Where the Wild Things Were: Life, Death, and Ecological Wreckage in a Land of Vanishing Predators

William Stolzenburg

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Where the Wild Things Were: Life, Death, and Ecological Wreckage in a Land of Vanishing Predators

Where the Wild Things Were Life Death and Ecological Wreckage in a Land of Vanishing Predators A provocative look at how the disappearance of the world s great predators has upset the delicate balance of the environment and what their disappearance portends for the future by an acclaimed scie

  • Title: Where the Wild Things Were: Life, Death, and Ecological Wreckage in a Land of Vanishing Predators
  • Author: William Stolzenburg
  • ISBN: 9781596912991
  • Page: 176
  • Format: Hardcover
  • A provocative look at how the disappearance of the world s great predators has upset the delicate balance of the environment, and what their disappearance portends for the future, by an acclaimed science journalist.It wasn t so long ago that wolves and great cats, monstrous fish and flying raptors ruled the peak of nature s food pyramid Not so any All but exterminateA provocative look at how the disappearance of the world s great predators has upset the delicate balance of the environment, and what their disappearance portends for the future, by an acclaimed science journalist.It wasn t so long ago that wolves and great cats, monstrous fish and flying raptors ruled the peak of nature s food pyramid Not so any All but exterminated, these predators of the not too distant past have been reduced to minor players of the modern era And what of it Wildlife journalist William Stolzenburg follows in the wake of nature s topmost carnivores, and finds chaos in their absence From the brazen mobs of deer and marauding raccoons of backyard America to streamsides of Yellowstone National Park crushed by massive herds of elk from urchin scoured reefs in the North Pacific to ant devoured islands in Venezuela, Stolzenburg leads a startling tour through bizarre, impoverished landscapes of pest and plague For anyone who has seldom given thought to the meat eating beasts so recently missing from the web of life, here is a world of reason to think again.

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      Posted by:William Stolzenburg
      Published :2019-01-14T10:32:04+00:00

    One thought on “Where the Wild Things Were: Life, Death, and Ecological Wreckage in a Land of Vanishing Predators

    1. Kathy on said:

      Okay, MAYBE I'm a bit biased because, well, my husband did write this book BUT I just finished the advance reading copyand it's fabulous. I'm not a non-fiction sort of reader (and this is non-fiction) but--as his editor at Bloomsbury mentioned--he has managed to build characters and plot into this story of the world we live in which is missing many (most) of its big predators.And who'd have thought that there might be a connection between serious issues such as missing pollinators, lyme disease, [...]

    2. M— on said:

      I am overjoyed that I was able to snag this through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers Program. Now that I've finished reading it, I am not a bit less pleased.Frankly, my good feelings about this book really got started the moment I received it in the mail, where it surprised me by arriving less than two weeks after I was notified of winning a copy. When I tore open the package and spilled the book out in my hands, I was struck at just how pretty it was. Judging by its cover, perhaps? Maybe. But I [...]

    3. Lauren on said:

      The authors' style really resonated with me. He describes large earth-shattering revelations with such eloquence. Starting with the thesis that the death/extinction of predators and "super"predators are to blame for many ecological/environmental, he delves into numerous case studies and ongoing research of many leading biologists. The first chapters discussion of the kelp forests along the Pacific rim was particularly interesting, and made a real case for the rest of the book: ecosystems MUST be [...]

    4. Danielle on said:

      This was an enjoyable book. However, for a book that was supposed to present ecology to the masses, it cited a lot of papers and scientists without applying much of the science to everyday life. The author oversimplified in an effort to appeal to everyone. For example, Stolzenberg discusses the eradication of feral cats to restore bird habitats and how it worked flawlessly. Then, while I was reading this book, scientists revealed that their attempts to eradicate feral cats on Macquerie Island in [...]

    5. Richard Reese on said:

      For the first billion years of life on Earth, all of our ancestors were single celled. One day, we aren’t sure why, a hungry organism ate a delicious bystander, and became the first predator. Predation inspired evolution to become very creative. Some organisms became mobile by developing cilia or tails. Others shape shifted into multi-celled life forms. Critters developed scales, spikes, shells, fangs, and many other clever defenses. Thus, one group survived by dining on the unlucky, and the b [...]

    6. Lacy on said:

      This book got better once I had adjusted to the writing style. There was a lot of flourishment where I don't think it was needed, but that's a personal preference for me. I learned a lot from this book about the vital role predators play in our ecosystems and how humans have thrown the many delicate balances of nature out of wack. No surprises there. Not a book for everyone but, if you are interested in the topic and pick it up, my recommendation is to stick with it.

    7. Tippy Jackson on said:

      This is now one of my favorite ecology books ever! It is incredibly engaging and has vitally important information. What is the role of top predators in an ecosystem? What happens when they are removed? I've heard of classic stories-such as the sea otters, sea urchins and kelp forest example, or the missing wolves, too many deer, death by disease and starvation example. And these are two of the many studies that come up-however they were presented with such depth that I felt like I was learning [...]

    8. Todd Martin on said:

      “Where the Wild Ones Were” makes the argument that large carnivores have a significant affect on the health of ecosystems and that their systematic eradication has contributed to environmental degradation. Examples provided include:1) Otter hunting led to a proliferation of anemones which led to the collapse of oceanic kelp forests.2) Eradication of wolves and mountain lions led to explosions in deer populations which subsequently degraded forests through overgrazing. In each case, degradati [...]

    9. Linnaea on said:

      This was great book filled with interesting facts about predators. The section on Killer Whales is awesome and amazing - I read parts aloud to my room mate because I could not believe what I was reading and had to share how awesome these animals are. The book is about predators and their importance in the ecosystem. It has a chapter about Yellowstone National Park and the reintroduction of wolves which was a great read. Stolzenburg is a wildlife journalist and he has a very good narration making [...]

    10. Maya on said:

      I am about half way through and this book is stirring up all my long held naturalist tendencies and secret desire to be a biologist when i grow up. Loving it. I have a feeling this has opened a can of worms, out of which will parade a host of other to-read nature/science books. This book was excellent. I am all about reading more like it very soon.

    11. Julie on said:

      I am just starting this one(Thanks for the free copy :). I don't know too much about the subject, but someone was just complaining to me about how as a rancher he cannot shoot coyotes anymore(with a definite attitude of 'I'll do it anyway'). **cringe**

    12. Rossdavidh on said:

      I put off buying this book for a while, because of the title. There is a certain kind of science book which I am really tired of, and the title made it look like it was this kind of book. That kind, is the sort wherein you are told with every paragraph, for a few hundred pages, that We Are All Doomed.I don't even necessarily disagree (all that much) with the premise. I just don't see a reason to read a book about it. Despite much posturing to the contrary, it is not within the power of an indivi [...]

    13. Amanda on said:

      3.5 stars. The first part of this book was a little rough for me – it just felt a little unorganized and tedious. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was invested by the middle of the book. The chapters became laid out quite well, each one illustrating the significance of a particular predator. The wolves at Yellowstone was definitely one of the “sexier” stories, but I also enjoyed about reading the coyotes in CA, mountain lions at Zion, and the otters and the kelp forests. They [...]

    14. Breanna Green on said:

      There's one thing I've noticed that seems to run amok in nature-based books, and that's that they all seem to read like one giant scientific article. No matter how interesting the subject, it can make it difficult to wade through. William Stolzenburg does not have this problem. As the second book of his I have read, I was excited to start this one, and I was not left disappointed. Among the various tales of experiments and public critiques to management plans is the artistic skill of writing tha [...]

    15. Bas on said:

      Simply a book that everyone that is, even if only remotely, interested in nature and conservation should read.

    16. Barb on said:

      I thought it was a very thought provoking book A little hard to get into but then enjoyed all the different stories. I especially enjoyed the Epilogue as it seems so true today.

    17. Brian on said:

      An excellent read for all of us who love predators and all of us who ought to be.

    18. Lill on said:

      Very interesting book that shows the problem is not as easy as it looks. Great book for a discussion. I sure hope there are predators for the next generation.

    19. J.T. on said:

      For fans of science writing, not to mention lovers of nature and animals, this is a very well-written and occasionally heartbreaking look at the developing science of predation. Stolzenburg presents important breakthroughs and controversies surrounding this relatively new discipline, with especially insightful explorations of whether the human world would truly benefit from a natural environment possessing a full slate of superpredators. Throughout history, large predators have been willfully ex [...]

    20. Grace on said:

      SummaryWhen we look at the extinction of a species, there is an innate curiosity of our human minds to ask why. This book is a compilation of research and thoughts that have accumulated for quite a while regarding the role of predators in ecology. While Stolzenburg writes with a powerful prose, the subject matter is no-nonsense. What is the role of predators including that of the human predator?Stolzenburg starts the story at his beginning to explain his motivation for searching this topic more [...]

    21. Jamie Elliott on said:

      Rarely have I encountered a book that does such an excellent job of presenting scientific research. Attending a scientific conference on ecology, William Stolzenburg experienced a revelation familiar to many who pursue scientific endeavors; a chance encounter ignited in him an unexpected and consuming interest in a query about the natural world. The discipline of his fancy was the study of predator species and their importance, if any, to ecological communities as a whole. Are top predators real [...]

    22. Nikki on said:

      I was a bit disappointed after finishing Where the Wild Things Were as I believed it would be more focused on today's issues and have more in the way of information for myself. While it may come packed with information for the laymen, I am well-versed in ecology, ecosystems, the predator/prey relationship and am current on humans vs. nature issues that abound. So the book offered me very little in the way of new information, if any, although it did make me tear up quite a few times at the graphi [...]

    23. Molly Ringle on said:

      Not to sound like a cheesy book-blurb review, but: if you're going to read just one book about ecology this decade, read this one! We all love to hear about big cool animals (charismatic megafauna, as they called them in Anthro classes, and as Stolzenburg calls them once or twice too), but usually we feel it's just as well we don't live among them. However, how deeply have we looked into the consequences of the absence of those big animals? Stolzenburg takes us deep into those consequences, in c [...]

    24. Bill on said:

      An interesting and lively presentation of the importance of predators and their deep influence on ecosystems, this book presents scientific findings interspersed with the stories of the researchers and their work to make those discoveries. Readers new to ecological concepts will find the book enlightening; others more familiar with ecology should find the backstories of researchers interesting enough to enjoy reading through to the end.Most of the research detailed in the first few chapters repr [...]

    25. AJ on said:

      Disclaimer: I won a free copy of this book from ' First Reads.This book was fantastic. From the start it was a compelling read and I had a hard time putting it down. The book is about predators and their role in nature, biodiversity, etc. The author does a great job of discussing the science behind everything while keeping the book readable and interesting. I found the book free of jargon, academic-ese or anything else you might find off-putting in a scientific text. In essence, it's very well-w [...]

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