Life Everlasting: The Animal Way of Death

Bernd Heinrich. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25 (256p) ISBN 978-0-547-75266-2
In this slim but moving volume, physiological ecologist Heinrich (Mind of the Raven) draws upon his intimate knowledge of the natural world to examine the role of death and decay in the earth’s “web of life.” Inspired by a friend’s request to have a “green burial” at the scientist’s hunting camp in Maine, Heinrich riffs on the concept that “we come from life, and we are a conduit into other life,” drawing anecdotes from his decades of fieldwork and academic research. Dead matter—the bodies of mice, deer, elephants, whales, trees—feeds vast populations of organisms: beetles execute their elaborate feeding and mating rituals on rotting corpses; roadkill feeds birds, coyotes, bears; primitive humans consumed elephants while dung beetles glean nutrients from their waste; insects and fungus turn felled trees into new soil. “The metaphor that we are part of the earth ecosystem is not a belief; it is a reality,” Heinrich writes. This engaging and thoughtful book makes the case that this truth is not only scientifically relevant but personally, and spiritually, too: by looking to nature, humans can “transcend individual deaths,” and find a deeper meaning in our earthly existence. Agent: TK. (June)
Reviewed on: 03/26/2012
Release date: 06/19/2012
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.