, and even how to attract them to your own backyard. Ideal for amateur naturalists and experts alike, it gives detailed accounts of every bee family and genus in North America, describing key identification features, distributions, diets, nesting habits, and more.

  • Provides the most comprehensive and accessible guide to all bees in the United States and Canada
  • Features more than 900 full-color photos
  • Offers helpful identification tips and pointers for studying bees
  • Includes a full chapter on how to attract bees to your backyard

Features:

  • The Bees in Your Backyard A Guide to North America S Bees

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National Audubon Society Field Guide to Rocks and Minerals: North America (National Audubon Society Field Guides)

National Audubon Society Field Guide to Rocks and Minerals: North America (National Audubon Society Field Guides) Lowest new price: $13.34
Lowest used price: $5.99
Author: National Audubon Society
Brand: Random House

Perfect for mountain climbers and hikers, this valuable reference covers more rocks and minerals in North America than any other available guide.

Featuring a durable vinyl binding and nearly 800 full-color identification photographs, the National Audubon Society Field Guide to Rocks and Minerals is the perfect companion for any expedition. This portable guide depicts all the important rocks, gems, and minerals -- in many variations of color and crystal form -- and the natural environments in which they occur, and includes written descriptions of field marks, similar rocks and minerals, environment, areas of occurrence, and derivation of names. Includes a guide to mineral collecting and a list of rock-forming minerals.

Features:

  • Random House Audubon Field Guide: Rocks/Minerals by Charles Chesterman - 9780394502694

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In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex

In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex Lowest new price: $5.49
Lowest used price: $0.97
List price: $17.00
Author: Nathaniel Philbrick
Brand: Penguin Books

From the author of Mayflower, Valiant Ambition, and In the Hurricane's Eye--the riveting bestseller tells the story of the true events that inspired Melville's Moby-Dick

Winner of the National Book Award, Nathaniel Philbrick's book is a fantastic saga of survival and adventure, steeped in the lore of whaling, with deep resonance in American literature and history.

In 1820, the whaleship Essex was rammed and sunk by an angry sperm whale, leaving the desperate crew to drift for more than ninety days in three tiny boats. Nathaniel Philbrick uses little-known documents and vivid details about the Nantucket whaling tradition to reveal the chilling facts of this infamous maritime disaster. In the Heart of the Sea, recently adapted into a major feature film starring Chris Hemsworth, is a book for the ages.

The appeal of Dava Sobel's Longitude was, in part, that it illuminated a little-known piece of history through a series of captivating incidents and engaging personalities. Nathaniel Philbrick's In the Heart of the Sea is certainly cast from the same mold, examining the 19th-century Pacific whaling industry through the arc of the sinking of the whaleship Essex by a boisterous sperm whale. The story that inspired Herman Melville's classic Moby-Dick has a lot going for it--derring-do, cannibalism, rescue--and Philbrick proves an amiable and well-informed narrator, providing both context and detail. We learn about the importance and mechanics of blubber production--a vital source of oil--and we get the nuts and bolts of harpooning and life aboard whalers. We are spared neither the nitty-gritty of open boats nor the sucking of human bones dry.

By sticking to the tried and tested Longitude formula, Philbrick has missed a slight trick or two. The epicenter of the whaling industry was Nantucket, a small island off Cape Cod; most of the whales were in the Pacific, necessitating a huge journey around the southernmost tip of South America. We never learn why no one ever tried to create an alternative whaling capital somewhere nearer. Similarly, Philbrick tells us that the story of the Essex was well known to Americans for decades, but he never explores how such legends fade from our consciousness. Philbrick would no doubt reply that such questions were beyond his remit, and you can't exactly accuse him of skimping on his research. By any standard, 50 pages of footnotes impress, though he wears his learning lightly. He doesn't get bogged down in turgid detail, and his narrative rattles along at a nice pace. When the storyline is as good as this, you can't really ask for more. --John Crace, Amazon.co.uk

Features:

  • Penguin Books

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Birds of the Photo Ark

Birds of the Photo Ark Lowest new price: $19.84
Lowest used price: $19.18
List price: $30.00
Author: Noah Strycker

For avian enthusiasts, from armchair observers to dedicated life-listers, this brilliant book from acclaimed National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore celebrates the beauty of all birds, great and small.

This elegantly packaged celebration of birds from around the world unites incredible animal portraits from Joel Sartore's distinguished National Geographic Photo Ark project with inspiring text by up-and-coming birder Noah Strycker. It includes hundreds of species, from tiny finches to charismatic eagles; brilliant toucans, intricate birds of paradise, and perennial favorites such as parrots, hummingbirds, and owls also make colorful appearances. Everyone who cares about birds--from the family with a bird feeder outside the kitchen window to the serious birder with a life list of thousands--will flock to this distinctive and uplifting book.

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Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness

Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness Lowest new price: $8.98
Lowest used price: $6.97
List price: $16.00
Author: Peter Godfrey-Smith

Named a Top Ten Science Book of Fall 2016 by Publishers Weekly

Although mammals and birds are widely regarded as the smartest creatures on earth, it has lately become clear that a very distant branch of the tree of life has also sprouted higher intelligence: the cephalopods, consisting of the squid, the cuttlefish, and above all the octopus. In captivity, octopuses have been known to identify individual human keepers, raid neighboring tanks for food, turn off lightbulbs by spouting jets of water, plug drains, and make daring escapes. How is it that a creature with such gifts evolved through an evolutionary lineage so radically distant from our own? What does it mean that evolution built minds not once but at least twice? The octopus is the closest we will come to meeting an intelligent alien. What can we learn from the encounter?

In Other Minds, Peter Godfrey-Smith, a distinguished philosopher of science and a skilled scuba diver, tells a bold new story of how subjective experience crept into being―how nature became aware of itself. As Godfrey-Smith stresses, it is a story that largely occurs in the ocean, where animals first appeared. Tracking the mind’s fitful development, Godfrey-Smith shows how unruly clumps of seaborne cells began living together and became capable of sensing, acting, and signaling. As these primitive organisms became more entangled with others, they grew more complicated. The first nervous systems evolved, probably in ancient relatives of jellyfish; later on, the cephalopods, which began as inconspicuous mollusks, abandoned their shells and rose above the ocean floor, searching for prey and acquiring the greater intelligence needed to do so. Taking an independent route, mammals and birds later began their own evolutionary journeys.

But what kind of intelligence do cephalopods possess? Drawing on the latest scientific research and his own scuba-diving adventures, Godfrey-Smith probes the many mysteries that surround the lineage. How did the octopus, a solitary creature with little social life, become so smart? What is it like to have eight tentacles that are so packed with neurons that they virtually “think for themselves”? What happens when some octopuses abandon their hermit-like ways and congregate, as they do in a unique location off the coast of Australia?

By tracing the question of inner life back to its roots and comparing human beings with our most remarkable animal relatives, Godfrey-Smith casts crucial new light on the octopus mind―and on our own.

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The Perfect Horse: The Daring U.S. Mission to Rescue the Priceless Stallions Kidnapped by the Nazis

The Perfect Horse: The Daring U.S. Mission to Rescue the Priceless Stallions Kidnapped by the Nazis Lowest new price: $7.96
Lowest used price: $3.44
List price: $18.00
Author: Elizabeth Letts
Brand: Ballantine Books

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the author of The Eighty-Dollar Champion, the remarkable story of the heroic rescue of priceless horses in the closing days of World War II

In the chaotic last days of the war, a small troop of battle-weary American soldiers captures a German spy and makes an astonishing find—his briefcase is empty but for photos of beautiful white horses that have been stolen and kept on a secret farm behind enemy lines. Hitler has stockpiled the world’s finest purebreds in order to breed the perfect military machine—an equine master race. But with the starving Russian army closing in, the animals are in imminent danger of being slaughtered for food.

With only hours to spare, one of the U.S. Army’s last great cavalrymen, Colonel Hank Reed, makes a bold decision—with General George Patton’s blessing—to mount a covert rescue operation. Racing against time, Reed’s small but determined force of soldiers, aided by several turncoat Germans, steals across enemy lines in a last-ditch effort to save the horses.

Pulling together this multistranded story, Elizabeth Letts introduces us to an unforgettable cast of characters: Alois Podhajsky, director of the famed Spanish Riding School of Vienna, a former Olympic medalist who is forced to flee the bomb-ravaged Austrian capital with his entire stable in tow; Gustav Rau, Hitler’s imperious chief of horse breeding, a proponent of eugenics who dreams of genetically engineering the perfect warhorse for Germany; and Tom Stewart, a senator’s son who makes a daring moonlight ride on a white stallion to secure the farm’s surrender.

A compelling account for animal lovers and World War II buffs alike, The Perfect Horse tells for the first time the full story of these events. Elizabeth Letts’s exhilarating tale of behind-enemy-lines adventure, courage, and sacrifice brings to life one of the most inspiring chapters in the annals of human valor.

Praise for The Perfect Horse

“Winningly readable . . . Letts captures both the personalities and the stakes of this daring mission with such a sharp ear for drama that the whole second half of the book reads like a WWII thriller dreamed up by Alan Furst or Len Deighton. . . . The right director could make a Hollywood classic out of this fairy tale.”The Christian Science Monitor

“Letts, a lifelong equestrienne, eloquently brings together the many facets of this unlikely, poignant story underscoring the love and respect of man for horses.”Kirkus Reviews

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The Truth About Animals: Stoned Sloths, Lovelorn Hippos, and Other Tales from the Wild Side of Wildlife

The Truth About Animals: Stoned Sloths, Lovelorn Hippos, and Other Tales from the Wild Side of Wildlife Lowest new price: $18.49
Lowest used price: $17.00
List price: $28.00
Author: Lucy Cooke

Mary Roach meets Bill Bryson in this "surefire summer winner" (Janet Maslin, New York Times), an uproarious tour of the basest instincts and biggest mysteries of the animal world

Humans have gone to the Moon and discovered the Higgs boson, but when it comes to understanding animals, we've still got a long way to go. Whether we're seeing a viral video of romping baby pandas or a picture of penguins "holding hands," it's hard for us not to project our own values--innocence, fidelity, temperance, hard work--onto animals. So you've probably never considered if moose get drunk, penguins cheat on their mates, or worker ants lay about. They do--and that's just for starters. In The Truth About Animals, Lucy Cooke takes us on a worldwide journey to meet everyone from a Colombian hippo castrator to a Chinese panda porn peddler, all to lay bare the secret--and often hilarious--habits of the animal kingdom. Charming and at times downright weird, this modern bestiary is perfect for anyone who has ever suspected that virtue might be unnatural.

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