Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Book List Addition: Governing the Wild

Take four emblematic American scenes: the Hall of Biodiversity at the American Museum of Natural History in New York; Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park in Orlando; an ecotour of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks; the film An Inconvenient Truth. Other than expressing a common interest in the environment, they seem quite dissimilar.

And yet, as Governing the Wild makes clear, these sites are all manifestations of green governmentality, each seeking to define and regulate our understanding, experience, and treatment of nature.

Ecotours of Power
by Stephanie Rutherford
University of Minnesota Press, 2011

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Good Old Books: Plain Enemies

The years 1830-1870 were years of expansion west as the U.S. Government encouraged patriots to civilize its great untamed wilderness.  But the West was already occupied - by native citizens.  The conflicts that ensued are legendary, but many stories are yet to be told. Veteran author Bob Scott brings many of these more obscure stories to light.

The flood of immigrants threatened the Indian way of life and they resisted. As the white invasion escalated, a struggle ensued, with both factions violently contending for land and lifestyle.

In Plain Enemies, Bob Scott compiles narratives of faith and fear, heroism and horror, strength and stupidity, love and hatred. Attempting to present both sides of the story, the author discloses evil walking in both boots and moccasins, with honorable humankind inhabiting forts, soddies -- and teepee villages.
Best True Stories of the Frontier West
by Robert J. "Bob" Scott
Caxton Press, 1995

Thursday, November 24, 2011

History Book List Addition: The Insect and the Image

Once considered marginal members of the animal world (at best) or vile and offensive creatures (at worst), insects saw a remarkable uptick in their status during the early Renaissance. This quickened interest was primarily manifested in visual images—in illuminated manuscripts, still life paintings, the decorative arts, embroidery, textile design, and cabinets of curiosity.

In The Insect and the Image, Janice Neri explores the ways in which such imagery defined the insect as a proper subject of study for Europeans of the early modern period.

Visualizing Nature in Early Modern Europe, 1500-1700
by Janice Neri
University Of Minnesota Press, 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011

History Book List Addition: Oratory in Native North America

In Euroamerican annals of contact with Native Americans, Indians have consistently been portrayed as master orators who demonstrate natural eloquence during treaty negotiations, councils, and religious ceremonies. Esteemed by early European commentators more than indigenous storytelling, oratory was in fact a way of establishing self-worth among Native Americans, and might even be viewed as their supreme literary achievement.

William Clements now explores the reasons for the acclaim given to Native oratory.
He examines in detail a wide range of source material representing cultures throughout North America, analyzing speeches made by Natives as recorded by whites, such as observations of treaty negotiations, accounts by travelers, missionaries' reports, captivity narratives, and soldiers' memoirs.

by William M. Clements
University of Arizona Press, 2002

History Book List Addition: Forging a Fur Empire

Alexander Ross, the pioneer recorder of the early fur trade in the far northern West, led a beaver trapping expedition in 1824 into the vast, unfamiliar territory east of trading posts in the Pacific Northwest. He and his men ventured deep into Snake River country in present-day Idaho and Montana.

In this narrative, based on the accounts left by Ross and others, historian and legal scholar John Phillip Reid describes the experiences of the earliest Hudson’s Bay Company fur-trapping expeditions—ventures usually overlooked by historians—and explores the interaction between the diverse cultures of the Pacific Northwest.

Expeditions in the Snake River Country, 1809-1824
by John Phillip Reid
The Arthur H. Clark Company, 2011

Monday, November 14, 2011

How-To Book List Addition: Caricatures in Motion

Whether running, jumping, or walking, subtle twists or turns of the body can ultimately give a carving a sense of motion. That concept is proven true in this book.

Caricature Carvers of America members offer up a variety of carvings of figures in motion. All of them are humorous and several carvings share a similar "theme."

by Caricature Carvers of America
Schiffer Publishing, 2011
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Friday, November 11, 2011

Book List Addition: Louisiana Haunted Forts

Although there are numerous books about Louisiana, little information about the forts are included and none combines the forts with ghost stories.

This book is filled with historical adventures and intriguing tales of supernatural happenings. The author relates eerie stories of soldiers who still patrol the ruins of fortifications they built, defended, and died for, and others whose lives ended tragically.

by Elaine Coleman
Taylor Trade Publishing, 2005

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Book List Addition: The Undying West

A moving chronicle of life, past and present, on western Montana's Camas Prairie.

This book reveals the common love of the land by both Native Americans and ranchers, the land influencing and outlasting both. Whether describing the glacial birth of Lake Missoula or land preservation issues, Cross's observations are those of one seasoned by this unique landscape and its peoples.

A Chronicle of Montana's Camas Prairie 
by Carlene Cross
Fulcrum Publishing, 1999

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Review: Kentucky's Natural Heritage

A confluence of both science and history, this book describes natural areas in Kentucky that have vanished and inventories a long list of threatened and endangered animals, plants and unique habitats in the state that need protection.

Once 90 percent forested, Kentucky is now made up of roughly 46 percent "Large Forest Tracts" and most of it is fragmented and less able to sustain complex communities of animals and plants. Consequently, more than 50 species of animals and plants that once made Kentucky their home can no longer be found. Of the species that remain, 25 percent of the fish, 26 percent of the reptiles and amphibians, 13 percent of the birds and 20 percent of the mammals are endangered, threatened or close to leaving for good.

More than just a chronicle of loss, this is a guide to places where the species and the habitats that remain can be visited and appreciated. These include federally protected areas (national parks, refuges and forests) and 59 state nature preserves.

Illustrated with numerous maps and remarkable photos of surviving species like the dazzling blue-and-orange flame crayfish or the bright magenta limestone flame flower, this book is an accessible reference for both professional biologists and armchair travelers.

An Illustrated Guide to Biodiversity
by Greg Abernathy, Deborah White, Ellis L. Laudermilk, and Marc Evans
The University Press of Kentucky, 2010